The conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) has long been calling for such a ban, and recently Salzburg Mayor Heinz Schaden (SPÖ) said that he was also in favour.
Regional laws mean that municipalities can ban begging at certain times and in certain places. The ÖVP and SPÖ will now negotiate which parts of the city are out of bounds for beggars.
Deputy Mayor Harald Preuner (ÖVP) told the ORF that he assumes that all of the city’s markets will be no-go zones for beggars.
“The Schrannenmarkt, the Christkindlmarkt, the Rupertikirtag, as well as the Grünmarkt… Also certain streets such as the Getreidegasse and Linzer Gasse, the area around the Staatsbrücke and possibly also the Makartsteg.
Everything else has to be gone over in some detail. The SPÖ has also suggested banning beggars from the local cemetery. It will then be up to the police to make sure the begging ban is being upheld,” he said.
At peak times, around 150 beggars per day have been counted in the centre of Salzburg. Munich, which has a population around ten times that of Salzburg, has a partial begging ban which has reduced the number of beggars in the city to around 50.
It is not yet clear what the punishment will be for beggars found in zones where begging has been outlawed, or if people who give money to such beggars would then face a fine.
In Norway, the government had to scrap plans earlier this year to penalize begging after the opposition Centre Party decided not to back the proposal following strong international criticism of the plans.
The government had wanted to slap fines and jail terms of up to one year on beggars and those who help them.