Because of strict regulations, people from Vienna plan to travel to Budapest to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
At present, there are various regulations in Austria to control the spread of the coronavirus, and New Year’s Eve is no exception.
On Wednesday, the country’s 7-day moving average of new infections stood at 188.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, down from 1,100 per 100,000 in late November.
Indoor and outdoor gatherings without assigned seating will be limited to 25 people, following the 2-G+ rule (guests provide proof of their vaccination status or a medical certificate showing recovery from the infection in the past 180 days, plus a negative PCR test or the receipt of the booster jab). With assigned seating and masks, that number goes up to 500, with an additional PCR test, to 1,000. Events at which all attendees have received a booster jab can welcome up to 2,000 people.
ORF, the Austrian state channel, asked locals in front of Stephansdom. Almost all of them answered that they would spend New Year’s Eve at home with a small circle of family or friends. They are not planning to go to big parties or events this year.
However, several respondents indicated that they would welcome the New Year in Budapest. They are mainly tourists already in Vienna, young travellers, most of whom are students (many of them from outside of Europe) who use the holiday period to travel and relax.
The trip from Vienna to Budapest takes no more than 3 hours.
Currently, persons who have been vaccinated twice can enter Hungary from the territory of the EU, according to the rules of the Green Pass. However, Hungary has also concluded bilateral agreements with several non-EU countries. It is always worth checking current rules as they might be changing in the future.
Hungary has been an extremely popular tourist destination for the past two months, with Christmas fairs and hot water thermal baths awaiting travellers in the cold period.
Under current regulations, restaurants and entertainment venues are also open, and mass events can be held. However, events with more than 500 people and also smaller music and dance events can only be attended with proof of protection (being fully vaccinated or having recovered). The same regulation is true for larger thermal baths.
Currently, restaurants and smaller bars are open to the public, and proof of protection is not required there.
Several big nightclubs are planning programs for New Year’s Eve, but it has become evident that this year’s New Year’s Eve will not be like the ones before Covid. The main reason for this is that although there are lighter regulations in Hungary, many possible travellers would be quarantined when they return to their own country or would even have to do a total of 2 (and therefore very expensive) tests before and after their return flight. As a result, it is mainly UK tourists who do not use their already bought, mostly cheap discount aeroplane tickets, as the cost of the PCR tests would exceed the cost of the plane tickets.
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