Austria’s lockdown rules: For what reasons can I leave my home?

Austria's lockdown rules: For what reasons can I leave my home?
There are several valid exemptions to the stay-home order. Photo: Yasmina H/Unsplash
Under the current lockdown rules, everyone in Austria is subject to restrictions on the circumstances in which they can leave their home.

You are allowed to leave home to attend school, university, or work, although this should only be done if needed. Workers have been urged to work from home if possible, and employers should facilitate this, while many of Austria’s universities are switching to distance learning.

Schools remain open to those in need, but parents can keep their children at home without needing a doctor’s note and have been urged by the Health Minister to do so.

READ ALSO: What are the rules for schools in Austria during lockdown?

One of the justifications to leave home during lockdown is “averting immediate danger to life, limb and property”. This means you can always leave your home if you are in danger or in need, including in events like a fire or if you are at risk of violence.

“Covering the necessary basic needs of daily life” is another reason, which includes things like leaving to buy food, medicines, or other items you need; accessing healthcare including visiting a doctor, hospital, or getting a Covid test or vaccination; and caring for animals, for example walking the dog.

Although restaurants and most shops are considered non-essential and are closed during lockdown, you are permitted to leave your home to get takeaway food and drinks or to shop using Click & Collect services, including shopping for non-essential items.

You can leave home if you need to assist someone in need of support (perhaps an elderly neighbour or family member, or someone with disabilities), and to exercise “family rights and the fulfillment of family duties”. The latter includes visiting a partner you do not live with and visiting individual close relatives, but it can also refer to someone you are not related if you usually see them several times a week and they are a close tie.

Religious needs are also a valid exemption to the lockdown, including visits to places of worship and to cemeteries. 

And you can attend “administrative or judicial processes that cannot be postponed”, which includes public meetings or court hearings for example.

You are also allowed to spend time outdoors for “physical and psychological relaxation”. This covers exercise, such as a walk or run, but also simply being outside. However, you can only do this either with people you live with or with a maximum of one other person.

You can leave to attend meetings that are allowed under current Covid guidelines, which includes professional meetings if these cannot be postponed or held digitally; demonstrations; meetings of political party organs that cannot be postponed or held digitally; funerals; drive-in events; meetings for “absolutely necessary vocational training and further education purposes” if these cannot be held digitally, and meetings of medical and psychosocial self-help groups. At all these meetings, masks should be worn unless everyone attending has 2G proof.

There is no form you need to fill out in order to leave home, as has been the case during lockdowns in France and Italy for example, but you may be stopped and asked about your reason for being out, and asked to show any relevant proof if you have it.

There is also no set limit on how long you can be out of your place of residence, or how far you can go, but you should stay within your “local area”.
 
 
 
 
 
 


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