Along with the UK, Denmark and the Netherlands, Norway was placed on the virus variant list, called Virusvariantgebiete in German, meaning entry to Austria is generally prohibited.
The change, which will come into effect on December 25th, was announced by Austrian authorities after a Covid summit on Wednesday, potentially sending Christmas travel plans into disarray.
Austrian, EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, people who share a household with them, and other people travelling for essential reasons, can still enter Austria from Norway and the other affected countries but need to fill out a pre-travel clearance form and enter a ten-day quarantine on arrival.
This quarantine can be ended after five days at the earliest with a negative PCR test result, with the day of arrival being counted as ‘day zero’.
People who are allowed to enter can avoid the quarantine only if they have received a booster vaccination and also show a negative PCR test on arrival. Neither a PCR test nor a booster shot alone is sufficient to avoid quarantine.
Everyone entering Austria needs to provide proof of full vaccination or recovery. This still applies for the virus variant countries.
The rules for children remain unchanged, so children under 12 can enter without these proofs and should follow the same rules as the adult accompanying them.
For non-EU citizens travelling for non-essential purposes, which would include for example many Brits hoping to visit family in Austria over the holiday season as well as ski tourists, entry will generally not be possible.
Being listed as a virus variant country can also mean that travel options are reduced and many flights cancelled, so that even for people still allowed to enter Austria, this would become more difficult in practice.