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COVID-19 RULES

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules in Austria now?

Austria's Covid-19 rules have been tightened in response to the Omicron variant. Here's what you need to know.

EXPLAINED: What are the Covid-19 rules in Austria now?
Masks, 2G, and event regulations are some of the main rules in place currently. Photo: ALex Halada/AFP

This is an overview of the rules that apply in Austria domestically. To find out the latest rules for entering Austria, click here to read our overview.

The following rules apply nationwide. Some regions introduce stricter (but not more lenient) rules in addition to these, in particular regarding events. You can see an overview of nationwide and regional measures in German on the Health Ministry’s website.

Lockdown for people without proof of 2G

A nationwide lockdown is in place for anyone without 2G proof(full vaccination or recovery from Covid-19, though teenagers in compulsory schooling can use a negative test instead of 2G).

This means leaving the home is only possible for people in this group for essential reasons including exercise, buying food or essential supplies, or going to work. This lockdown is currently in place until at least January 10th and can only be extended for a maximum of ten days at a time, but the government has said it expects to keep this rule until February.

Face masks

Face masks must be worn in all enclosed public areas. That includes public transport, shops and supermarkets, hairdressers, salons, hotels, restaurants and cafes except while seated at a table, and at events.

In general, where masks are required these should always be FFP2 masks.

For children aged under 7, no mask is required, and for children aged under 14 and pregnant women a cloth or surgical face mask may be worn as an alternative to FFP2 masks.

From January 11th, masks will also be required in outdoor spaces where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained, potentially including on pavements and in pedestrian zones for example. Regions can introduce additional outdoor mask mandates in specific busy areas.

Shops and services

Non-essential retail stores, services requiring close physical contact (sometimes called ‘body-hugging services’ as a direct English translation from the German) including hairdressers and beauty salons, and hotels are all open. These establishments all have a 2G requirement and an FFP2 mask requirement. From January 11th, 2G checks will be stepped up with all shops required to check vaccine certificates either at entrances or at checkouts.

People without proof of 2G may only visit these establishments for Click & Collect, ie. to pick up goods they have already ordered or purchased online or by phone.

Drinking and dining

Night gastronomy (late-night bars, nightclubs and après ski venues) will remain closed until at least January 9th.

In other catering venues (restaurants and cafes) a 10pm closing time applies as well as 2G rules (people without proof of 2G may still pick up food for take-away, and must wear an FFP2 mask).

Food should be consumed while seated only (except if outdoors, when standing dining is allowed), and FFP2 masks are required except while seated (for example when you enter, or when you leave your room to go to the toilet).

Work

Working from home is recommended where possible.

At the workplace, a 3G rule applies (proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test). In all enclosed areas, there is an FFP2 mask mandate.

Events

Events can can go ahead with different rules depending on the type of venue (ie. whether or not it has assigned seating) and the ‘proof of low epidemiological risk’ that is provided by attendees.

For indoor or outdoor events without assigned seating, the limit is 25 people and both 2G and FFP2 masks are mandatory. For indoor or outdoor events with assigned seating, FFP2 masks are mandatory and the limit is 500 people if all attendees have 2G; 1,000 people if all attendees adhere to 2G+ (proof of full vaccination or recovery plus a negative PCR test); and the limit is 2,000 people if all attendees have received 3 vaccine doses and also have a negative PCR test. For outdoor events without

If there are more than 50 people, one person must be in charge of implementing a Covid-19 infection prevention plan and authorities must be notified of the event; for events over 250 people the organiser must apply for permission.

Social distancing

There is no legal regulation around the distance you need to keep from people from other households.

However, the government recommends keeping a minimum distance of 2 metres as often as possible. This is worth being aware of in situations such as work, when queuing in shops, or in busy public areas.

Useful links

Current Covid measures in Austria from the Health Ministry

Multilingual information on Covid-19 from the Health Ministry

Covid-19 information from the Austrian Tourist Board

Information on booking your Covid-19 vaccine from Austrian authorities

Information on booking a Covid-19 test from Austrian authorities

24-hour health advice hotline to call if you experience Covid-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive: call 1450 from Austrian phones or +43 1 1450 from foreign phones

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COVID-19 RULES

Austrian court rules certain bans for unvaccinated were ‘unconstitutional’

Austria's constitutional court found that banning unvaccinated people from going to hairdressers or cultural institutions was unconstitutional

Austrian court rules certain bans for unvaccinated were 'unconstitutional'

The Constitutional Court (VfGH) has found a regulation which stopped people from going to hairdressers in the second lockdown for the unvaccinated was unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal.

However, the Court of Justice did confirm it was admissible to distinguish between people with and without 2G evidence (proof they had recovered from or been vaccinated against Covid-19), meaning the lockdown for the unvaccinated was itself legal.

READ ALSO: Four options: These are Austria’s autumn Covid lockdown plans

As there were exceptions to the lockdown, allowing people without vaccinations to leave their homes to “cover the necessary basic needs of daily life”, this should have included trips to the hairdressers as part of these “basic needs” on a long term, the court ruled.

It clarified that the rules were at first supposed to last for 10 days, but as the lockdown got extended several times, lasting a total of 11 weeks, the “basic needs” evolved and should have included hairdresser visits.

According to the Constitutional Court, it was also illegal for the government to ban unvaccinated people from entering cultural institutions in autumn 2021.

In this case, the reason was that people were still allowed to go to church and other places of religion, which the court found was “in violation of equality”.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

The court found the ban on entering sports facilities ordered by the Minister of Health during the first lockdown in March and April 2020 was also unlawful, as there was not sufficient justification, broadcaster ORF reported.

Strict Covid-19 measures

Austria was one of the countries which imposed several lockdown periods during the pandemic, as The Local reported. While some were aimed at the entire population, more recently, only those who didn’t get vaccinated against Covid-19 were prevented from going out of their homes without a justification (such as grocery shopping or emergencies).

The country had also imposed a Covid-19 vaccination mandate, but that was scrapped after new variants of the virus evolved into less severe cases of the disease, the government said.

Currently, there are few coronavirus restrictions in place. You can check out all the measures across Austria here.

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