Many countries want to reopen their borders to tourists to get the summer season started, but it’s not so simple. Visitors need to be confident that health and safety are being prioritized, and hotels are a big part of that. To give tourists peace of mind when staying at its hotels, Austria will begin testing 65,000 hotel employees per week for coronavirus, starting on July 1.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said in a press conference, “In which country in the world can you go on holiday and say the staff you come in contact with, the waiters, are tested regularly? It will be very few countries.”
Currently, around 5,000 to 8,000 Austrians are tested each day, and a consortium of private labs will be tapped to conduct mass testing of hotel workers.
“We will invest a great deal,” said Kurz, “to test as many staff as possible who are in contact with guests as often as possible, to prevent them becoming multi-spreaders.”
Austria’s biggest coronavirus cluster — which kicked off the country’s outbreak — happened at the winter resort of Ischgl earlier this year. The memory is still fresh in the minds of Austrians and prospective visitors, so the government is doing everything it can to ensure hotels are safe spaces for guests, and not potential centers of outbreak.
Austria’s hotels are expected to reopen on May 29, while restaurants have been open since May 15.