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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?
JOE KLAMAR / AFP

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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TRAVEL NEWS

LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules?

Travellers entering the country no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test, but masks are still mandatory in some places.

LATEST: What are Austria's current Covid-19 rules?

From Monday, May 16th, travellers coming into Austria no longer need to present proof that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have tested negative for the disease, or recently recovered from it.

Previously, the so-called 3G rules were in place for all people coming into Austria, with very few exceptions.

The government over the weekend dropped the requirements just ahead of warmer months, stating that the epidemiological situation no longer justified them.

On Sunday, 15th, Austria reported 3,777 new coronavirus cases after just under 110,000 PCR tests were taken. In total, 807 people are currently hospitalised with the disease, and 62 are in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,303 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.

Despite dropping the entry requirements, the federal government reiterated that the rules could change, mainly if a variant of concern is found.

READ ALSO: Austria extends Covid regulations as experts warn of autumn resurgence

Domestically, Austria still has a few coronavirus restrictions in place, including an FFP2 mask mandate in some areas.

These are the latest rules you need to be aware of:

FFP2 mask mandate

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

The mask mandate is no longer in place for enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in Austria

Isolation after a positive test

After the fifth day of isolation and at least 48 hours without symptoms, you can end quarantine for mild or asymptomatic cases.

However, there is a “traffic restriction” for another five days, with a mask mandate and no entry permitted in gastronomy venues, health and care homes, and events during this period.

READ ALSO: Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

In order to obtain an early lifting of the restrictions, a free PCR test can be carried out. If the test is negative or with a CT value (short for Cycle Threshold and is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19) above 30, the isolation can be lifted.

If the value is below 30, then you must remain in isolation.

Vienna doesn’t follow the ‘traffic restriction’, so the only way to end the 10-day isolation is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after two symptom-free days.

You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.

The 3G rule

A 3G rule (proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or has a negative test) is generally only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.

READ ALSO: Ba.4 and Ba.5 Covid variants detected in Austria: What you need to know

In Vienna, on the other hand, the rules are stricter.

Visitors and workers need to have the 3G proof plus a negative PCR test. However, the city has dropped 2G rules for gastronomy and nightclubs – the only places where it was still required to show proof of vaccination or recovery.

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