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

New Year fireworks in the Alps near Innsbruck
New Year fireworks in the Alps near Innsbruck. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

2022 is off to a record-breaking start for temperature

On Sunday, temperature records were beaten in Austria for the third consecutive day, with warmer weather recorded in several areas than in any January in history.

New Year’s Day saw the mercury reach 18.8C in Köflach in western Styria, and at the moment temperatures are around 10C above average for the time of year in most of Austria, though a cold front is expected from Wednesday onwards. 

The reason is warm air from the Canary Islands which has brought record heat to large parts of Europe. Rising average temperatures are often part of climate change.

Covid summit takes place today

Austria’s crisis communication committee Gecko meets for a Covid summit today, ahead of the next meeting between experts, regional and national leaders on Thursday (which is a public holiday in Austria).

Gecko members will evaluate the effectiveness of current measures and the impact of the spread of the Omicron variant.

Salzburg retailers to start checking 2G proof

Austria’s lockdown for people without proof of 2G (full vaccination or recovery from Covid-19) is still in place, and now the rules have been tightened so that retail businesses are responsible for checking 2G proof of customers.

Unvaccinated people can only go to shops defined as essential. Retailers who fail to enforce the regulation can face fines of up to €3,600 or even imprisonment. In most cases, checks will take place at cash registers rather than at entrances, because most retailers are unable to deploy staff specifically to check the passes.

Single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine loses validity in Austria

As of today, a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is no longer considered as proof of full vaccination (also known as 2G) either for domestic rules or for travel to the country.

Approximately 260,000 people have been vaccinated with the J&J vaccine in Austria since the start of the vaccination campaign, and of those, around 75,000 have not received a second dose.

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