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

A protestor holds the Austrian flag
A protestor holds the Austrian flag at a demonstration in Frankfurt this weekend. Photo: Yann Schreiber / AFP
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Happy St Nicholas Day!

December 6th is St Nicholas Day in Austria and although it’s not a public holiday, it’s an important day in the run-up to Christmas, with children receiving gifts in shoes or boots left out overnight.

Changes to Green Pass validity

Don’t get caught out by this rule change. As of today, vaccine passes in Austria are only valid for 270 days after the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine instead of 360 days. After this, you will need proof of a third dose.

This applies for the purpose of showing 3G proof to enter the country, and for 2G or 3G checks within Austria, for example at ski lifts or in workplaces.

What does the first draft of Austria’s vaccine mandate law look like?

The first draft of the law that would make vaccines mandatory has been prepared and, according to multiple Austrian publications which have seen the draft, it means that anyone who has not received a Covid-19 vaccine by March 15th could face a fine (the actual law would come into force from February 1st).

The fines are set to be €600, but could be issued every three months up to a maximum of €3,600. Children under 14, pregnant women, and people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons would be excluded from the mandate. A Ministry of Health spokesperson would not comment on reports of the draft when questioned by broadcaster ORF.

Five arrested in Vienna Covid demonstration

More than 40,000 people protested in Vienna on Saturday against plans to bring in compulsory Covid-19 vaccinations from February, and clashes with police resulted in five arrests.

The Austrian police dispatched 1,200 officers to control the protestors and keep them separate from an estimated 1,500 counter-protestors.

Will lockdown end this week?

Yes, according to what the government has said previously, December 11th will be the final day of the general lockdown (this means December 12th is the first day without restrictions, and Monday December 13th is the first day many businesses will reopen, which is why you may have seen all three dates mentioned). But what will that actually look like? That’s the question on the agenda when national and regional leaders meet on Wednesday.

Upper Austria has already said it plans to keep a lockdown in place for at least an extra week, and nationwide a lockdown will likely continue for people without proof of 2G. Aside from that, leaders will need to decide which restrictions, if any, are kept in place.

What to expect from Austrian politics

In case you missed the news on Friday, former Interior Minister Karl Nehammer was appointed as Austria’s new Chancellor (the third in two months) and several other cabinet posts were reshuffled.

The new government will officially be sworn in at 1pm today.

Wintery weather on the way

The coming week will be a cold one according to meteorological institute ZAMG, with daily highs not above 6C. Snowfall is expected in many areas, with limited sunshine until the weekend.

Three killed in Salzburg avalanche

An avalanche in the Salzburg region killed three people and injured two while they were skiing off-piste, Austria’s Red Cross said on Saturday.


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