What you need to know about Austria’s new lockdown measures

The Austrian government on Monday decided to implement a range of new measures, including making masks compulsory at all indoor and outdoor events, and limiting groups.

What you need to know about Austria’s new lockdown measures
Photo: Olivier HOSLET / POOL / AFP

From midnight on Friday, October 23rd, masks will be compulsory at all indoor and outdoor events in Austria, Kurier reported on Monday. 

The new restrictions were put in place at a meeting on Monday morning. 

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pleaded with the public to comply with the measures, while Health Minister Rudolf Anschober promised “this next phase will now take months”. 

Cultural events will only be permitted to take place with assigned seats. 

MAPS: Where are Austria's emerging coronavirus hotspots? 

At bars and restaurants, the largest number of people who can sit on a table has been reduced from 10 to six. People under 18 do not count towards the tally. 

A maximum of six people are allowed indoors without assigned seating, with the respective number outdoors raised to 12. 

This is at all publicly-accessible gatherings – it includes public parks and fitness studios. 

Private gatherings have a 'voluntary' limit of six people. Kurz told the media on Monday that the requirement in private homes was not legally enforceable at this stage. 

“The legal regulation is very clear. Noise pollution is one reason that the police can take action, but the meeting alone cannot,” Kurz said. 

Food and drink is banned at all events. Buffets are also banned. 

Events will also have a cap on the amount of attendees. 

Indoor events will be capped at 1,000 people – while outdoor events will have a maximum of 1,500 in attendance. 

All events over 250 people require authorisation. 

Aged-care facilities 

Masks must be worn everywhere in all aged-care facilities. 

All new and re-admitted residents must be tested for the virus. 

The Austrian government also said it was up to state governments to put in place stricter requirements if they deemed it necessary.


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EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

Austria's capital city Vienna has begun registration appointments for those who want to get a monkeypox vaccine. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: How to register for the monkeypox vaccine in Vienna

As of September 9th, people can make reservations for monkeypox vaccination in Vienna, authorities announced. It is possible to register for the vaccine using the health service line by calling 1450 or via the Impfservice website.

The City of Vienna has said the pre-registration is needed because all planning will be done through a central system due to a shortage of vaccines.

“Please understand that due to the vaccine shortage, we cannot offer preventive monkeypox vaccination to everyone interested. We can use the reservation platform to quickly allocate available appointments and contact interested parties as soon as there are more vaccines”, the authorities said.

After the registration, people will be contacted to book appointments on September 14th. The first available date will be September 19th.

READ ALSO: Monkeypox in Austria: What causes it and is it serious?

Who should be vaccinated against monkeypox?

Vaccination of the general population is currently not recommended.

Preventive vaccination is only offered to health care workers with a very high risk of exposure to people with monkeypox (designated monkeypox departments/outpatient clinics/offices) and persons with individual risk behaviour (persons with frequently changing sexual contacts), the City of Vienna said.

The health authorities in Vienna also have a specific information sheet in English with more information on the disease.

Monkeypox is a notifiable disease caused by a virus closely related to the smallpox virus and which can cause a condition similar to smallpox but rarely deadly. People with immunodeficiencies, pregnant women and children are at risk of more severe symptoms.

The virus spreads from person to person through contact with infectious skin lesions, via air droplets through speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other body fluids, and when having prolonged and close physical contact, e.g. through sexual intercourse.

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Usually, the first symptoms show up 5 to 14 days (at the latest, 21 days) after exposure. These include fever, general exhaustion, headaches, muscle and body aches, gastrointestinal problems and frequently painfully swollen lymph nodes.

“If you have symptoms and have had contact with someone with monkeypox, you must self-isolate at once and call 1450. If you have a confirmed monkeypox infection, you need to stay in self-isolation until the last crust has fallen off”, the Austrian authorities added.