Due to the Corona pandemic, the Republic of Austria has consolidated the applicable entry regulations, which were originally scheduled to end March 31, until May 31. This means that Whitsun on May 23 would also be affected by the current rules. However, for Austrian citizens, especially boat and real estate owners with Croatia as a travel destination, the adopted measures should be put into the appropriate context to get an overview of the situation for themselves.
The starting point for this assessment is provided by the COVID-19 Information Portal of the EU. Based on current figures, as of March 19, 2021, Austria has a 14-day incidence of 388 new coronavirus infections per 100. 000 inhabitants, Italy 499, Slovenia 489, Germany 154 and Croatia 199. The logical conclusion from these figures is obvious: an Austrian traveling to Croatia, a country with significantly fewer new infections, would actually be doing the Republic of Austria a favor, namely alleviating the infection pressure in their own country. This is especially true for Croatia’s northern region of Istria, which has had extremely low levels of new infections for quite some time. If the Istria region were an independent EU country, it should have long since been removed from the list of EU risk areas.
Entry regulations with entry requirements Austria applies worldwide, not just to Croatia
Despite all controversial discussions, however, one thing must not be forgotten: The Austrian COVID-19 entry regulation is not a “Lex Croatia”, but regulates entry from all countries worldwide. The nations listed in Annex A (Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Vatican), from which entry without subsequent quarantine is possible, are not necessarily among the target markets of the Austrian tourism industry, so that although not in the entry regulation itself, but probably in the Annex A changes may soon be expected, because after Easter at the latest, the pressure of the tourism industry on the political actors should continue to rise.
And it is precisely at this point that travel to Croatia should possibly also be possible under far less stringent regulations. The change would then not require amending the entry regulation, but only Annex A, a much smaller administrative intervention that could also be completed ahead of time, by agreement.
The “Digital Green Certificate” should facilitate travel within the EU
Such bilateral agreements outside the global entry regulation Austria would be favored by the EU, whose bodies are now striving to restore a certain degree of freedom to travel in Europe. As already leaked from EU circles, there should be first exceptions based on national regulations well before June 1, 2021. By this date at the latest, the “Digital Green Certificate” is to be introduced to enable travel within the EU once again.
To date applies to Austrians: quarantine and test
Until then, however, applies to Austrians according to the entry regulation: Basically, a medical certificate or proof issued in German or English of a valid negative test result for SARS-CoV-2 must be available for entry into Austria. The time of sample collection may not be more than 72h in the case of a molecular biological test and 48h in the case of an antigen test. If no negative test result can be presented, a test must be carried out immediately, but no later than 24h after entry, at the person’s own expense.
After entry, these persons must immediately enter a ten-day quarantine. Early termination of quarantine by a negative molecular biology test (e.g. PCR) or antigen test is possible at the earliest on the fifth day (i.e. from the 5th day after entry, the day of entry being “day zero”). Children up to 10 years of age exempt from mandatory testing.
Immunization does not yet affect quarantine
Immunization by vaccination or survived COVID-19 disease does not currently save from quarantine. An antibody test is for personal information only. Currently, presentation of a positive antibody test does not exempt from any quarantine measures. This also applies to corona vaccination. In the opinion of the Ministry of Health Austria there are currently insufficient study results on whether the available vaccines affect the transmission of infection or whether vaccination only provides self-protection, as communicated. Therefore, all protective measures must also be observed by vaccinated persons. How much longer remains to be seen.
Boat owners feel safe in Croatia
Meanwhile, voices opposing Austria’s strict quarantine measures are increasing when it comes to stays in countries with a much better pandemic situation than Austria itself, especially among boat owners and property owners in Croatia:“Boat and property owners are very interested in Croatia because they have property in Croatia, where they remain isolated with the highest possible security against infection. They are less concerned about the Croatian border regime than about the measures in Austria”, Branimir Tončinić, director of the CNTB office in Austria told Croatian media.
Germans are better off: Istria not a risk area
The director of the CNTB in Germany, Romeo Draghicchi, can only agree:This explains that Germans are mainly inquiring about the general entry conditions for Croatia, that is, the recognized types of tests, while for boat and property owners in Croatia, he notes that they are currently most interested in the easiest travel options to enter Croatia, for example, for short periods of time to inspect a boat or a house.
He is, however, in a much more comfortable position than his Austrian colleague in Vienna: Germany has removed Istria from the list of risk areas, who comes back from Istria does not have to go into quarantine. And that will probably stimulate tourism at Easter accordingly.
TV report on impact of travel regulations
By the way: What impact the travel restrictions actually show on the tourism industry, the ARD addressed in a broadcast of Report Munich. From minute 3.36 also follows a statement from the Croatian island of Krk.
Tourism is not a one-way street
Conclusion: Not all days are over yet. If Austria’s tourism industry wants guests from abroad, it can only work if you also open yourself step by step. And it is precisely in these steps that certain forms of vacation, where there is a low risk of infection, should be reconsidered once more precisely. One thing is certain: there will hardly be a one-way street for tourism.