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Everything that changes in Austria in April 2021

Everything that changes in Austria in April 2021
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels
From a strict lockdown in the east to more vaccines, April has some changes in store for us all.

The most pronounced changes in April will be felt in the eastern Austrian states of Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland. 

From April 1st until at least April 18th, Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will go into a strict coronavirus lockdown to tackle rising infection rates and hospitalisations. 

Initially, the lockdown was to last only until the 6th of April, but it was extended in the final days of March until the 11th, before again being extended until April 18th. Please click here for more information

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

Closure of service providers

In eastern states of Austria, close contact services – known in Austria as ‘body hugging services’ – like hairdressers, tattoo parlours and cosmetic services will also be closed from April 1st until April 18th, along with non-essential (retail) shops, zoos and museums. 

Masks in outdoor areas in Vienna

From Thursday, everyone visiting the Danube Canal, Schwedenplatz, Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz will be required to wear an FFP2 mask. 

The FFP2 mask requirement will also extend to Resselpark near Karlsplatz, and could be extended to other areas which become too busy, Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig told the Austrian press agency APA, newspaper Wiener Zeitung reports. 

Other areas such as Yppenplatz in Ottakring are under consideration, newspaper Heute reports. However, Vienna’s Kärntner Straße will not have a mask requirement, as the authorities feared it would drive people into narrower side streets, the paper reports. 

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Vienna to make wearing face masks compulsory outdoors

Easter stay at home order

A 24-hour stay at home order will come into effect from April 1st, meaning residents of east Austria can only leave the house to exercise, shop for basic goods such as food or medicine, visit the doctor, go to church, visit a cemetery or to take care of animals. 

This is in place until at least April 18th in Burgenland, Lower Austria and Vienna, although it may be continued if infection rates and hospitalisations remain high. 

More information as to when you can leave your house is available at the following link. 

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

Easter celebrations

No large Easter celebrations will be allowed in the eastern states. Only several people who live together are allowed to meet with a single person from another household, according to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.

For example, a son can visit his parents, or a large family from one household can visit a grandmother. In the rest of Austria, these limits to celebrations only apply between 8pm and 6am.

Church services should also be possible during Holy Week and Easter. However, in the eastern regions of Austria 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.

Similar rules also apply for travel to other federal states in Austria from the eastern states during this period. For example, it is not permitted to take a clothes shopping trip from Burgenland to Styria or from Lower to Upper Austria.

However, according to the Austrian APA agency, if a Viennese person wants to visit his sister in Tyrol, however, that is allowed.

Buying takeaway food or drink from bars and restaurants will still be allowed during the Easter “pause” in the eastern states, the agency adds. 

Extra masks

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

In Vienna FFP2 masks will be required outdoors wherever crowds form. A mask requirement is planned for the popular  Danube Canal, Schwedenplatz, Stephansplatz, Karlsplatz and Maria-Theresien-Platz areas of Vienna from 1st April. 

EXPLAINED: Why is Austria making FFP2 masks mandatory?

Schools in eastern Austria (Vienna, Burgenland and Lower Austria) will move to distance learning after the Easter break (i.e. no face-to-face lessons) until the April 9th. Schools will start again after April 10th with face-to-face lessons, it is hoped. 

If retailers opens again in the eastern states of Austria on April 7th – which is by no means certain and depends on infections and hospitalisations – there were plans to make people show evidence of a negative test to go into non-essential stores. 

However, the timetable for retail testing has been potentially set back after Austria’s Federal Council blocked an amendment to the The Epidemic and Covid Measures Act in the Bundesrat. As of March 30th the plan has been put on hold. 

EXPLAINED: How will Austria’s compulsory test requirement to go shopping work? 

Tougher rules for people travelling to Austria

Tighter rules for people coming into Austria will came into force  at midnight on 1st April.

Commuters from all non-EU and EEA countries as well as from the high incidence countries Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Italy, Malta, Poland, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Cyprus must show a negative PCR or antigen test no older than 72 hours. Self-tests may not be used.

Commuters from all other EU and EEA must present a test result on entry form the past seven days or carry out a test within 24 hours.

Regular commuters are also required to register electronically using the “Pre-Travel Clearance” form, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Vaccination in April

Vaccination is slowly picking up pace in Austria, and the Health Minister Rudolf Anschober has promised by the end of April, all people over 65 should have been offered a vaccine.

However Austrian broadcaster ORF reports Vienna will close all its vaccination centres over Easter weekend except for the Austria Centre because there are not enough vaccines to justify keeping more open. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered in April

Johnson & Johnson announced on Monday it will start deliveries of its single-dose vaccine to the EU from 19th April, following the vaccine’s regulatory approval by the EMA on 11th March.

READ MORE: Countries to receive Johnson and Johnson vaccines from mid April

In the next three months, around 2.5 million vaccine doses are expected in Austria, Der Standard newspaper reports.

Labor Minister Martin Kocher has also abolished the working time regulation for staff to accelerate the pace of vaccinations the Kronen Zeitung newspaper reports, meaning  hospital staff who are essential for vaccinations  can now also work outside of the statutory working hours. 

In Vienna people aged 75 and over will start being vaccinated in April as well as high-risk patients aged between 60 and 74. 

No more winter tyres

As of April 15th, the winter tyre requirement no longer applies. That means in April drivers can switch to summer tyres.

From November 1st until April 15th, all motorists in Austria must use winter tyres “in winter conditions”. More information is available here


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