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COVID-19

What are the Covid-19 rules and restrictions in Vienna now?

The Covid-19 rules around face masks and entry to venues like bars, restaurants and museums are different in Vienna compared to the rest of the country. Here's an overview of the restrictions to be aware of.

Keys and an FFP2 face mask hanging on a door handle
Keys, phone, mask. FFP2 masks are mandated in more locations in Vienna than the rest of the country. Photo: Silke/Unsplash

3G, 2G and 2.5G

Nationwide, Austria uses the 3G rule. You can enter certain venues by showing proof you fit into one of the following categories: Geimpft (vaccinated), Genesen (recovered), Getestet (tested negative).

Proof of vaccination includes either Austria’s own Grüner pass, or an EU digital Covid-19 pass (if you have an EU pass with a QR code but live in Austria, you will be able to upload this to your Grüner pass) or other equivalent. 

Proof of testing negative is defined differently in Vienna compared to the rest of the country.

Firstly, antigen tests are not considered as valid proof for entry tests. This means you need to test negative using a PCR test, which is then valid for 48 hours (compared to 72 hours in the rest of the country). This means that many places in Vienna effectively use 2.5G (proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative PCR test).

And you should also be aware that Vienna has stricter rules for unvaccinated people in place.

Children aged under 6 do not have to follow 2G or 2.5G entry restrictions, and do not need to wear a mask even where this is mandated for other people.

Visiting restaurants, bars and cafes

There are no limits on opening times for food and drink venues.

In Vienna, the 2.5G rule applies for entry to restaurants and gastronomy during the day time.

There are stricter rules for evening dining and drinking, and slightly looser restrictions for take-away food (see below).

Evening dining and bars

Separate rules apply to what’s known as ‘night gastronomy’ (Nachtgastronomie in German). There is no legal definition for this, but it generally covers dining and drinking at venues that do their main business during the evening and night time, as well as night clubs.

Vienna has implemented a 2G rule for these venues, meaning that a negative test is not sufficient for entry, not even a PCR test. This is in place until at least the end of October.

Night gastronomy venues also need to collect customers’ data; they will usually do this using a registration app when you arrive.

For employees in these businesses, the 2.5G rule applies, meaning a negative PCR test is accepted.

Take-away food

You can enter restaurants and cafes to pick up food to takeaway without proof of 3G. This also applies to street food stalls, for example.

However, you need to wear an FPP2 mask at all times while inside the venue.

Visiting cultural venues (theatres, museums, libraries etc)

In venues like theatres and cinemas, the 3G rules and the usual restrictions on events apply. 

In other cultural venues, like galleries, museums and libraries, there is no 3G rule. Everyone needs to wear an FFP2 mask in these venues, regardless of their vaccination status. 

Shops and supermarkets

There is no limit on opening hours for shops, and you do not need proof of 3G to enter.

At supermarkets and pharmacies, everyone must wear a FFP2 mask, regardless of vaccination status.

In Vienna, compulsory FFP2 mask wearing also applies to all other retail shops, regardless of your vaccination status.

Events

The 2.5G rule applies to events for over 25 people, and Vienna also has a 2G rule for events over 500 people until at least the end of October. For employees at large events, the 2.5G rule applies, meaning a negative PCR test is accepted.

Events for over 100 people must collect attendees’ contact data, and events for over 500 people must receive official authorisation.

Hairdressers and beauty salons

For this kind of service where you need to have a close proximity to staff (think nail salons and masseurs as well), the 3G rule applies nationwide. But as in other situations, this is effectively the 2.5G rule in Vienna, because only PCR tests are accepted in the capital.

Face masks

In any situations where wearing a face mask is mandatory, you should wear an FFP2 mask, not a cloth mask or ordinary surgical mask.

You need to wear an FFP2 mask at all times while using public transport, regardless of your vaccination status.

You also need to wear an FFP2 mask inside all retail shops (note that this rule is stricter than elsewhere in Austria) and in certain areas at cultural institutions like museums (look out for signs).

Where can I find out more?

We do our best to keep this page regularly updated; you can see when it was last fact-checked and updated by checking the date in the top corner.

We also recommend the following websites:

If you have questions about the Covid-19 situation in Austria, please contact our editorial team at [email protected] or submit them using the form below and we will do our best to help.

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COVID-19 STATS

UPDATED: Will Austria bring back face mask mandate to battle rising Covid cases?

As the number of Covid-19 infections and related hospitalisations rises in Austria, many are asking for new measures to be adopted, especially a mask mandate.

UPDATED: Will Austria bring back face mask mandate to battle rising Covid cases?

Austria has seen an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in recent weeks, with 2,428 people currently hospitalised with the disease, including 118 in intensive care (ICU).

One month ago, just 871 people were being treated in hospital with an additional 47 people in ICU.

The Austrian Federal Government has now said they will make a decision on bringing back the mask mandate by October 23rd. Last week, the National Covid Crisis Coordination (GECKO) recommended wearing FFP2 masks.

According to ORF, the mask mandate could return for public indoor spaces, public transport and in the gastronomy sector. The Austrian Trade Association has already rejected the suggestion saying it would be the “last straw” for employees as the industry struggles with staff shortages.

What are the Covid-19 experts predicting for the autumn and winter season?

The latest report from the Covid prognosis consortium in Austria predicts a rise in hospitalisations in October. 

In a “worst case” scenario, as many as 3,428 people who tested positive would need a hospital bed on October 19th, the latest forecast said. A “further significant increase in hospitalisation is to be expected, with the Covid population in the ICU area remaining almost unchanged”, the experts summarised.

READ ALSO: Reader question: When should I get a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in Austria?

In comparison, last autumn, the country was on an Austria-wide lockdown and on November 28th, there were 2,767 infected persons hospitalised.

However, the experts said there is a very high proportion of incidental findings among hospitalised patients. Only around 22 percent of those presently hospitalised were admitted with Covid-19 symptoms. In the intensive care unit, this proportion was only 12 percent – most people go to the hospital for other reasons and find they test positive for the coronavirus.

Calls for pandemic-containment measures

Still, the consortium warned about staff shortages in hospitals. “The increased infection pressure is currently also translating into above-average unplanned staff absences”, it wrote.

READ ALSO: From inflation to Covid: What to expect from Austria’s winter season

In view of the situation in the hospitals, experts are calling for the reintroduction of mandatory masks.

Virologist Dorothee von Laer from the Medical University of Innsbruck criticised the government, saying authorities were once again “too late” to take measures.

“We are now at the last push to reintroduce compulsory masks indoors so that the omicron wave from spring is not repeated,” the virologist told Kurier.

“How much longer to watch Covid go through the roof? Winter is still long, and hospitals are getting crowded with decreasing staff and increasing occupancy. Mask up! #CovidIsntOver,” Thomas Czypionka, Head of IHS Health Economics and Health Policy of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), said on Twitter.

Currently, people in Austria only need to wear masks in the health sector area, such as in hospitals and elderly care homes. However, the capital Vienna has stricter rules, imposing a mask mandate on public transport.

Only in a ‘state of emergency’

Speaking to public broadcaster ORF, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) ruled out the immediate introduction of a mask mandate.

He said stricter rules would only be imposed if the situation in hospitals “escalates, becomes threatening, and a state of emergency occurs”.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria

At the same time, he reiterated that the pandemic is not over and that when the government removed the mask mandate, it also announced the rules could be brought back in autumn.

“When the mask requirement was abolished in grocery stores and public transport in the spring, I already said: If it should become necessary again in the autumn, the general mask requirement will be reintroduced there”, he said.

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