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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Streetin Graz on a grey day
What's going on in Austria today? We summarise the need-to-know news stories. Photo: Quarritsch Photography/Unsplash
Find out what's going on in Austria on Friday, with The Local's short roundup of today's news.

Austria to send letter to every unvaccinated person

Everyone resident over the age of 12 in Austria who has not yet received the Covid-19 vaccination will receive a letter informing them of the higher risk they face of serious illness if they catch the virus. All parties, except the Freedom Party (FPÖ) which has been openly anti-vaccination, voted in favour of this on Thursday, and it will be social insurance companies who send the letters.

The letter will also remind people that it is free to get a Covid-19 vaccination in Austria. Previously, this was only guaranteed until December 31st, but this has now been extended to at least June 30th, 2022 as the pandemic continues to have a serious affect on the Austrian population and health sector.

Police suspect illegal bonfire caused major forest blaze

Firefighters are still battling a huge forest fire in Reichenau an der Rax, Lower Austria, which has been burning since Monday and spread over more than 100 hectares of woodland. The strong winds, lack of rain and difficult terrain have made the firefighting effort complicated.

According to reports in Der Kurier, police suspect that the cause of the fire could have been a bonfire started by hikers, though open fires are illegal in this area.

High demand for Vienna’s free period product scheme

Since the start of October, Vienna has been offering free period products (sanitary pads and tampons) in a pilot scheme in the 20th district northeast of the city centre, and the city has about 80,000 tampons and 32,000 pads to give away in the four months of the project.

The Green Party, which came up with the scheme, already wants to expand it across the whole city, due to the high demand so far. “At all four sites there is a high demand and they need to be constantly re-filled. It would be good if we can succeed in removing the taboo from this subject. It is really an important health issue. This is about women’s health,” Marion Gebhart from the city’s Frauenservice told ORF.

Local residents can fill out a survey to help the city improve the project here, which is only available in German.

More municipalities get exit checks

From today, the Upper Austrian municipality of Freistadt has had exit checks introduced, meaning that anyone leaving the area must show proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery, or a negative Covid test). The measure will remain in place for as long as the town’s seven-day incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 residents) is over 400; it is currently 504. The same rule was introduced to Lilienfeld and Amstetten in Lower Austria.

They join several other municipalities where the checks are already in place: St. Koloman, Annaberg-Lungötz and Adnet in Salzburg, Melk and Scheibbs in Lower Austria, and Braunau in Upper Austria.

Changes this weekend

The clocks go back one hour at 3am on Sunday meaning an extra hour of sleep, and Monday November 1st is a public holiday, meaning most banks, shops and supermarkets will be closed. 


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