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EXPLAINED: What are Austria’s current coronavirus lockdown rules?

Austria has put in place nationwide coronavirus measures. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What are Austria's current coronavirus lockdown rules?
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

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. 

READ MORE: How does Austria decide whether to tighten or loosen coronavirus measures?

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. 

UPDATED: When am I allowed to leave my home under Austria’s coronavirus measures? 

Two households

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.   

Shops

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. 

EXPLAINED: Why is Austria making FFP2 masks mandatory? 

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. 

Schools

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. 

EXPLAINED: How Austria plans to test all school children to end coronavirus lockdown 

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.

EXPLAINED: Austria’s compulsory testing scheme for hairdressers

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. 

Border controls

In addition to the following measures, Austria also pledged to toughen border controls to keep out the variants of the coronavirus. 

More information about Austria’s border measures can be found here. 

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. 

EXPLAINED: What is Austria’s compulsory testing requirement for visiting hairdressers?

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. 

‘Five months with no guests’: Can Vienna’s famous cafes survive coronavirus pandemic? 

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. 

READ MORE: Austria to increase fines for failing to wear masks 

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”. 

NOTE: This report has been updated over time to reflect changes in the Austrian government’s coronavirus lockdown rules. 
 

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HEALTH

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.

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