2G and stricter mask rules: New Covid restrictions in Vienna from Friday

From Friday, Covid-19 restrictions will be tightened in Vienna. Here’s what you need to know.

A woman shops in an FFP2 mask in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
A woman shops in an FFP2 mask in Vienna. Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP

As Covid-19 cases remain high in Vienna, Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) has announced new rules for autumn.

Starting from Friday October 1st, there will be tougher restrictions for unvaccinated people and a blanket FFP2 mask requirement for customers in all shops.

The new rules will set Vienna apart from the rest of the country again, which Ludwig last week said is an attempt to improve the vaccination rate ahead of the winter and provide clarity for residents.

Here’s an overview of the Covid-19 rules in Vienna from October 1st.

Bars and late night gastronomy

There will be a 2-G rule for entering bars and late night gastronomy venues. This means only people that are vaccinated or recovered will be allowed access.

For staff, there will be a 2.5-G rule (vaccinated, recovered or negative PCR test).

Negative antigen tests will no longer be accepted for customers or staff.

Events and gatherings

Events and gatherings of more than 500 people will also be subject to the 2-G rule – including staff.

This applies to both indoor and outdoor events, as well as events with designated seating, such as the State Opera and the Burgtheater.

READ MORE: What are the rules for entering Austria right now?

Antigen tests

In places where the 3-G rule (vaccinated, recovered or negative test) was previously in place, antigen tests are no longer valid proof. This includes places like cafes and restaurants.

Only negative PCR tests are allowed.

FFP2 masks in retail

In all shops in Vienna, customers have to wear an FFP2 mask. Employees can wear cloth nose and mouth protection if they choose to.

Covid-19 rules in Vienna

The new rules will initially be in place for one month and will only apply to people aged 12 and over. This means antigen tests are still valid for children.

Ludwig is also pushing for the 2-G rule in all workplaces, but this would have to be mandated by the Federal Government.

The Kurier reports that Ludwig has rejected accusations that the rules in the capital are too strict. 

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‘The pandemic is not over’: Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria's capital has decided to keep mandatory FFP2 masks in public transport but is dropping them in supermarkets.

'The pandemic is not over': Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria’s capital Vienna will still have mandatory usage of FFP2 masks even if the federal government is dropping the requirement in the rest of the country.

It will still be mandatory in Vienna to wear masks when public transport, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals, SPÖ Mayor Michael Ludwig announced this Tuesday.

People no longer will need to wear masks in supermarkets and other essential trade, though. The decision was taken after a meeting with the city crisis committee and health authorities, according to the mayor.

“The pandemic is not over yet. We will remain on the consistent and safe path”, Ludwig said.

Earlier this Tuesday, Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) had announced the country would “pause” mask requirements from June 1st in all but health establishments during the summer months, as reported.

READ ALSO: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

Rauch justified the decision by saying that the coronavirus numbers, both of new infections and of hospitalised people, have significantly dropped and maintained a downwards trend for weeks.

“The number of new infections has fallen, as well as the number of people in hospitals due to Covid-19, for several weeks now. This is good news”, he said.

Since the last major easing step in mid-April, the FFP2 obligation has only been in force in enclosed spaces of hospitals and homes, public transport and taxis, in the customer area of vital trade, in party traffic of administrative authorities and in institutions for the practice of religion outside trade fairs.

However, the federal government sets out the minimum standard for the country, but the different states may adopt stricter measures. Vienna has often kept tougher regulations during the pandemic, including a more extended period when only vaccinated or recovered people were allowed in bars and restaurants.

Vaccination campaign

The Viennese mayor also commented on the suspended vaccine mandate law, stating that vaccination protects and the city would have a “corresponding vaccination campaign soon”.

Ludwig added that he would demand the same from the federal government. “All of this is done to protect the health of the Viennese population”, he said.

Austria this Tuesday reported 2,177 new coronavirus infections after 185,230 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry. Currently, there are 596 people hospitalised with Covid-19 and 57 in intensive care units.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,607 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.