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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

people walk in Vienna snow
The news you need to know in Austria on a snowy morning. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP

Applications open for companies to apply for support for lost lockdown revenue

If your company’s revenue fell as a result of Austria’s fourth lockdown, you can apply for support in the form of the ‘Ausfallsbonus’ from today, via FinanzOnline, with the Ministry of Finance expecting the first payments to be made before Christmas. The measure is primarily targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

If your sales in November and December fell by at least 30 percent compared to 2019, you can claim for between ten and 40 percent of the decline.

Here’s what we know about the draft vaccine mandate law

Austria’s first draft of its vaccine mandate law was presented on Thursday. The fines for violating the mandate could be issued every three months or a maximum of four times a year. They would be set at €600, but the fine for refusing to pay the penalty would be higher, at a maximum of €3,600. People’s personal financial situation would be taken into account when setting the fine, according to the draft.

Doctors who issue a false certificate of exemption will also face fines of up to €3,600.

Police have worked almost one million hours in overtime during the pandemic

That’s according to an exclusive in Der Standard this morning, with more than 450,000 hours’ overtime recorded for Austrian police in both 2020 and 2021. That includes working on regular Covid checks, for example to ensure businesses were enforcing Covid measures, as well as the police presence at demos against the measures.

In Vienna, that works out to 39 hours’ overtime per police officer per month.

According to the Interior Ministry, four police officers have died of Covid-19 and over 7,000 have fallen ill with the disease.

Carinthia announces roadmap out of lockdown

Carinthia was the last Austrian region to announce its own Covid measures for when the general lockdown is lifted this weekend. Gastronomy and hotels will not re-open until December 17th. Catch up on the rules for all the regions by clicking here.

More details on the post-lockdown rule changes

There has been some confusion over what exactly is allowed to open on Sunday, December 12th, the first day after the lockdown ends, but with the new Covid ordinance we have some more clarity.

Parts of trade that are usually allowed to open on Sundays will be allowed to operate this Sunday, which includes an extra day of Christmas markets (though it’s up to the individual organisers whether to open), as will cultural and sports facilities, services like hairdressers and so on Vienna’s mayor Michael Ludwig confirmed on Thursday that this would be the case in the capital, though December 13th was previously named as the re-opening day for Vienna.

Schools to stay closed on January 7th

Friday, January 7th is a ‘bridge day’, coming between the Epiphany holiday and the weekend. Now, pupils will only return to school from January 10th, to simplify the regular testing process in schools. This isn’t a change for everyone, as many schools had already made this a day off.

Students currently need to take three Covid-19 tests each week, at least one of them (two in Vienna and Upper Austria) being a PCR test, and schools should be giving students tests to take home over Christmas so they can get tested before they return to classes.

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For members


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

Rent prices are up, Austria to block Romania and Bulgaria from Schengen, e-prescription approved and more news from Austria on Thursday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
  • Rent prices rise in Austria as fuel costs drop

Rent prices in Austria have risen at the fastest rate since quarterly figures were introduced in 2004, according to the latest data from Statistics Austria, as The Local reported on Wednesday.

In the third quarter of 2022, the average price for rent (including operating costs) rose to €8.8 per square metre per month. This was 3.1 percent higher than in the second quarter and seven percent higher when compared with the same period in 2021.

But the highest rent increase was in municipal housing, where costs rose by 3.8 percent to hit €7.5 per square metre. 

Meanwhile, the ÖAMTC has revealed that the fuel price in Austria decreased in November (compared with prices in October).

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What will happen to Austria’s property market in 2023?

  • ‘Kur’: The alternative treatments you can get from a doctor in Austria

In Austria, prevention and self-recovery play a big part in the healthcare system. Here are some alternative treatments that might not be prescribed elsewhere.

  • Europe to welcome Croatia to Schengen – but bar Romania and Bulgaria

Austria is expected to oppose the entry of Bulgaria and Romania into Europe’s control-free travel zone, the Schengen area, several media reported. Applicant countries need the approval of all 26 member countries, which Croatia should get on Thursday.

The Schengen zone allows for control-free travel, abolishing border checks between its territories, but member states such as Austria have criticised it as illegal immigration rises. 

Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) had said earlier this week that Austria would oppose the entry of Romania and Bulgaria into Schengen.

“We need more time. At the moment, we have 75,000 unregistered illegal migrants in Austria – meaning they have crossed an external EU border and made it to Austria. This needs to be solved first,” he said.

READ ALSO: What is Vienna’s MA 35 doing to offer better service for immigrants in Austria?

  • Green light for e-prescription for private medicine

In future, private prescriptions will be issued electronically with the e-prescription system, the newspaper Die Presse reported. 

This was decided by the Health Committee of the National Council on Wednesday evening with the votes of the ÖVP, the Greens, the SPÖ and the Neos. 

The extension of the e-prescription affects all privately paid medicines, such as contraceptives. Doctors will then be able to prescribe all drugs electronically in one treatment procedure – regardless of whether the health insurance fund pays for them. 

Then, patients can collect their medicines from pharmacies using the e-Card without presenting a paper prescription.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners need to know about the Austrian healthcare system

  • Not all ski resorts can start, as snow cover is still too thin

Schladming and some other areas have been operating since last week in Steiermark. Numerous other ski areas had planned to start the new season on Thursday – but this is only possible in some places, broadcaster ORF reported.

Many smaller areas still have to wait: Wenigzell in Joglland, for example, postponed the start of the season to 17th or 18th December – the snow cover is currently around ten centimetres thick.

Also in Mönichwald, there is hardly any snow at the moment. Therefore the start will be postponed by one week there as well, said manager Andreas Schwengerer: “Due to the weather forecast with snowfall and temperatures around minus ten degrees, we are sure that we can finally start the season around December 17th.”

READ ALSO: Where are the best places to go skiing in Austria?

  • Weather

Screenshot from ZAMG

From Lower Carinthia over Styria to eastern Lower Austria, mostly clouds and initially a little rain or snowfall is to be expected, Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG said. 

In the afternoon, however, the precipitation will largely subside in these regions. It will be mostly sunny weather everywhere else in Austria. However, over the foothills of the Alps, there will be some persistent fog.

The snow line will be from 400 to 700m above sea level and the wind will be mostly light. Afternoon temperatures are 1C to 6C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].