EXPLAINED: Ten key questions about what Austria’s partial lockdown means for you

EXPLAINED: Ten key questions about what Austria's partial lockdown means for you
A closed cafe in Vienna on November 3rd. Photo: AFP
Austria entered a new month-long coronavirus shutdown on Tuesday. Here are the answers to some key questions that affect your life.

The Austrian government announced a range of measures to curb the spread of coronavirus. The new rules came into force on Tuesday November 3rd and are in place until the end of the month.

Among the measures is a nighttime curfew between 8pm and 6pm. Residents can only leave their homes if they have a valid reason.

Here are the answers to some common questions, with some reported by the Kronen Zeitung. If you have any more, get in touch: [email protected]

READ ALSO: Everything you need to know about Austria's coronavirus shutdown

Are restaurants and bars allowed to stay open after the curfew kicks in at 8pm?

Yes. They are allowed to stay open to deliver food and drinks even during the curfew. However, you are not allowed to collect food and drink between these times.

Customers are also not allowed to sit in at these places at any time – it's takeaway only.

During the day, can I take my children to an outdoor playground where other kids and parents are? Or is this counted as an 'event'?

According to the Ministry of Health, accidental encounters of children from different households in the park or playground are not covered by the event ban.

In these cases, however, the one metre distance rule should be observed. However, a planned or organised gathering of more than six people plus underage children from more than two households is not allowed.

Can I hold a yoga class or other outdoor training session if there is enough space and the distance is respected?

No, because this is classed as an event and these are not allowed. These include “planned meetings and activities for physical exercise and relaxation”.

Exceptions apply to meetings of no more than six people, who only come from two different households, plus a maximum of six youngsters.

The owner of “Kaffee Delia's” in Vienna on the first day of the partial Lockdown. Photo: DPA

I live in an apartment building. Am I allowed to visit neighbours after 8pm as I am not leaving the apartment building?

The neighbouring flat is not part of your own private living area. You are therefore not allowed to visit neighbours after 8pm unless an exception applies, such as: if there is danger to life, limb or property, providing care and assistance to people in need of support, exercising family rights and fulfilling family obligations.

What time does everything have to close? 

From Wednesday, November 11th, shops must close at 7pm. This change was made in order to give people enough time to return home before the curfew begins. 

I am single and live alone. Can I visit my best friend after 8pm?

You are allowed to go for a walk or exercise with your friend (with distance), for example, because this is allowed as part of “physical and mental relaxation”.

The government says physical and mental relaxation given can include walking, jogging or taking the dog for a walk.

However the Social Affairs Ministry does appeal to residents' common sense and sense of responsibility.

 A visit to a friend after 8pm would only be allowed in exceptional cases.

Note that you do not need a form to explain why you are out, but if you are stopped by officials, you need to explain why you are outside.

I have visited a friend in the evening. Am I allowed to wait until after 8pm to go home?

No, the Health Ministry says. Although you can leave your own home during the day for any reason, you must be back home by 8 pm at the latest.

I would like to go for a walk after 8pm. How far away from my flat am I allowed to walk?

There is no restriction on this. The Social Affairs Ministry states you are allowed to travel, including with the underground or by private transport, for the purpose of “physical and mental relaxation”.

Gatherings are not allowed though.

READ ALSO: Can I have a casual relationship under Austria's new coronavirus measures

I would like to go to church on Sunday for a service. Is that still allowed, and what coronavirus rules do I have to follow?

Visiting a church or place of worship is allowed at any time. During services, a mouth and nose covering must be worn and the minimum distance of 1m must be maintained.

Singing, which is said to contribute to the transmission of the virus, is restricted in agreement with religious communities.

Can my family meet a second family friend outside for a walk or a hike, for example?

Yes. A maximum of six people from two different households plus their underage children can meet in the public area.

For example, an outing of two families with a total of four children and three adults is permitted.

What happens to homeless people if they are on the street after 8pm?

For people who do not have their own private home, being outside on the street after the curfew is no administrative offence. If they have space in an emergency shelter, the curfew applies to them as well.

More information on Austria's coronavirus measures can be found here.
 


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