What do Austria’s current Covid rules say about socialising and private events?

During the festive period, there are restrictions in place across Austria on events as well as private gatherings. So how many people can you meet?

Whether you're planning a party or just want to meet up with close friends and family, here's a guide to the rules you need to be aware of. Photo: Al Elmes/Unsplash

Lockdown for unvaccinated people

For people without proof of 2G (full vaccination or recovery from Covid-19) aged over 12, a lockdown is still in place nationwide. This means that in principle, no in-person socialising is possible with people you don’t live with.

It is however possible to leave your home during lockdown for a few specific reasons, including to attend a funeral, to go to work if this cannot be done from home, or to attend demonstrations.

You are also allowed to leave your home to visit “important contact people”, which includes for example seeing a child for whom you share custody, carrying out care-giving responsibilities, or seeing members of one other household if you live alone.

On December 24th, 25th, 26th and 31st an extra exemption will be added to the lockdown rules which means that meeting up to ten people privately is a permitted reason to leave lockdown.

READ ALSO: How is Austria enforcing its lockdown for unvaccinated people?

Private meet-ups

For people who have proof of 2G, it is possible for up to 25 people from different households to meet privately with no additional measures. 

Weddings, birthdays and Christmas parties

Private parties, including but not limited to weddings and other celebrations, need to follow national rules on how many people may attend events.

In general, there is a 25-person limit on indoor events and a 300-person limit on fully outdoor events. Events are also subject to an 11pm curfew, everyone must wear FFP2 masks if it is in an enclosed space, and the person responsible for organising the event should check 2G certificates of everyone in attendance.

If more than 50 guests are expected, the organiser must also notify local authorities at least one week in advance, and if more than 250 guests are expected, they also need approval for the event to go ahead and must present their plan for mitigating the spread of Covid-19 at the event. If there are assigned seats, the same rules apply but more participants may be allowed: nationwide these are capped at 2,000 for seated indoor events and at 4,000 for seated outdoor events.

As with all Austria’s Covid rules, the national guidelines provides a framework and that regions can introduce their own stricter rules (but not more lenient ones) if they deem necessary. For example, in Vorarlberg a maximum of 500 people may be allowed at events with assigned seating whether indoors or outdoors, and in Vienna, outdoor gatherings of over 25 people require proof of 2G+ (vaccination or recovery plus a negative PCR test).

READ ALSO: Can I travel to Austria for tourism after lockdown?

Useful links

Overview of current Covid measures nationwide and regionallyHealth Ministry (only available in German)

Austria’s current Covid measures in detail (Health Ministry – available in German only)

The Austrian Tourist Board

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Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.