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Austria to relax mask rules and open nightclubs in July

Austria said Thursday that partygoers will be allowed to hit the dance floor again in July as nightclubs reopen after a long Covid-induced pause, in line with a broader easing of measures.

Austria to relax mask rules and open nightclubs in July
A discarded FFP2 mask on the ground. Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE / AFP

Medical-grade masks also no longer need to be worn anywhere except for hospitals and nursing homes. 

FFP2 mask rules for shops and restaurants will be relaxed.

While FFP2 masks will still be required in hospitals and nursing homes, they will be dropped in all other areas where the 3G rule applies. 

Non-medical grade mouth protection, i.e. cotton masks or scarves, will again be sufficient in indoor areas such as bars, restaurants and in public transport. The government indicated it will make a concrete announcement at a later date. 

No masks of any kind will be required in outdoor areas, regardless of the size of the event. 

“The situation is much better than expected,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told reporters, although he cautioned that people should get the vaccine and not become “overconfident” until they are immunised.

‘Fun is back’: Austria announces further opening steps

Crowd numbers will no longer be restricted at events, where people do not need to keep their distance or wear face coverings anymore.

A midnight curfew will also be lifted from July 1, allowing for nightlife to return.

The only rule that remains is that those who attend an event, go to a nightclub or eat in a restaurant must show proof of either having received at least one vaccination shot more than three weeks ago, recovered from coronavirus or tested negative.

Nightclubs closed in March last year as the pandemic spread through Europe and were among the few venues that mostly stayed shut last summer during a lull in new cases.

The Alpine EU member of almost nine million people has reported more than 649,000 cases to date with some 10,670 deaths.

Almost half of the population has already received at least one shot, while a quarter is fully vaccinated.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.

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