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COVID-19

UPDATED: What rules do children need to follow for Austria’s Covid pass?

We've received several questions from readers asking what applies to their children when living in or visiting Austria, particularly around the Covid pass requirement for tourist areas and restaurants.

Teenager receives Covid vaccine from nurse
Some countries are only offering under-18s a single dose of the Covid vaccine. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell / Pool / AFP

My teenager has only received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, following the government advice in our country. Will Austria consider him to be fully vaccinated? If not, can he travel to Austria?

We have received several questions like the one above. There are two sets of rules around vaccination proof: the rules for entering the country and the rules for accessing certain services and locations once in Austria.

In order to enter Austria, everyone over the age of 12 is supposed to show proof of what’s called 3G in Austria: full vaccination against Covid-19, recovery or a valid negative test. Anyone under 12 is exempt from the 3G requirement

Vaccination proof is only considered valid for entry to Austria from 14 days after the second dose, or 21 days after one dose of Johnson & Johnson.

While some countries are not vaccinating younger people, children aged between 12 and 18 are able to enter the country without needing to quarantine on arrival even if they are not vaccinated or recovered, as long as they have a negative test result and are accompanied by an adult who does have the necessary proof. 

PCR tests are valid for 72 hours and antigen tests are valid for 24 hours for entry. 

READ ALSO: Travel: What are Austria’s current entry and Covid rules

So getting into the country shouldn’t be a problem for teenagers who aren’t fully vaccinated, as long as the adults they travel with meet the entry criteria.

But once you’re in Austria, the rules vary.

Since March 23rd, the mask mandate has been back in force. This means an FFP2 mask is required for all public indoor spaces, such as cafes, restaurants, hotels, public transport, supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Austria brings back mandatory FFP2 masks indoors as Covid cases soar

However – and this is where it becomes confusing – some businesses can choose whether to enforce the mask mandate or implement 3G rules. If they choose the latter, then people have to show proof of a negative test, vaccination or recovery to enter.

The 3G criteria are judged on Austrian rules, and it applies from the age of 12 (six in Vienna). This means that a teenager won’t be considered as fully vaccinated if they have only received one dose of a Covid vaccine other than Johnson & Johnson.

There are more variations to the rules as well.

Covid-19 vaccines that are valid for entry into Austria are BioNtech/Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Covaxin, Covovax, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Nuvaxovid (Novavax),Sinovac and Sinopharm. You can find out more here.

But for the domestic 3G rule, only EMA-approved vaccines are considered valid. These are BioNTech/Pfizer, Novavax, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

This means vaccinations like Sputnik and Sinovac – that are still undergoing the process of EMA approval – are not valid. You can find an overview of all approved EMA vaccines here.

So if your teenager is not considered fully vaccinated under the Austrian rules, they will need to take regular tests to access areas requiring 3G proof.

READ NEXT: Reader question: I had a non-EMA approved vaccine, how do I get 2G proof in Austria?

The good news is that these are offered for free to both tourists and locals in many areas (usually in hotels and at testing centres), and you don’t need to quarantine while waiting for your test result. 

You can’t enter areas requiring 3G without a valid result, so if using the PCR tests which take a longer time to analyse, you’ll need to plan ahead a bit. You will of course need to quarantine if you test positive or if you experience Covid symptoms and are awaiting a test result.

From April, everyone will be entitled to five antigen and five PCR tests per month. It is as yet unclear whether tourists will also be entitled to free tests. We’ve reached out to the Austrian government for clarification on this matter. 

For the full entry rules to Austria, visit the Federal Government website here.

Got a question about life in Austria? Contact our editorial team at [email protected] and we will do our best to help you.

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COVID-19 ALERT

‘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.

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