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

Covid vaccine
Vaccination against Covid-19 at Vienna's Austria Centre. Austria's new tightened rules come into effect today. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP
Find out what's going on in Austria today, with The Local's short roundup of the news you need to know.

Austria’s Covid rules change today, with widespread 2G rule

If you took a break from the news this weekend, you might have missed the government announcement that Austria is tightening its Covid rules significantly, with 2G (proof of vaccination or recovery only) required in most of the places that previously required 3G. There were other changes too, including the validity of the Green Pass changing to nine months after a second vaccine jab, and FFP2 masks required in more places nationwide, such as all retail venues.

Two things to note: there’s a four-week transition period during which a negative PCR test and proof of a first vaccine dose will be accepted, to ensure that people have time to get fully vaccinated. And in the workplace, a negative PCR test will still be accepted.

As for how long the new rules will last, Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg told the Kronen Zeitung: “It will probably be a 2G Christmas”. Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler said no measures could be ruled out in the current situation, but regional lockdowns would be a “last resort”, speaking to broadcaster ORF and press agency APA.

Catch up at the links below:

2G rules lead to upswing in vaccine demand

The changes noted above led to a surge in demand for vaccines over the weekend, with more doses administered than has been the case for months. On Saturday, more than 10,000 first doses were given out, and almost twice as many booster doses, with the weekly total of doses issues reaching the highest level since August.

While this is good news as more people will be protected against serious illness, the sudden upswing did lead to queues at some vaccine centres over the weekend. 

2G: What about universities?

The nationwide rule changes do not include universities, but some individual higher education institutions have chosen to implement their own 2G rules. Among them is Alpen Adria Universität in Carinthia, which is implementing a 2G rule in all university buildings from November 10th.

Metalworkers reach agreement with employers

As The Local has previously reported, a long-running dispute between metalworkers’ unions and employers led to strikes last week, but this appears to have been resolved.

Employers agreed to a 3.55 percent wage increase, still not the full 4.5 percent requested but closer to the inflation rate of 3.6 percent according to Statistik Austria, and higher than last year’s increase of only 1.45 percent, which employers said was due to the coronavirus crisis. The outcome is relevant to people outside the industry not only because the strikes are now called off, but because the wage increase may give other unions increased bargaining power by setting a precedent.

Two of the world’s ten ‘least stressful’ places to live are in Austria

At least, that’s according to a study that was commissioned by CBD and hemp brand Vaay. Its Stressful Cities Index placed Innsbruck eighth and Graz tenth in the top ten of the world’s least stressful cities, making Austria the only country represented twice in the top ten. The study looked at factors like weather, population density, healthcare access, and sound and light pollution.

What does Vienna’s building boom mean for rental prices?

There is a lot of construction underway in the Austrian capital at the moment, with more than 37,000 new apartments expected to be completed in 2021-2022.

Hans Jörg Ulreich, property development spokesperson for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce, told the ORF broadcaster that there had not been such a high level of construction since 1912. But he said this was unlikely to lead to a drop in rental prices across the board, partly because of inflation, partly because despite a stagnation in rental prices during 2021, this has mainly affected only private new builds.


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