For members


Wristbands, fences and 3G: How will Christmas markets look this year in Austria?

Christmas markets across Austria are set to go ahead this year, although exactly how things will look has been a bit up in the air. Here’s what you need to know.

People walk during the twilight at Vienna's famous shopping Mariahilfer street decorated with Christmas lights on December 18, 2019 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
People walk during the twilight at Vienna's famous shopping Mariahilfer street decorated with Christmas lights. Commerce will remain open as strikes were avoided. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

As it stands, the finalised regulation is still yet to be passed. However, as at October 26th, most of the important details have already been laid out. 

The following relies on hospitalisations and in particular ICU capacity staying relatively stable. 

As per the government’s new five-level Covid rules, measures can be tightened if ICU capacity dwindles. 

A spokesperson from the Vienna mayoral office told news outlet Kurier on Monday, October 26th, that they were hoping for the best. 

“We are assuming that the Advent markets will take place,” a spokesperson said. 

More information about this is available at the following link. 

UPDATED: What is Austria’s new 5-stage Covid restrictions plan?

Christmas markets all across Austria must be 3G compliant

Christmas markets are set to go ahead across the country, with a requirement for proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery from Covid-19, or a negative test) compliance in order to enter.

This is the case even though Christmas markets largely take place in outdoor areas. 

‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Christmas markets will open up in several locations on November 12th, including the Weihnachtstraum at the Vienna Rathaus, the Weihnachtsdorf at the Alten AKH university campus, along with the markets at Stephansplatz and Spittelberg. 

The Türkenschanzpark will open on November 13th, the Weihnachtsdorf on Maria-Theresien-Platz on the 17th, and the Weihnachtsdorf at Belvedere Palace on November 19th. 

Both the Altwiener Christkindlmarkt auf der Freyung and the Weihnachtsmarkt vor dem Schloss Schönbrunn will open up on the 20th of November. 

When handing down the new measures, Austrian Tourism Minister Elizabeth Köstinger said there would be “virtually no restrictions for those who have been vaccinated” and encouraged anyone who wants to take part in winter sports to get the jab. 

How will this be enforced? 

By Christmas time, Austria will have had six months to get used to the 3G Rule and how it works. 

But while this is relatively easy to enforce in bars, restaurants and at other events and venues, the historic nature of Christmas markets can make things a little more difficult. 

The majority of Christmas markets may be fenced in order to ensure that everyone inside is in compliance with the 3G Rule, with a person’s 3G credentials checked upon entry. 

The government however is aware that fencing or other forms of barriers are difficult or impossible elsewhere, for instance in Graz, where the entire old town would need to be fenced off. 

In this case, markets will use a ‘wristband’ system, where people will need to visit a number of points to get a wristband showing that they are 3G compliant. 

From there, random checks will be carried out to ensure that all in attendance are compliant. 

Those in attendance who are not properly complying with the 3G Rule face on the spot fines. 

READ MORE: Austria to introduce on-the-spot fines for breaching 3G rule

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Delays and cancellations: What is happening with Austrian Airlines flights?

Passengers who have booked a flight for Tuesday or Wednesday with Austrian Airlines are facing delays, rebookings and flight cancellations. What is happening, and what are your rights?

Delays and cancellations: What is happening with Austrian Airlines flights?

Passengers with early flights on Tuesday, March 7th, already had to reschedule or cancel their trips if they were with Austrian carrier and Lufthansa subsidiary, Austrian Airlines (AUA), as The Local reported. And the disruption is set to continue during the day and on March 8th.

A staff meeting with flight crews, which was called after shelved collective bargaining negotiations on inflation compensation, was the reason why flights were affected in the early morning. Workers met at Vienna International Airport in Schwechat on Tuesday and the airline had to cancel 34 flights to 17 destinations.

Warning strike announced

However, during the union members meeting, participants decided on a warning strike lasting until 2:30 pm, which will affect flights for the entire day on March 7th and early on March 8th. 

At the staff gathering, it was unanimously decided that the meeting would turn into a warning strike, Yvonne Heuber of the Vida trade union told APA.

The company has not announced the detailed impacts of the strike yet. However, passengers can check on the company website for the status of their flights – as well as checking airport sites. In the Vienna International Airport, several AUA flights already show as cancelled, including some on the morning of March 8th.

Around 1,700 passengers were already rebooked on replacement flights. According to the airline, those who booked directly with it were contacted proactively, while passengers who booked with a travel agency should contact the agencies.

READ ALSO: What you need to know before travelling to Austria in spring 2023

To minimise the impact, among other things, employees on “standby” have been called to duty, the AUA press office said. “Austrian Airlines long-haul destinations can be served regularly according to the current status,” the airline announced.

What are my rights if my flight gets cancelled or delayed?

In case of cancellation, you can choose between getting your money back, getting the next available flight, or changing the booking completely for a later date. You are also entitled to assistance free of charge, including refreshments, food, accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day), transport, and communication (two telephone calls, for example).

This is regardless of the reasons for cancellation.

If your flight was delayed, your rights and compensation would depend on the duration of the delay and the flight distance.

You can read more about your rights HERE.

READ ALSO: Train travel in Austria: 6 ways you can save money

Why are workers on strike?

Workers’ representatives informed Austrian Airlines staff that the renegotiations on the collective agreement (KV), the sector deals between unions and company representatives that rule over salary and benefits in Austria, have stalled. 

Staff had demanded a renegotiation of the KV after Austrian Airlines posted good results in the third quarter of 2022 at the same time as inflation continued to rise. 

The workers haven’t ruled out further strikes in the near future.