Australians among almost 100 travellers caught breaching coronavirus rules at Austrian ski resort

Nearly 100 tourists from countries including Australia have been caught on Austria's ski slopes in breach of the country's coronavirus rules.

Kuhtai sky resort village and ski slopes near Innsbruck Tyrol Austria in 2019.

Kuhtai sky resort village and ski slopes near Innsbruck Tyrol Austria in 2019. Source: Sergi Reboredo/Sipa USA

Nearly 100 foreign tourists have been caught hitting Austria's ski slopes in violation of the country's coronavirus rules during a ski resort raid by police.

The tourists were from a range of countries including Australia, as well as Britain, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Romania.

The raid in Tyrol on Friday night (local time) led to 96 foreigners being handed citations after some 44 accommodations in St Anton am Alberg and Stanzertal were checked.

Police did not say exactly what offences had been committed but said the foreigners had breached lockdown and immigration regulations as well as the law on registering an address.

The fine for violating virus measures could be up to $A3,462. 

Austria, a country of just under nine million people, has recorded 413,208 cases and 7,703 deaths in the pandemic so far. Daily new cases have dropped to roughly 1,500 from a peak of more than 9,000 in November but are now falling only slowly.

It has been in its third national lockdown since 26 December, with non-essential shops closed. In addition, from 19 December to 10 January, even stricter rules on entering the country were put in place largely to discourage skiers, forcing arrivals from almost every country in Europe to go into quarantine.

In recent weeks, however, the public has been stunned to learn of loopholes, often involving work or training. Although regular skiers cannot stay overnight at a resort, COVID-19 clusters emerged at ski teacher training courses, which were allowed to be held for visitors from across Europe.

The mayor of St Anton, Helmut Mall, had sounded alarm bells after he said there were, in his view, too many foreigners in the area who weren't allowed to be there due to virus rules.

They apparently were taking advantage of such loopholes in the regulation by registering a second residence and saying they were looking for work.

"But there are no jobs in tourism at the moment," Mr Mall said, according to the Kurier newspaper.

With Reuters. 

People in Australia must stay at least 1.5 metres away from others. Check your jurisdiction's restrictions on gathering limits. If you are experiencing cold or flu symptoms, stay home and arrange a test by calling your doctor or contact the Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080. News and information is available in 63 languages at sbs.com.au/coronavirus.

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Published 31 January 2021 at 7:45am, updated 31 January 2021 at 8:08am
Source: AAP - SBS