Today in Austria: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday

Nurse walks past intensive care bed
High numbers of Covid patients in intensive care mean the next stage of Covid restrictions will come into effect from next week. Photo: Carla Bernhardt/AFP
Find out what's going on in Austria today, with The Local's five-minute roundup of the news you need to know.

Austrian unemployment falls below pre-pandemic levels

Yesterday we reported on the forecast from the Austrian Institute of Economic Research that Austria would see a strong recovery from the crisis prompted by Covid, and there are already promising signs.

Nationwide, 341,142 were registered with the unemployment service AMS by the end of October, which is lower than both the figure of 423,750 from October 2020 but also 354,026 from October 2019.

Upper Austria currently has an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent (figure for October) which is the lowest nationwide and lower than 2019, before the pandemic. In Tyrol, the unemployment rate of 5 percent was not only significantly below last October’s figure of 8 percent but even represented the lowest level in 20 years.

Austria to enter second stage of Covid restrictions plan

The Covid-19 restrictions in place in Austria are determined by the proportion of Covid patients occupying intensive care beds, and the number has now risen above 300 (15 percent of capacity) which triggers the next stage of restrictions.

It means that antigen tests performed at home will no longer be accepted at venues which require proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery or negative test) to enter, and events over 500 people as well as ‘night gastronomy’ (this mainly refers to pubs and clubs but also late-night dining venues) will require 2G, so even a PCR test will not be accepted. This is already the case in Vienna.

The change is set to come into effect from next Monday, November 8th.

On Friday, leaders from the Austrian regions and government are set to meet and discuss the restrictions, with Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein expected to discuss the possibility of tightening the rule for entering workplaces to 2.5G so that only PCR tests are valid.

Salzburg tightens Covid measures

Salzburg currently has Austria’s highest incidence rate (new daily infections per capita) and the regional governor announced on Tuesday that Covid restrictions would be tightened further from November 8th, even beyond the national change mentioned above. Here are the key changes:

  • FFP2 masks will be required in all retail venues, cultural venues, and services requiring close physical contact like beauty salons and hairdressers
  • 2G rule for night gastronomy and events over 500 people
  • 2.5G rule (only PCR tests accepted, not antigen) for events of 26 to 500 people, as well as restaurants and cafes, hotels, museums, services requiring close physical contact like beauty salons and hairdressers, and visitors to nursing homes and hospitals
  • 2.5G rule in all workplaces 

The changes come into effect from November 8th.

Graz holds memorial for Covid victims

More than 11,000 people have died due to Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The city of Graz held a non-denominational memorial service for the victims on Tuesday, including almost 2,200 in the Styria region. A digital photo collage showed the faces of the dead, while candles and music also played a part in the service, where leaders from different religious and community groups gave speeches.

Third vaccine for everyone after six months

Austria’s National Vaccine Council on Tuesday recommended that everyone get a third dose of the Covid-19 vaccine six months after the second.

Booster doses are already being rolled out for the general population in Vienna and Vorarlberg as of this week, and have been offered to at-risk groups and the elderly nationwide since September. On Tuesday, Salzburg announced its plans to offer booster doses for the general population, and the other regions should follow suit shortly.

Why it might take a while to get a new car in Austria

Waiting times for electric and hybrid cars can be up to a year, Adolf Paul Seifried from the Upper Austrian Chamber of Commerce told the ORF national broadcaster, while prices for second-hand cars have risen this year.

The reason is that at the start of the pandemic, most car manufacturers anticipated a fall in demand and canceleld orders for semiconductors. But in fact, the sector recovered faster than expected, with high demand for cars, but a global semiconductor shortage meant delays in producing the vehicles customers wanted.

Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or log in here.