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HEALTH

Coronavirus: How Austrian businesses can receive 80 percent of their revenue in November

The Austrian economy and in particular the hospitality industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how the government is planning to support struggling business owners.

Coronavirus: How Austrian businesses can receive 80 percent of their revenue in November
Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

From 2pm on Friday, November 6th, business owners in the gastronomy, leisure and hospitality sectors will be able to access funding from the Austrian government. 

The money will be made available to companies affected by the shutdown. 

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

Under the plan, companies will be reimbursed 80 percent of their sales. The amount they are paid will be determined with reference to the sales they made in November 2019. 

Companies making a request will not need to work out the number themselves. Finance Minister Gernot Blümel said the government would make the calculation based on the corresponding amount submitted in taxation documents from last year. 

‘Extremely favourable’

Austrian media has called the plan “extremely favourable” to business owners, not least because many other expenses associated with staff wages will also be paid by government under the AMS offset scheme.

Under the scheme, employers can set their employees wages to zero and have them paid by the government under the short-time working scheme. 

The cost of the scheme is expected to be between 1.5 and two billion euros in November.

Importantly, the money is available not only to businesses who have been forced to close as a result of the measures. 

Other business – i.e. restaurants which now operate only for takeaway – can also access the funding. 

As reported in Der Standard, this represents a generous level of support as sales made with takeaway trade do not need to be deducted from the 80 percent compensation payment – meaning businesses could receive more than 80 percent.  

'Right and important'

The plan has been welcomed by many in the industry. 

Think tank Momentum said there was the possibility that some businesses could bank up to 35 percent of the support funding as a profit. 

“Without deducting short-time work, this is excellent business for many companies,” says Momentum.

The Austrian Hotels Association welcomed the funding, saying the “right and important” decision will “save” many businesses after what haas been a difficult year .

The architects of the plan – Blümel (ÖVP) and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) – acknowledged that there may be the possibility of overpayment under the scheme. 

Currently, the scheme is only in place until the end of November, which mirrors the current end date of Austria’s lockdown restrictions. 

‘Phase Two’ of the plan will depend on if and how lockdown measures are extended – which itself depends on whether infections and hospitalisations continue to rise. 

 

 

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HEALTH

Austria makes quarantine announcement for monkeypox

The Ministry of Health has announced new quarantine guidelines for dealing with monkeypox in Austria.

Austria makes quarantine announcement for monkeypox

The Ministry of Health has published a set of guidelines for authorities after Austria reported its first case of the disease on Monday.

A three week quarantine now applies to contacts of confirmed cases, but only if they are showing symptoms of monkeypox, reports Der Standard.

The isolation period can be completed at home or at hospital, depending on the state of health of the patient.

Furthermore, contacts of a positive case will be treated as either Type I or Type II in a move similar to the management of Covid-19 contacts.

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

Type I contacts are considered as high-risk and include those who have had direct contact with skin lesions of an infected person, such as sexual partners, but also close passengers on planes, buses or trains for a period of at least eight hours. 

High-risk contacts do not have to isolate straight away but must monitor their condition for 21 days through a daily phone call with the health authorities. If symptoms occur, then the person has to quarantine for three weeks and a PCR test has to be carried out.

Type II contacts are short social contacts, such as work colleagues (not in the same office), or fleeting contacts in gyms, saunas or bathrooms. These contacts must monitor their health for 21 days.

READ ALSO: More pay and longer holidays: How Austria hopes to attract 75,000 new nurses

A case of monkeypox is confirmed after a positive result from a PCR test and Austria currently only has one confirmed case of monkeypox in Vienna.

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that positive cases of monkeypox are contagious for the entire duration of an infection, which can last from two to four weeks.

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

The disease displays symptoms in two phases.

The first stage involves a high temperature, muscles aches, back ache, chills, headache, swollen glands and exhaustion.

This is typically followed a few days later by a rash on the mouth, throat, face, hands and forearms before spreading to other parts of the body. The genital area can also be affected.

READ MORE: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

A patient is no longer contagious when the rash has disappeared.

To be considered a suspected case, a person must have been in contact with a probable or confirmed case of monkeypox, recently returned from West or Central Africa or been in contact with a potentially infected animal.

Additionally, a person must have developed a rash of unknown cause and at least two other symptoms (e.g. fever, chills) within 21 days after contact.

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