Covid-19 tests will allow access to bars and restaurants for a shorter period of time from 1st September in Vienna, Mayor Michael Ludwig announced on Tuesday.
Antigen tests taken in a test centre or pharmacy will be valid for just 24 hours, while the PCR test validity will be reduce from 72 to 48 hours.
Tests are required to enter anywhere where the 3G rule applies in Austria, unless people have been vaccinated or recently recovered from the virus.
The changes will not apply to children aged under 12, who are not eligible to be vaccinated.
Why is the test rule being tightened?
While Austria was one of the most enthusiastic adopters of a widespread testing regime, the government is making the change in order to encourage people to be vaccinated rather than rely on tests.
People must show that they have tested negative, recovered from or been vaccinated against Covid-19 to access restaurants, bars and sporting and recreational facilities in Austria’s capital, so the move will make life harder for people who have not been vaccinated.
Vienna is considering stricter measures to turn the screws on the unvaccinated, including the so-called ‘1G’ rule which would restrict entry in bars, restaurants, nightclubs, hairdressers and gyms to the unvaccinated only.
Vienna officials, including health chief Peter Hacker, are in favour of this plan.
As at August 25th, Austrian federal authorities said they are in the process of considering such a plan.
Several Austrian states have indicated they are in favour of this idea, however have preferred a federal solution rather than going it alone.