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

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

Tulips blossom in front of the Karlskirche in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Tulips blossom in front of the Karlskirche in Vienna. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Widespread refusal of AstraZeneca vaccine, according to survey

A new survey by opinion pollster Peter Hajek suggests 73 percent of Austrians would refuse the AstraZeneca vaccine, amid doubts about the vaccine’s safety, the Kurier newspaper reports.

Around 31 percent would also refuse the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for similar reasons.

Around 27 percent consider it unlikely that they would get vaccinated against Covid-19 at all, with the willingness to get vaccinated is rising.

Explained: Can you choose which Covid: 19 vaccine to take in Austria? 

No more testing requirement for vaccinated people 

Vaccinated people will no longer need access tests after Austria opens up on May 19th. Legislation will be passed to this effect by The National Council later today, broadcaster ORF reports.

The broadcaster reports exemption is expected to come three weeks after the first jab.

UPDATED: How to register for the Covid-19 vaccine in your Austrian state

Over 50s can book vaccine appointments in Lower Austria

From today, people aged over 50 can register for a vaccine appointment in Lower Austria, broadcaster ORF reports. On Wednesday it will be the turn of everyone from the age of 40, and on Friday everyone from the age of 30. Next Monday, everyone over the age of 16 will be able to book an appointment.

READ MORE: Lower Austria first state to start vaccinating all members of the public

READ MORE: Covid-19 vaccines in Austria: When will I be able to book my appointment?

Vienna and Lower Austria end hard lockdown 

Vienna and Lower Austria have ended their hard lockdown on Monday, meaning the whole of Austria is under the same restrictions, with the exception of Vorarlberg, which has opened up restaurants and events.

The “hard” lockdown in Vienna and Lower Austria lasted more than a month. Now people in Vienna and Lower Austria can leave their homes without a reason and two households with a maximum of four adults can meet again.

Non-essential retail, hairdressers and other “body-hugging” services are also open again. Museums and zoos have opened up and there will be no outdoor mask requirement, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Company vaccines begin

Around 10,000 companies in Vienna have started vaccinations against the coronavirus today due to a collaboration between the City of Vienna and the Vienna Chamber of Commerce.

The companies involved were able to register here, nominate a vaccination coordinator and assign their employees to five different risk categories.

First are employees at increased risk of infection such as hospital cleaning staff, and people forced to travel for work, then employees with contact with members of the public, such as supermarket staff.

Workers in offices without “structural protection” are next and last are people who are not at risk from their work, broadcaster ORF reports. 

Seven day incidence at 154.5

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 154.5 according to the AGES database. The number is still highest in Vorarlberg (235.4) and lowest in Burgenland (98.2).

Ibiza scandal inquiry continues

 The parliamentary inquiry into the 2019 Ibiza scandal is set to continue this week, centering around corruption allegations against former deputy chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache and others, according to the Kronen Zeitung.

Public prosecutors have reportedly not analysed the 19,000 private chats between Strache and members of the FPO due to a lack of resources. The OVP party has criticised the delays in the investigation.

READ MORE: Austrian far-right leader resigns over ‘Ibiza affair’

Slovakia PM to visit Vienna

Slovakia PM Heger is expected to visit Vienna on Tuesday to discuss bilateral relations with Austria as well as Austrian-Czech-Slovak relations, Die Presse reports.

The paper notes the main topic of contention between Heger and Austrian Chancellor Kurz is likely to be Austria’s desire to stop the construction of new nuclear power stations in neighbouring states.

Budget prospects ‘improving’ according to finance minister

Finance Minister Bluemel sees initial improvement in Austria’s state budget prospects, according to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper. Although revenue from tax and other sources is down 17 percent compared to the same time last year and state spending remains high due to COVID-19 aid programmes, Bluemel emphasised that consumption is rising, indicating increased consumer confidence.

ATX stock market  showing upswing

Austrian stock market ATX has been showing steady improvement since November, despite the pandemic’s effects on the general economy Der Standard newspaper reports. The upswing was initially based on the promise of coronavirus vaccines but now increasingly driven by a desire for high-dividend shares in a low-interest market.

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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, 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.