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

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

   Hikers take a break on the top of the Gaislachkogl Mountain in Tyrol (VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)
Hikers take a break on the top of the Gaislachkogl Mountain in Tyrol (VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP)

Compulsory departure test for Tyrol ends on May 5th

The compulsory exit test, which has been in effect for North Tyrol since March 31st and for East Tyrol since April 15th, will end on Wednesday, at midnight, Der Standard newspaper reports.

The easing is due to the stable overall coronavirus situation and the declining number of infections, the situation in the hospitals and, above all, the considerable decline in the escape mutant B1.1.7.-E484K.

“There are currently 238 cases of the variant,  a decrease of 716 cases within the last 13 days,” said Elmar Rizzoli, head of the Corona task force.

Tyrol’s Health Councillor resigns

Two Tyrolean councillors resigned on Tuesday, Economic Councilor Patrizia Zoller-Frischauf and Health Councilor Bernhard Tilg (both ÖVP), Der Standard newspaper reports.

In the course of the corona pandemic, Tilg gained notoriety with an appearance on the ZiB 2 programme,  where he repeatedly said that Tyrol had “done everything right” in the course of the Ischgl case.

Tilg says he wants to return to his original job as a professor of medical technology and medical informatics and turn his back on politics.

Opening steps for Vienna decided on Thursday

Vienna’s Mayor Michael Ludwig will consult with experts on Thursday and announce how to proceed with the opening steps, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports.

Whether Vienna, like other federal states, will open all areas – from gastronomy to events – at the same time from May 19th remains “highly questionable” the paper reports.

It is rumoured restaurants in the capital will only open inside at the end of May, the paper says.

More details on Green Pass

Austria’s Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said the EU-wide Green Pass system could be available in Austria as early as June 4th, Wiener Zietung reports.

This means Austria will also wait to launch its digital certificate on the same date.

The newspaper says the government is still deciding whether to include those vaccinated with the Sputnik vaccine, which has been used in Serbia and Hungary, in those exempt from testing.

The paper also reports anyone who skips their second vaccination will be marked “unvaccinated” in the Green Pass and will lose their privileges. 

EU Commission wants to allow vaccinated people to travel 

The EU Commission has suggested lifting the restrictions on entry into the EU for fully vaccinated people from both inside the EU and for third country nationals, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports. 

The paper reports, this does not mean that people do not have to meet any requirements such as mandatory testing or quarantine – but if such rules do not apply to citizens of the EU country, then they should not apply to third-country nationals either.

Seven day incidence at 140.5

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 140.5 according to the AGES database. The number is still highest in Vorarlberg (225.1) and Tyrol (172.6). The value is lowest in Burgenland (83.5) and Lower Austria (91.8).

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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 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.