Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has announced new regulations in Austria regarding the wearing of masks in public spaces, with separate rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
From Wednesday next week (September 15), FFP2 masks will be mandatory in all non-essential retail stores for unvaccinated people.
For those that are vaccinated, masks do not have to be worn although they are still advised to wear an FFP2 mask.
In supermarkets and on public transport, everyone will have to wear an FFP2 mask and cloth masks will no longer be allowed.
The new rules were announced by Kurz earlier this week as part of a raft of Covid-19 measures for the autumn.
What are the fines for breaching the rules?
It is expected that the current rules on breaching the mask mandate will apply, which means people could be fined €90 for breaching the mask mandate.
In some cases, this can then lead to criminal proceedings and a fine of €500 or three-weeks in prison.
However, questions remain about how the new rules will be enforced and who is responsible for monitoring the wearing of masks in retail.
What is the reaction to the new measures?
The Austrian Council of Shopping Centres (ACSP) has spoken out against the new rules saying it is not their job to police customers.
Rainer Will, ACSP Chairman, said: “We cannot control it, we do not want to control it, it is impossible.”
According to Der Standard, the federal government has said the issue of compliance would fall under the jurisdiction of police in the form of random checks.
But Hermann Greylinger from the police union FSG said it is not the job of the police to monitor who is wearing an FFP2 mask in shops.
However, the Ministry of the Interior and the Vienna State Police Directorate issued a joint statement to say the police will randomly check compliance with the measures at the request of the health authorities.