Austria: Masks to no longer be required in retail from July 22nd

Austria’s mandatory mask requirement in shops will be relaxed from July 22nd.

Austria: Masks to no longer be required in retail from July 22nd

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz made the announcement on Friday, July 9th. 

Masks will however still be required in hospitals, nursing homes, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and public transport. 

Austria had relaxed mask rules on July 1st to no longer require FFP2 masks, although this requirement was kept in place in hospitals and care facilities in Vienna. 

UPDATE: What are the current rules for masks in Austria?

Kurz said the relaxations were possible due to the vaccination campaign, which has picked up speed recently. 

In saying “everyone who is vaccinated is safe”, Kurz reminded those who were not yet vaccinated that “they have a choice between vaccination or infection”. 

Additionally, the vaccination roll-out in Austria is picking up speed and Kurz believes two thirds of the population will probably be vaccinated by the end of the summer, just in time for an expected rise in cases in the autumn.

An estimated 40 percent of Austrians are fully vaccinated. 

Authorities in several Austrian states have set up no appointment vaccination clinics, with jabs being offered at several sites. 

More information about no appointment vaccination can be found at the following link.

READ MORE: Several Austrian states open Covid vaccinations without appointments

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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.”