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Eastern Austrian states join Vienna in extending Easter lockdown until April 11th

Lower Austria and Burgenland will join Vienna and extend its Easter lockdown until April 11th, due to a "critical" situation in the east of Austria.

Austrian Hungarian border
Joe Klamar / AFP

Please note: this has since been extended again. Click here for more information. 

The extension of the lockdown was announced by Lower Austrian Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner on Wednesday, Wiener Zeitung reports, after Austria’s Ministry of Health was unable to introduce a nationwide strategy for all federal states and the proposal to introduce retail tests was blocked.

She said in the meantime the situation in the eastern states had become “critical”.  

READ MORE: Vienna’s lockdown to be extended to April 11th

Burgenland Governor Hans Peter Doskozil also called on the federal and state governments to meet and come up with a unified strategy for the coronavirus pandemic, broadcaster ORF reports. 

The Lower Austrian governor said “extensive testing” was the most efficient means in the fight against the pandemic, and had already worked in the Lower Austrian districts of Neunkirchen, Wiener Neustadt Land and in the city of Wiener Neustadt.

Now in Lower Austria, Waidhofen ad Ybbs and the Scheibbs district are facing exit restrictions as they have had a seven-day incidence above 400 for almost a week, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. The Melk district is also almost at the level to trigger restrictions at 393.9.

Generally, once an area has a seven day incidence of 400 for a week, quarantine measures are taken and a negative coronavirus test is needed to leave.

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ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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