Austria has put in place a nationwide set of coronavirus measures which applies in each of the country’s federal states, other than Vorarlberg which has relaxed measures.
As of May 3rd, Vienna and Lower Austria have wound back their coronavirus rules – meaning that the majority of the country is under the same restrictions.
The rules are expected to remain in place until May 19th, when Austria will relax its measures.
What has the government announced?
Austria on March 22nd decided to extend existing nationwide coronavirus lockdown measures beyond Easter.
Previously, the Austrian government had indicated that some lockdown rules would be relaxed on Saturday, March 27th – however this was postponed due to higher than expected infection rates and hospitalisations.
Now, they are expected to be in place until May 19th.
Unlike the plan announced in February, the Austrian government said regional variations to lockdown rules would be possible from April onwards.
This has already been made possible in the western state of Vorarlberg, where pubs and restaurants have been allowed open and events with up to 100 people can take place since March 15th.
Austria has also allowed for regional lockdowns to take place in recent months, for instance due to high case numbers or variants. More information is available here.
What are the current coronavirus rules in Austria?
Austrians in all outdoor and indoor areas are encouraged to keep two metres distance from each other at all times.
For an official list of the coronavirus measures which apply, please click here.
Stay at home order at nighttime
Austria’s 24-hour stay at home order will only apply between 8pm and 6am from February 8th.
More information as to the rules of the order – and when you are allowed to leave – is available at the following link.
Two households are allowed to meet during the day (from 6am to 8pm) from February 8th.
This can be up to a maximum of four adults and a maximum of six children.
The hard lockdown on ‘non-essential’ retailers has been relaxed, with smaller shops selling clothes and gifts again allowed to reopen.
FFP2 masks will be required in all shops.
Customer numbers will however be restricted to one per 20 square metres. Where a business has a square meterage which is lower than 20, only one customer will be allowed.
Face-to-face lessons will again take place at Austrian schools, however this will be done with divided classes.
There will be two days of face-to-face classes followed by two days of distance learning (i.e. from home).
The changes apply to both lower and upper schools.
“We have agreed that the schools should return to classroom teaching after the semester break,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Teachers and students will also be tested weekly.
Hairdressers and beauty services again allowed – but only with a negative test
In addition, ‘body hugging service providers’ – i.e. hairdressers and cosmetic services – will again be allowed to open.
These services will be subject to strict hygiene measures, such as FFP2 masks, maximum numbers of people per square metre and the recording of contact details.
People will also be required to show a negative coronavirus test which is less than 48 hours old.
“Here we will rely on the concept of entrance tests,” the chancellor said.
Museums, zoos and libraries can again open
Museums, libraries and art galleries are allowed to open, although FFP2 masks will be required and limits will be placed on the number of people who can enter.
The requirement of one person per 20 metres also applies in indoor areas of museums, zoos and libraries.
In addition to the following measures, Austria also pledged to toughen border controls to keep out the variants of the coronavirus.
Sport – for under 18s
Non-contact outdoor sports are allowed for people up to the age of 18.
A maximum of ten people – plus two trainers or coaches (of any age) – are allowed to participate.
‘Body-hugging services’: Hairdressers, cosmetic salons and tattoo parlours
From Monday, February 8th, Austria allowed so-called ‘body-hugging services’ to open again – albeit subject to a testing requirement.
Anyone wanting to visit hairdressers, cosmetic services and tattoo parlours will need to provide evidence of a negative test.
More information is available at the following link.
What has not been relaxed?
At this stage, despite their recent protests it appears that hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes will have to wait a little longer before being allowed to reopen.
Sports and leisure facilities, along with theatres, operas and cinemas, will also need to remain closed.
Lockdowns in sports and leisure as well as gastronomy will be extended until at least the end of February.
One of the few exceptions to the wide-ranging shutdown in recent weeks has been ski resorts, which have stayed open for local visitors despite several reported outbreaks.
In addition, mask fines are being increased. Formerly these were €25-40, but will be €90 from February 8th onwards.
Why is it being relaxed – and why is it not being relaxed further?
One of the major reasons that a full relaxation has been avoided is due to the prevalence of the coronavirus mutation in Austria.
Kurz called upon each resident of Austria to take responsibility to ensure infection numbers continue to fall in the coming weeks.
“Once again, the responsibility of each individual in the country will play an important role”.