Austria On Temporary Lockdown From November 22; River Cruises React

The Austrian National Tourist Office today has released the following statement:
“As in most European countries, the rate of new COVID-19 infections has increased rapidly over the last few weeks. Today the Austrian government has announced forceful measures to stem the rate of infections. As of Monday, November 22, Austria thus will enter a temporary lockdown for 20 days (although an interim evaluation is planned after 10 days). During this lockdown, hotels, restaurants, sights and attractions will be closed. All residents, including those that are fully vaccinated, will be asked to remain at home, and if possible, also work from home. This lockdown will end on December 13.

“As a responsible host country, Austria has tried to stem the infection rate with a series of health measures over the last several weeks, and to prepare for a safe winter travel season. Unfortunately, the measures taken thus far have not been effective enough, and the situation demands this forceful, short-term restriction. Austria’s tourism sector will re-open as soon as the situation allows, and Austria will provide a great travel experience during the winter season and beyond.”

Published reports also say that Bavaria has announced that all Christmas markets in the southern state will be cancelled for the second year in a row due to coronavirus, along with other sweeping restrictions. Districts with a seven-day COVID incidence rate of more than 1.000 per 100.000 will also be put into lockdown. 

This is prime season for river cruises that visit the beloved Christmas markets throughout the region. 

Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways, said: “Due to conditions related to COVID-19, the Austrian and Bavarian governments have announced lock-downs and Christmas Market closures that will have a direct impact on select Avalon Waterways cruises. As a result, Avalon Waterways will be cancelling all Danube and Main-Danube itineraries between now and the end of the year. We will be in direct contact with all affected guests and their travel advisors to offer a range of options to reschedule affected cruises, including providing incentives to move their vacation to a future date, as well as offering them the opportunity to request a letter of credit or refund.”

Hoffee added: “Direct communications to all affected travelers will be done on a rolling schedule, reaching out first to guests – and their travel advisors – with the earliest, scheduled departures.”

A spokesperson for Crystal River Cruises said: "Today, Austria announced that it is going into a full nationwide lock-down as of Monday, November 22. We are aware of this development and will announce how this affects our remaining 2021 sailings on Crystal Ravel shortly."

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