Impact of COVID-19 on ESO Operations

Published: 19 Mar 2020

In response to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic around the world ESO has been following the measures adopted by governments in Germany and Chile and closely observing the situation in other countries. Our highest priority remains the safety and wellbeing of all staff and visitors at ESO’s sites. To minimise the risk of infection the presence of staff has been significantly reduced at the observatories over the past week leading to a number of restrictions to the ongoing science operation. Over the coming weekend, the staff at the observatories will be further reduced to the minimal teams required to ensure the safety of the facilities and the remaining people on site.

As a consequence science operation will cease at all sites.

  • On Paranal, the last night of science operation is foreseen for 23/24 March 2020. Selected instruments and telescopes will cease science operation before.
  • On La Silla, the NTT and 3.6-metre telescopes will stop science operation after the night of 22/23 March 2020.
  • At APEX, science operation will not restart after the planned shutdown period that lasted from December until now.

Furthermore, ESO has cancelled all international travels to Chile until at least 19 April 2020.

Updates of the status of the Observatory will be posted at the La Silla Paranal Observatory News page. For urgent questions please contact (Service Mode) and (Visitor Mode). For La Silla please contact For APEX please contact