Austria imposes stricter penalties for breaching green pass rules

Austria has put in place stricter penalties for those breaching the 3G Rule, with venues liable for up to €3,600 and guests liable for up to €500.

Austria imposes stricter penalties for breaching green pass rules
A security guard checks a vaccine pass outside a nightclub. Photo: Sylvain THOMAS / AFP

The 3G Rule refers to ‘Getestet, Geimpft, Genesen’ (Tested, Vaccinated, Recovered) and describes the three ways someone can provide evidence they are immune to the virus.

Anyone wanting to visit restaurants, hotels and take part in events, get a haircut, etc, in Austria needs to do so pursuant to the so-called ‘3G Rule’. 

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

This means they will need to show evidence of vaccination, a negative test or having recently recovered from the virus. 

Fines of €90 can be issued on the spot

As of Thursday, July 15th, police will be able to issue on-the-spot fines for breaching the rules. 

This includes people who have forged their 3G credentials – i.e. by using a forged certificate or by using that of another – or those who are not compliant with the 3G Rule but are in an area where it is required. 

Previously, it was possible to fine someone for not complying with the rule, however this needed to take place through an administrative procedure which was time intensive.

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

Now fines can be issued immediately. 

Anyone who is not complying with the rule can be fined, regardless of whether they are an Austrian citizen, a resident or a tourist. 

Under the rule, anyone “failing to provide evidence of a low epidemiological risk” is liable for a fine of €90. 

Failing to wear an appropriate mask properly in an area where it is required will also result in fines of €90. 

Guests can be fined up to €500 for more significant breaches, however this is only through a court procedure. 

Bars and restaurants face fines of up to €3,600 for failing to ensure the 3G rule is being upheld, i.e. by failing to check green passes or allowing people who do not have a valid 3G pass to get a test. 

Rise in infections in bars and restaurants

Austrian authorities said they were concerned to make sure that people were complying with the rules in bars and restaurants. 

Evidence shows that infections are on the rise in hospitality venues. 

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said there could be no reopening without adherence to the 3G rule. 

“We worked hard together to create the openings. The cornerstone of this relaxation was from the start the 3G certificate,” Mückstein emphasised.

We need “all businesses and companies to monitor compliance with the 3G regulation particularly thoroughly in order to prevent a further increase in the number of infections as far as possible.” 

Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger said people needed to comply with the rules. 

“We will do everything we can to ensure that the access rules in night-time catering, as well as in all other catering establishments, are complied with across the board. It is in the interest of night-time catering and its guests that these rules are taken seriously,” she said.

“This serves to protect everyone and helps that we don’t need any further protective measures. With the Green Check application, on-site checks can be carried out quickly and efficiently”.

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‘Decomposing smell’: Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

Austria's police department said they were called to an apartment complex in Vienna after a person was concerned about a "smell of decomposition".

'Decomposing smell': Austrian police called due to smelly shoes

This week, the Viennese police department started a weekly ‘series’ of sharing interesting stories on their social media accounts

Calling the series ‘Misunderstanding Wednesday’ (Missverständnismittwoch), the very first post is about a call they received to an apartment complex after a concerned citizen complained to emergency services about a “smell of decomposition in the staircase”.

READ ALSO: Stephansdom: Vienna woken up after hacker sets church bells to ring at 2am

The alleged corpse, it turns out, was just the neighbour’s smelly shoes which were left in the building corridor, in front of their apartment.

The police didn’t say when exactly the incident took place.

“When our colleagues are called because of the ‘smell of decomposition in the staircase’… and notice that the stunk is from the neighbour’s shoes which were left in front of the apartment door”, the official Twitter account of the Vienna police department reads.

‘When in doubt it is an emergency’

The authorities were light-hearted about the misunderstanding, even sharing a “meme-like” picture on their social media accounts, saying “some missions turn out to be different than initially assumed”.

READ ALSO: Austrian police warn public about new ‘fake cops’ scam

However, they reiterated that the misunderstandings should not deter people from calling 133, the emergency police number. They added that in case of emergencies and even if you are not sure, the authorities should be called and they will assist you.

“Note: in case of doubt, it is an emergency”, the Vienna police department says. “Never be afraid to dial the emergency number.”