COVID & Austria

 

On this page we will be sharing the latest Austrian COVID-19 news.

LATEST NEWS

Update December 2nd, 2021:

Regarding traveling to Austria

Update June 23rd, 2021:

Article on orf.at about travel restrictions for people coming to Austria from the US.

Website updates regarding traveling to Austria.

Update June 21st, 2021:

Interesting article on orf.at: So funktioniert der „Grüne Pass“

 ORF.AT is in general a very good option to find out details about openings and travel requirements.

 

Update February 10th, 2021: 

Change of the travel regulations – for more information go to the website of the “Bundesministerium für Europäische und Internationale Angelegenheiten” (currently only available in German)

Update January 15th, 2021:

MANDATORY PRE-TRAVEL CLEARANCE
As of January, 15, 2021, 12:00 am (CET), travelers must register online before entering Austria (Pre-Travel Clearance – PTC) at www.oesterreich.gv.at. Form available in English and German.

USEFUL WEBSITES

 

We put together a list of websites that will give you up to date information regarding the status of COVID in Austria:

 

  • Check out the latest travel information published by the Embassy in Washington
  • For latest general news: ORF AT (Only available in German)
  • For latest news about COVID-19 regulations in Austria (currently only in German available)
  • For Frequently Asked Questions and exceptions to the COVID-19 regulations click here.
  • For latest infection statistics

Discover Colorado’s State Parks: A Local’s Perspective

Discover Colorado’s State Parks: A Local’s Perspective

Guest blog by Monika McCarter

With an enormous variety of landscapes, Colorado boasts some of the most impressive and gorgeous scenery in the country, but one does not have to travel to the high country to enjoy some the state’s finest views.

Being located relatively close to the greater Denver metro area, there are a number of parks and hiking destinations that are especially charming and attractive to all. These destinations are ideal for tourists, and even elderly visitors need not embark on any strenuous hikes or long car rides to get a taste of Colorado’s beautiful scenery.

Our first destination brings us to Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant

The easiest way to get there is by taking I-25 South to Colorado Springs, then proceeding to Highway 24 West towards Woodland Park, and from there, continuing to the town of Florissant.

Photo credit: https://www.nps.gov/

 

The monument is the site of rich and extremely diverse fossil deposits along with a variety of petrified redwood tree stumps. The visitor center is a great starting point to get an overview of the site before heading out to explore.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument offers beautiful, sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and mountains, with a number of trails to choose from. The petrified forest loop is a short, easy-to-walk hike, where one will have the opportunity to stand in the presence of ancient tree stumps from Earth’s past. This hike leads through a meadow, which millions of years ago was a large lake, and offers a beautiful and quaint stroll for visitors. Should any visitor be curious about the site’s history and geology, trails are equipped with signs that provide additional information about each site.

Being particularly beautiful in early summer when local wildflowers are in full bloom, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is assuredly a gorgeous destination to enjoy easy hikes. It is suggested that visitors bring and enjoy lunch on the available picknick tables along the trails.

 

Next as a must-see destination is Roxborough State Park, which is located roughly 20 miles south of Denver.

Roxborough State Park

The best way to get there is by taking C-470 to the Wadsworth Boulevard exit and heading west for about 7 miles.

 

 Picture credit: Wikipedia

 

Roxborough State Park is a magnificent location where Colorado’s golden plains meet the awe-inspiring majesty of the Rocky Mountains. The dramatic, red sandstone formations offer breathtaking views, especially against the backdrop of a true blue, cloudless, Colorado day. It’s visitor center also screens a film on the history of the park for visitors and offers all sorts of hands-on information.

For the hikers among us, Roxborough State Park has a number of trails ranging from easy to moderate with some elevation gain, with the highest point in the park reaching an altitude of roughly 7,300ft. The park is of course home to all sorts of wildlife such as coyotes, elk, deer, bear, and mountain lions. On a hot summer day, one might even catch a glimpse of a rattle snake, which also calls the park home.

Another interesting feature of the park is the historic Waterhouse Homestead, which gives one an idea about life in this part of Colorado many years ago.

As an additional benefit, Roxborough State Park does not favor a particular season, as Fall, Winter, Spring, and Summer each offer a unique beauty any visitor is sure to enjoy, no matter what time of year.

 

The last park on our list brings us to Staunton State Park, located close to the town of Conifer.

 

Staunton State Park

To get there from Denver, simply take Highway 285 south about 6 miles past the town of Conifer.

Staunton State park opened its gates in 2013, and was donated to the state by Frances Staunton, to whom the original homestead and now park belonged.

The granite rock and boulder formations at Staunton are truly stunning and are nestled among meadows and forested trails. The elevation in the park ranges from about 8,000ft to approximately 10,000ft.

Staunton State Park is home to variety of trails which boast beautiful views of high meadows covered with wildflowers in early summer, and impressive mountain views year-round.

Elk Falls Trail, a favorite destination in the park, leads to a beautiful waterfall, but is only accessible via a 12-mile hiking trail. Of a more moderate caliber is the historic cabin trail, where one can get a glimpse of Frances Staunton’s original homestead cabins.

There are plenty if spots for a picnic lunch amidst the mountainous setting. Staunton State Park also includes plenty of spots to stop and enjoy a picnic lunch amongst awe-inspiring mountain views.

Although Staunton State Park is somewhat further away from the Denver metro area, it is well worth the drive to explore the numerous trails and rugged environment of this park.

Photo credit: Go Hike Colorado

 

 

 

COVID-19 in Austria

Translated from an ORF article, journalist: Sinan Ersek

The ability to adapt to uncertainty, meaning not being able to predict the future, not being in control, prompted new behaviors and demanded for adaptation and at times drastic change in Austria like anywhere else.

Regarding the political reaction to the pandemic, restrictions came early and were extremely rigorous. The public would not have co-operated and accepted the strict measures, had it not seen the worrying pictures and concerning data from neighboring Italy.

Additionally the “Ischgl-Gate” and other ski resorts in the Tyrolean Alps made it clear how rapid the exponential growth of the virus really was. In comparison, the capital of Vienna with, around 2 million inhabitants, accounted for roughly 2,300 (officially) infected cases. A proof of a strong West-East gradient. 

It appears that “The Hammer and the Dance “ has been extremely well followed. The chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, very quickly and unmistakably stated: “Soon each one of us will know of someone who died from the virus“. Austrians accepted and understood this martial warning. Soon thereafter the people started to waltz again, a small relaxation of measures here, another exception there.

Kurz united the majority of Austrians under the idea of protecting everyone’s health and economical stability. Balancing Life and Livelihood. Concrete information, including negative information, has been communicated in a crystal clear and honest way. Informing the public via daily press-conferences about processes, expectations, and consequences including back-up plans outlining what will happen if plans should not develop as expected.

The general public was never under the impression that they had been insufficiently informed. This culture of honesty and trust enabled everyone to think, talk, share, and make informed decisions. 

From a medical point of view, Austria has different prerequisites than neighboring Italy or Spain. Over the past 40 years considerable investment went towards the health care system. It could very well be the trust in this system that is the reason for the notorious Austrian “Gemütlichkeit“. Even if Austrians love to whine and complain, deep down they trust and know that all will be fine and that the system will back them.

The acceptance of authority (in this case of a young and charismatic Sebastian Kurz) enveloped varieties of interaction. No Anti-lockdown protests occurred like in various other countries and even those who did not vote for Kurz, accepted his leadership.

It might be worthwhile to mention that the patience and acceptance rate of the public may be explained by the spatial and geographical structure of the country. Austria is still a rural country. Even in Vienna, the only large city, numerous green spaces prevail, including parks, the so-called “Schrebergärten“ (similar to community gardens), the surrounding Vienna woods, fields and bike paths along the Danube.

 

From Austria to Colorado

From Austria to Colorado*

Guest Blog from Mark Laurencik

America, the land of opportunity and where dreams come true. Now ask yourself, what is it like for an Austrian citizen to pursue the “American dream”? Coming from Austria there are many cultural differences you may face but the similarities are maybe more present than you might expect. Throughout this blog I will be focusing more on the state of Colorado since this is where I spent some time recently.

Never-ending landscape

To start off with, I would like to share some general facts about North America. The United States has a population of 328.2 million citizens, making it one of the biggest countries in the world (compared to 446 million in the European Union). The United States spans 2,800 miles (~4,506 km) from east to west. Measuring from Maine to Hawaii, it’ a distance of 5,100 miles (~8,207 km). The US has 12,383 miles (~19,928 km) of coastline. Therefore, be prepared for long-distance drives through various landscapes such as deserts, mountains, forests and coastline in case you want to do a road trip.

Nutrition/Gastronomy in the United States

Furthermore, food is a big dissimilarity. One thing to expect is to be served large portions which will not always be finished. For example, a medium sized soda is mostly comparable to a large one in the USA. In fact, the amount of sugar and fat per capita consumed in America is almost three times more as compared to Austria. Nevertheless, the United States is moving more and more towards organic nutrition, Organic food sales in the United States rose 5.9% in 2018 to reach $47.9 billion according to the 2019 Organic Industry Survey done by the Organic Trade Association. Organic food sales made up 5.7% of overall U.S. food sales, which rose 2.3% in 2018. Additionally, due to the fact that the US is closer to South America it is far more common to get exotic foods in comparison to e.g. Austria. When it comes to grocery shopping in the States, don’t be surprised if an employee walks up to you and asks how you are. For a European this might be a little surprising since there is no strong customer – employee relationship in Austria. However, conducting small talk in the grocery store becomes a regularity in the United States. This is a common part in the everyday life in the US which proves the kindness and generosity of the people living in smaller cities in the United States. Tips are taken very seriously in the States since waiters are depended of them. In Europe, a decent tip is considered about 5%, whereas in the States they expect a minimum of 15% to 20%, depending on the restaurant.

 

Mountains and Temperature in Colorado

Colorado is known for its beautiful landscape of mountains, canyons, plateaus and rivers. Furthermore, it has the highest elevation of any states in the US. With more than 1000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high it offers various outdoor activities. Many argue that Colorado has the best suited snow for winter sports. In fact, Colorado’s snow is one of the best I have ever experienced. Given this, an Austrian citizen traveling through the city of Denver looking at the Rocky Mountains could very well feel like home. The highest mountain in Colorado is Mount Elbert and it’s about 14,440 feet high, whereas the highest peak in Austria the (Großglockner) is 1246,63 feet high. In fact, Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” locally) — the most of any state.

Another interesting fact about Colorado is its weather circumstances. You never know what to expect. One could be lucky and enjoy a 70-degree sunny day, and this could turn into a 30-degree nightmare in the afternoon with snow flakes and unpleasant winds. but truth be told, Colorado has almost as many sunny days as Miami, Florida! No matter what season, be prepared since living in Colorado requires all kinds clothing!

Mountains and Temperature in Colorado

Colorado is known for its beautiful landscape of mountains, canyons, plateaus and rivers. Furthermore, it has the highest elevation of any states in the US. With more than 1000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 ft high it offers various outdoor activities. Many argue that Colorado has the best suited snow for winter sports. In fact, Colorado’s snow is one of the best I have ever experienced. Given this, an Austrian citizen traveling through the city of Denver looking at the Rocky Mountains could very well feel like home. The highest mountain in Colorado is Mount Elbert and it’s about 14,440 feet high, whereas the highest peak in Austria the (Großglockner) is 1246,63 feet high. In fact, Colorado has 58 mountain peaks exceeding 14,000 feet (known as “fourteeners” or “14ers” locally) — the most of any state.

Another interesting fact about Colorado is its weather circumstances. You never know what to expect. One could be lucky and enjoy a 70-degree sunny day, and this could turn into a 30-degree nightmare in the afternoon with snow flakes and unpleasant winds. but truth be told, Colorado has almost as many sunny days as Miami, Florida! No matter what season, be prepared since living in Colorado requires all kinds clothing!

Public Transportation

Compared to Europe, the United States are not known well for their public transportation. Outside of the big cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C and San Francisco there are not many available Subway infrastructures. If we take Denver as an example, there has been some improvements. The light rail which is a suburban train has 8 rails with 53 stations around the city of Denver. However, in comparison with most cities in Austria this is a tiny number.

In conclusion, when looking at Austria and Colorado from a big picture standpoint, it is safe to say that there are many differences that could cause a cultural shock at first. But after living in Colorado for longer than a month, I highly recommend visiting this beautiful place.

-Mark Laurencik

*This is a guest blog provided by Mark Laurencik, a business student visiting Colorado for a month in 2019.

Image credits: Matt Inden/Miles, Denise Chambers/Miles