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

Find out what's going on today in Austria with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Apricot trees are currently in bloom in the Wachau in Austria. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)
Apricot trees are currently in bloom in the Wachau in Austria. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Vaccine ‘turbo’ has started, says Chancellor

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said the “vaccination turbo” had started and Austria is on track to vaccinate everyone willing by the end of June on Tuesday, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports.

He says by the end of April, 33 percent of those over 16 years of age could be vaccinated, by the end of May 50 percent and by the end of June 75 percent.

Vaccination by company doctors will start in mid May, it reports, and it is possible vaccination could be opened up to all age groups at the same time. 

Vienna’s hard lockdown to end

As The Local reported yesterday, the hard lockdown will end in Vienna on May 3rd.

Shops and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen as well as museums and zoos. In addition, there will no longer be a mask requirement in public places. 

READ MORE: The measures have worked, Vienna to relax lockdown rules on May 3rd

Travel to become easier 

Travel to other countries should also be made much easier once Austria opens on 19th May, Der Standard newspaper reports. 

The quarantine requirement is to be dropped not only for tourists from most EU countries, but also for Austrians returning from these countries.

There will be exceptions for high incidence areas, which will be identified by the Ministry of Health based on corona traffic light of the EU health agency ECDC.

Seven-day incidence at 170

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 170.2, according to the AGES database.

The highest incidence is currently Vorarlberg (237.4), followed by Salzburg (188.4) and Tyrol (188.0). The value is lowest in Burgenland (100.9) and Lower Austria (121.8). Vienna, which ends its hard lockdown on May 3rd, is at 175.2.

Household energy prices have risen

The prices for household energy in Austria have risen, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper. The energy price index (EPI) calculated by the Austrian Energy Agency climbed by 5 percent within a year – the general rate of price increases, however, was 2 percent.

Compared to the previous month of February, energy prices rose by 2.5 percent, while the CPI rose by 1.1 percent. Fuel went up the most.

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Donauinselfest: What you need to know about Austria’s biggest open air festival

Austria has the largest free open-air festival in Europe, and the Donauinselfest is taking place this weekend. Here is what you need to know.

Donauinselfest: What you need to know about Austria's biggest open air festival

The Austrian Donauinselfest is known as the largest free open-air music festival in Europe, and it happens yearly on Vienna’s Danube island. The festival attracts around three million visitors over its three days of events and is starting on Friday in the Austrian capital.

The festival has been taking place yearly since 1983 on the 21.1-kilometre river island. This year, it has 14 different areas and 11 stages, according to the official website. Visitors can expect more than 600 hours of program.

READ ALSO: The best festivals and events to enjoy in Austria this summer

Here is what you need to know to enjoy the programme fully.

When and where is the festival?

The festival has an extensive range of events starting on Friday, June 24th, and lasting until Sunday, June 26th. It takes place on the island between the new Danube and the Danube rivers, known as the Donauinsel.

READ ALSO: 7 things to know about driving in Austria this summer

It is easily accessible via the U1 (Donauinsel station) and U6 (Handelskai station) metro and there are no parking spaces available near the festival site.

Admission to the event is free.

The festival is back after the pandemic

After two years of reduced capacity and many Covid-19 restrictions, the Donauinselfest is back to (almost) normal. There is no limit to the number of visitors, no requirement to show proof of vaccination or recovery from the disease, and no mask mandate.

However, the authorities have asked that people take “personal responsibility” as coronavirus infection numbers have been rising.

READ ALSO: Five of the best things to do in Vienna this summer

The organisers have requested people to get tested before visiting the vast festival, Vienna.at reported.

People gather on the shores of the Danube river, in Vienna during a hot sunny day and Danube Day on June 29, 2012. AFP PHOTO / ALEXANDER KLEIN

“We ask everyone who would like to visit the Donauinselfest this year to take a PCR or rapid test in advance and thus protect themselves and others. People with symptoms are not allowed to enter the festival grounds.”, said organiser Matthias Friedrich.

Though masks are not mandatory, they are recommended on-site if it is too full of people and no social distancing is possible. Besides, there is a masks requirement to all Donauinselfest workers in indoor areas.

Watch out for what you cannot bring

There is an extensive list of things that are not allowed on the festival site. For example, visitors are not allowed to take large bags and backpacks (“A3 format”, according to the website). However, a gym bag is not considered a backpack.

Animals, including dogs, are prohibited – except for guide dogs and service dogs.

You are also not allowed to bring umbrellas, alcoholic beverages, cans, glass bottles, or drones. The list of prohibited items includes “propaganda material”, spray bottles, whistles, large or bulky objects, bicycles and skateboards, stools and chairs, food and more.

Check out the complete list here.

Danube festival

Vienna’s “Danube-island” Festival will return this weekend. (Photo by DIETER NAGL / AFP)

READ ALSO: Forecast: Austria set for high temperatures and storms throughout weekend and beyond

You can – and should – bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as temperatures are expected to be around the 30Cs over the next few days.

What kind of music is there?

The festival has several stages and a broad programme selection. The bands are usually more regional, with a significant presence of Austrian, German, and Italian bands.

You can find all sorts of music, from pop to rock, rap, and techno. There are even tribute bands like Break Free, which will play Queen’s best signs on the rock stage.

The program includes other activities as well, such as poetry slam, art stages, sport areas, and even events for families and children.

You can check the official program here.

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