Lower Austria becomes latest region to tighten Covid measures

A man passes by the reopened Albertina Modern art museum featuring the exhibition
A man passes by the reopened Albertina Modern art museum featuring the exhibition "The Beginning" in Vienna, Austria. Several states have introduced the requirement to wear FFP2 masks in cultural venues, such as museums. JOE KLAMAR / AFP
The Austrian region of Lower Austria on Saturday announced a new set of stricter Covid-19 measures, meaning unvaccinated people will no longer be able to access late-night dining, bars or large events.

They join Tyrol, Upper Austria and Carinthia, which approved further measures on Friday, as well as Styria and Vienna, Austrian daily Der Standard reported on Saturday.

READ ALSO: 2G for bars and more masks: Styria tightens Covid-19 restrictions

All these states have implemented the ‘2G’ rule for late-night dining and events over 500 people, which means entry will only be possible with proof of either a full Covid-19 vaccination or recovery, and not with a negative test (included in the ‘3G’ rule)

All of Austria’s Covid-19 regulations are based on ‘Gs’: Geimpft (vaccinated), Genesen (recovered), Getestet (tested negative). The last one is excluded from the ‘2G’ rule.

READ ALSO: What is Austria’s Covid-19 immunity card and how do I get it?

The tougher measures will apply in Lower Austria, Tyrol, Styria and Upper Austria from November 8th, and in Carinthia from November 4th. They have been in force in Vienna since October 1st.

In the remaining states, i.e., Burgenland, Salzburg and Vorarlberg, a negative PCR test that’s less than 72 hours old is still valid for late-night dining and entry into large events.

Mask mandate enforced in Upper Austria
In addition to the ‘2G’ rule, tighter restrictions on FFP2 mask-wearing have been in force since Friday in Upper Austria.

These masks are required in all retail locations and in cultural venues, such as museums and libraries. 

The tighter measures will also apply in Lower Austria, Tyrol and Styria from November 8th and in Carinthia from November 4th and are already in place in Salzburg and Vienna. 

On top of existing measures, 11 Austrian districts also have exit controls in place, which means that anyone who wants to leave certain areas has to be vaccinated, test negative or have recovered from Covid-19.

Further details can be found here on the Austrian Automobile Club (ÖAMTC) website (in German).

In Salzburg, this rule affects St. Koloman, Annaberg-Lungötz and Adnet. Anyone over the age of 12 who wants to leave the area has to show a vaccination certificate, proof of recovery or a valid PCR negative test result.  

The high-risk areas of Lower Austria are the districts of Lilienfeld, Amstetten, Melk and Scheibbs. Anyone who wants to leave will also need to meet the 3G rule. But unlike for the affected areas of Salzburg, a negative antigen test (less than 24 hours old) is currently accepted.  

Three areas of Upper Austria have also now introduced the 3G rule for those who want to travel out of the area. Gmunden was added to the districts that have exit checks in place on Saturday, joining Braunau and Freistadt. Both negative PCR (less than 72 hours old) and negative antigen tests (less than 24 hours old) are valid.  

Intensive care patients could rise to 400
This is the current state of the rules in Austria, but they are, of course, subject to change, especially if the number of patients in intensive care continues to increase.

Austrian Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein told ORF-Radio on Saturday there would probably be 400 Covid-19 patients in intensive care – or 20 percent of capacity – by the end of next week or the beginning of the following one.

READ ALSO: Austria records highest daily number of Covid cases since 2020 

If numbers rise to that level, that would trigger step three of Austria’s five-step plan, meaning that only negative PCR tests would be accepted, i.e. negative antigen tests.would no longer be valid.

The so-called 2.5G rule (proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative PCR test) would be introduced at all locations where a 3G rule was in place under level 2.

Other Covid rules are changing on Monday, including the introduction of the ‘3G’ rule to enter workplaces.

READ ALSO: Unvaccinated people in Austria to receive letter warning of Covid risk


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