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.
Published: 28 May 2021 13:09 CEST Updated: 1 June 2021 16:18 CEST
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At Planai ski resort in Schladming, Styria, Director Georg Bliem said they aim to keep the day ticket price under €70, but has also set up an energy task force to find cost-saving measures for this year.
Suggestions for Planai include narrower slopes, reduced snowmaking capabilities, shorter cable car operating times and even a delayed start to the season.
Electricity costs at Planaibahn (the resort’s ski lift and gondola operator) were already at €3 million before the current energy crisis, according to the Kronen Zeitung.
Then there are hospitality businesses and hotels at ski resorts that are also being hit by rising costs.
As a result, the Kurier reports that room prices in overnight accommodation could increase by a further 15 percent in winter, and many people will no longer be able to afford skiing holidays.
Rising prices are just one element of the energy crisis as there are fears that Austria will not have enough gas for the coming winter season – mostly due to the war in Ukraine.
In March, Austria activated the early warning system – which is the first level of a three-step emergency plan – for the country’s gas supply. If it reaches step three (emergency level), energy control measures will be put in place across the country.
Austria’s goal is to reach 80 percent capacity by November 1st in order to have a safety reserve.
However, Energy Minister Leonore Gewessler already appealed to businesses and households in July to start saving energy where possible.
Ever since Austria (and Europe) started opening up after Covid-19 lockdowns, the hospitality and tourism industries have been struggling to find staff.
In fact, shortly before the start of the summer season in Austria, there were 30,000 open job vacancies in the tourism sector. And the Wiener Zeitung recently reported on how restaurants in Vienna are struggling to keep up with customer demand due to staff shortages.