Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday

Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday
JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Austria with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Newspapers report Health Minister will resign this morning

Austria’s Health Minister Rudolf Anschober will announce his resignation today at 9:30 am, according to media reports. Confidants of the Minister of Health and Green MPs confirmed Anschober’s resignation  in talks with Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

The resignation is believed to be on the advice of his doctors.

Sigrid Pilz, the former Green member of the municipal council, is rumoured to be a possible successor.

Lockdown extended in Vienna and Lower Austria

As The Local reported yesterday, the lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria will be extended until 2nd May. The decision was taken due to Vienna’s hospitals reaching capacity. Burgenland is still waiting to make a decision on further lockdown. 

READ MORE: Vienna’s hard lockdown to be extended until May 2nd 

Hotel stays to fall by 20 percent in 2021 compared to 2020

Figures published by economic research institute Wifo on Monday predict there will be a 20 percent reduction in overnight hotel stays in 2021 compared to 2020, Der Standard newspaper reports.

There is a particularly dramatic situation in the hotel industry in Vienna due to a lack of international guests. This forecast is based on the assumption the ban on tourist accommodation will end in mid May and travel from Austria’s most important markets will be possible in June. 

Winter tourism season in 2021 was a ‘total failure’

The winter tourism season in Austria was a “total failure”, according to economic research institute Wifo, Der Standard newspaper reports. Economists say Vienna and western Austria were hardest hit, and income from guests fell by 93.5 percent compared to the time before the corona pandemic, it estimates.

In Vienna overnight stays and sales fell by 94.4 percent , in Salzburg, Tyrol and Vorarlberg by an average of 97.4 percent. The dramatic drop in overnight stays is likely to lead to a wave of bankruptcies, Wifo tourism expert Oliver Fritz told the Ö1 broadcaster. 

Government’s ‘Comeback plan’ light on detail, media reports

Austria’s “comeback plan” has met with lukewarm reactions from the Austrian media, with other outlets joining Der Standard newspaper in saying the government mainly delivered familiar announcements when presenting its master plan for the country to come out of the pandemic crisis.

Investments are planned for ​​digitisation and green projects as well as in the labor market. The outlet says the EU development fund will be used to fund the plans, but it is not known where the  €3.5 billion from Brussels will go. 

Could EU fund save MAN Steyr plant?

The Wiener Zietung newspaper features an interview with Wifo economist Michael Peneder about the MAN Steyr plant and whether the government should intervene to save 8,000 jobs at risk. He says he sees no reason for the MAN plant  in Steyr to become a state holding. He says the plant should rely on subsidies rather than state participation, and suggests the EU development fund may give further options. The prerequisite is to find private investors to run the company, he concludes.

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Two-tier justice system fears

Plans to reform the Austrian Penal Code have sparked fears of a two-tier justice system, according to Der Standard newspaper. The Association of Austrian Public Prosecutors (StAV) President Cornelia Koller is quoted saying the reform proposal would in many cases make it difficult or impossible to successfully investigate criminal offenses


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