Five Austrian regions ease Covid restrictions ahead of Christmas

Upper Austria ends its regional lockdown today, while four other regions see the re-opening of restaurants, hotels and cafes.

Closed restaurant
Restaurants and hotels re-open in five regions today. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Upper Austria chose to keep a full lockdown in place for almost a week longer than the rest of the country, but its regional restrictions are lifted today, meaning that it is once again possible to meet people from other households socially, go to shops, restaurants, and events.

In Carinthia, Lower Austria, Salzburg and Styria, re-opening has taken place gradually, with non-essential retail, culture and events opened last week and restaurants and hotels following suit today.

The regions of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Burgenland re-opened all parts of society allowed under national law this week, leaving only Vienna with hotels and restaurants closed until December 20th.

Even after the general lockdown ended, nationwide the rules in place are still stricter than they were before the lockdown.

READ ALSO: What are the current Covid rules in Austria?

Across the whole country, so-called night gastronomy (nightclubs, pubs and bars) remains completely closed until at least January. And for the rest of the gastronomy sector and events, there is an early closing time of 11pm.

In addition, FFP2 masks are required in addition to the 2G requirement at restaurants (except when seated), workplaces, shops, and services requiring close physical contact such as hairdressers.

In addition, lockdown remains in place for people aged over 12 without proof of 2G (a valid Covid vaccine pass or recent recovery from the virus), meaning people in that category — more than one million nationwide — cannot enter shops, restaurants, or leave their homes other than for essential purposes including exercise and food shopping.

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein presented an update on Covid measures for the Christmas and New Year period on Friday morning. We will have an update on these changes for you shortly on The Local Austria.

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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.