How Austria's Covid rules change today
Austria's set of stricter Covid-19 restrictions in response to the spread of the Omicron variant come into effect from December 27th.
The measures include a 10pm curfew for the gastronomy sector, replacing the previous curfew of 11pm.
This applies from December 27th and includes December 31st, overriding a previous decision to grant an exemption to early closing on New Year's Eve.
The measures were announced last week at a press conference by Austria's Chief Medical Officer Katharina Reich, who said they were intended to show that now is "not a time to celebrate".
The Austrian crisis commission also recommended against large gatherings for New Year's Eve, asking people to celebrate only in small groups and where everyone attending had valid proof of 2G (full vaccination against Covid-19 or recent recovery from the virus). They asked people to get a Covid-19 test before meeting people from another household, and said regional leaders had agreed to expand testing offerings.
The rules around events are also stricter as of December 27th.
By law, private gatherings of up to 25 people with 2G proof will be permitted, but if they are indoor and without assigned seating, FFP2 masks are compulsory, and the authorities requested that people reduce their contacts as much as possible.
If assigned seating is available, the maximum number of people rises to 500 if everyone has proof of 2G (full vaccination or recovery); 1,000 for 2G+ (full vaccination or recovery and a negative PCR test), and 2,000 if people have 2G+ and a booster dose. FFP2 masks will also be required.
The commission, called Gecko, will meet again this week to discuss possible new restrictions.
Asked if a lockdown was on the cards, Reich said it was "impossible to know" but that the commission would give an update during the week.