A recent fact check by APA found that ongoing coronavirus measures in Austria are not so different to other parts of the world, with some European countries operating under similar conditions.
So, which measures are being criticised – and are the critics right?
One of the biggest complaints appearing on social media is that Austria currently has a mask requirement for entering places like shops and hospitality venues, while at the same time having a legal ban on wearing masks.
The ban on wearing a mask was passed in parliament in 2002 as an amendment to the Assembly Act and applies to demonstrations, universities, public transportation and courts. This was extended in 2017 to include meetings.
However, APA found that several other European countries have a similar ban on masks while currently enforcing coronavirus measures that include wearing a mask.
Examples include Italy, which has a ban on masks in public places without good reason, some Swiss cantons (such as Basel-Stadt) where mask wearing is prohibited at public events and gatherings, and a ban on masks at public events and meetings in Germany.
In fact, many countries across Europe have some sort of prohibition against wearing a mask, including the use of religious veils, such as France, the Netherlands and Belgium, but there are exceptions for health reasons.
All of these countries currently have a requirement for people to wear masks in public as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, which means this criticism of Austria as the only country with contradictory rules is false.
Another criticism doing the rounds on social media is that Austria is the only country with nationwide restrictions and the requirement for negative coronavirus tests to access places like bars and restaurants.
Again, APA found this to be false and that nationwide restrictions and entry tests are part of the strategy of other countries in Europe.
In Germany, people need to have a negative test, proof of vaccination or recovery to access hospitality business and strict hygiene requirements continue – like Austria’s 3G (vaccination, recovery, tested) system.
And in the Czech Republic, similar rules apply for hospitality, events and body-hugging services, while in Italy, the EU’s Green Passport scheme for travel might also be used for people attending events.
The APA fact check shows that Austria’s measures are actually consistent with neighbouring countries and elsewhere in Europe.