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Austria announces further easing of coronavirus measures in June and July

Austria will relax several coronavirus measures from in June and July including rules for masks, weddings, eating out and curfews. Here's what you need to know.

Restrictions on the number of people who can meet in a restaurant will be relaxed. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
Restrictions on the number of people who can meet in a restaurant will be relaxed. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
 
Austria has announced it will take steps to further relax existing measures from June 10th and then July 1st, with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announcing he will keep the promise he made that there would be a “return to normal” in the summer.

Kurz said the progress in the vaccination campaign meant there was an “ideal basis” for the next opening steps.

 
Gatherings
 
From July 1st the group restrictions for celebrations such as weddings and birthdays will no longer apply. Currently, food and drink may not be served at weddings and a maximum of 50 people are allowed to attend. However, there will be obligation to notify the authorities for gatherings of 100 guests or more and to get authorisation for gatherings of 500 or more people. 
 

Masks

From June 10th, the mask mandate will be relaxed for outdoor areas for people who have been vaccinated, have tested negative all those who have recently recovered from the virus.

Masks have been required in outdoor areas where the mandatory two-metre distance has been difficult to maintain, for example at protests or in public spaces where large amounts of people congregate.

The mask requirement will remain in retail, schools and on public transport for the time being. Discussions are ongoing over whether the FFP2 mask requirement can be replaced by mouth and nose protection.
 
 
Curfew
 
The curfew will be moved from 10pm to midnight on June 10th. This means people in Austria will be able to watch European Football Championship games in bars from June 11th. 
 
Retail, leisure and cultural venues
 
On June 10th the maximum occupancy of cultural venues will be increased to 75 percent (previously it was 50 percent). The ten-square-meter rule per person now applies in the leisure, sports and wellness sectors, allowing more people to use facilities at once. In retail, too, will be reduced from 20 to ten square meters per customer, meaning more people can enter shops.
From July 1st full occupancy at cultural and sporting venues will be possible both inside and outside.
 
 
Border rules
 
Pre-travel clearance will only be required if you are coming from a high-risk area. Discussions are ongoing over how to reduce traffic jams at Austria’s border crossings.
 
 
Restaurants

 
From June 10th, the mandatory closing time for restaurants will be increase from 10pm to midnight.
In addition, the number of people who may sit at a table will be doubled from four to eight people inside and up to 16 adults outdoors in the restaurant.
 
From July 1st there will also no longer any be any restrictions on group sizes in restaurants, pubs and cafes, but you will still have to provide evidence of having been vaccinated, recovered from or tested negative for Covid-19 to go there.

READ MORE: ‘3G Rule’: How to prove you have been vaccinated, tested or recovered from Covid in Austria

Clubs 

Discos and clubs are expected to reopen from 1st July. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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