EXPLAINED: What is allowed in eastern Austria during the hard lockdown over Easter?

Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will go into a strict lockdown from April 1st. Find out what you will and won't be allowed to do over Easter.

EXPLAINED: What is allowed in eastern Austria during the hard lockdown over Easter?

Can families or friends meet at Easter?

There will be exit restrictions – otherwise known as a curfew or 24-hour stay at home order – in place, meaning it is only possible to leave the house to exercise, buy essential items, exercise animals or seek medical help.

Travelling to visit people for a family celebration is not allowed, Der Standard newspaper reports, as it is not one of the reasons to leave your house. However, it is possible for members of one household to visit a single member of another household.

Austria’s coronavirus lockdown: Under what circumstances can I leave my apartment?

For example, a son can visit parents, or a family can visit a grandmother who lives on their own. But it is not possible for a family with more than one person to visit two grandparents at once, according to the Kronen Zietung.

Outside the eastern states, these restrictions are in place across Austria between 8pm and 6am.

READ MORE: Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland to re-enter strict coronavirus lockdown

Can people travel from Vienna, Lower Austria or Burgenland to other parts of Austria, or vice versa?

It is possible to cross state borders to visit a relative in a single household. For example, a couple living in Vienna can visit a grandmother living on her own in Tyrol, or two parents from Styria can visit their son living alone in Vienna.

However, the Ministry of Health urges everyone not to hold family reunions or travel. It is not permitted to leave east Austria to go to another federal state to get a haircut or go shopping according to the Austrian APA agency.

However it is legal to travel to or stay at a second home in Austria. 

Can I bring my kids along with me to visit my parents?

A couple cannot visit two grandparents, however, one person visiting both parents may bring their children with them, as children are exempted from the rule.   

Do I have to get tested before seeing anyone?

There is no test requirement before travelling, apart from districts such as Wiener Neustadt-Land and Neunkirchen or parts of Tyrol, where exit tests already apply, according to the Ministry of Health. However people are urged to test themselves before meeting up with other people. 

What will happen with shops?

You should still be able to pick up goods you have ordered from the shops. Shops which stay open, such as supermarkets, should only be able to sell “basic goods”. For example: supermarkets will be allowed to sell food but not flowers during the Easter break.

What about takeaways? 

Takeaways will still be allowed, according to the APA Austrian press agency. 

Can I go to church at Easter?

Church services should also be possible during Holy Week and Easter. However, there will be very strict rules for this. Whenever possible, services will be outdoors.

Visitors to the services must keep a distance of at least two meters. In addition, FFP2 masks are compulsory for adults and young people from the age of 14 – even outdoors.

 Can I visit my parents abroad?

There are different entry requirements when travelling to and from various countries, and you may be asked to provide negative tests or quarantine depending on where you are travelling to and from.

Every person entering Austria, including Austrian citizens and commuters must fill out a Pre-Travel Clearance Form before coming into the country, unless they are in transit.

People may only  enter without  testing and quarantine if they come from Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea or the Vatican. 

Aircraft from South Africa and Brazil are currently banned from landing.

QUARANTINE: Here is the form you need to enter Austria from Friday

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Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria's autumn Covid-19 plan includes a fourth Covid-19 dose to all those older than 12 and the Health Ministry doesn't rule out further measures, especially a return of the mask mandate.

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria’s Health Ministry and the country’s National Immunisation Panel (NIG) have recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population ahead of autumn.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and physician Herwig Kollaritsch of the Immunisation Panel have requested people take the vaccination before the cold months, reiterating that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and protects against more severe courses of the disease.

“You can do a lot before autumn. Don’t wait until the numbers rise. Get vaccinated, take the booster shots”, Kollaritsch said in a press conference this Wednesday, August 31st.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

The previous recommendation was only for people older than 60 or those in risk groups. “After there was already the booster recommendation for the vulnerable and over 60-year-olds over the summer, all other groups are to get a booster in the coming weeks,” the health minister said.

Only 58.9 percent of the population is currently sufficiently vaccinated, as per the recommendation of the National Immunisation Panel (NIG) – which for the majority of the population is three doses – or if they’ve had Covid then two doses and a recent recovered status.

New measures ahead of autumn

The health minister stopped short of announcing new Covid-19 measures for autumn.

When he announced the end of the mask mandate in the country back in May, Rauch had said the suspension would be “temporary” and masks were likely to return after summer, depending on the pandemic, particularly on hospitalisation numbers.

Currently, masks are obligatory in the health sector and on public transport in Vienna.

“We evaluate the situation weekly by talking with the hospital heads in the states. We have a very good view of the Covid-19 data, and we don’t rule out bringing measures back in the future”, he said.

READ ALSO: Vienna extends stricter Covid-19 rules until late October

He added: “It is likely that in the autumn, compulsory masks will again be useful and necessary in certain areas such as public transport or supermarkets,”.

For now, though, the minister said he recommends people to get vaccinated, wear masks where social distancing is not possible, and get tested regularly – even if those measures are not mandatory.

When should you get vaccinated?

The fourth vaccination should come a minimum of four months after the third one (or after a Covid-19 infection) but not after six months of the third dose (regardless of whether or not the person has had an infection after the last vaccine), according to the NIG.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Which Austrian states will allow Covid-infected teachers in classrooms?

For children between five and eleven years of age, the basic immunisation – which consists of three vaccinations – should be completed by the start of school at the latest; no booster vaccination is currently recommended in this age group.

Austria expects vaccines adapted to the omicron variant to arrive in the country before the end of September, the health minister said.