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

Salzburg street
FFP2 masks will now be required outdoors where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Photo: zhang xiaoyu/Unsplash
Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

New Covid rules: Shorter quarantines, wider FFP2 mandate, and 2G checks in shops

The following measures were announced on Thursday following a meeting of Austria’s regional and national leaders and scientific experts:

  • The FFP2 mask requirement has been extended to outdoors when a distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained such as in outdoors queues or pedestrian crossings, starting from January 11th.
  • The current quarantine period for those who test positive for Covid-19 or who are contact cases will be shortened to five days from January 8th, after which there will be an option to end self-isolation through taking a test. Previously the quarantine for positive Omicron cases was 14 days.
  • Shops will be required to check 2G (proof of vaccination or recovery) from next week. This is to further enforce the current lockdown on unvaccinated people. Salzburg already introduced this rule this week.
  • The Green Pass will only be valid for six months from the second dose starting from February 1st. Validity will remain at nine months for those with the booster vaccination.

Health Minister: Vaccine mandate will definitely come into force in February

Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein said that Austria’s planned vaccine mandate is certain to come into effect as planned.

He was questioned on Austrian TV on Thursday about the possibility of paying people in Austria who received a vaccine, and said he was sceptical about this measure but otherwise was in favour of as many incentives as possible.

December lockdown had less impact on the economy than previous ones

December’s lockdown, the fourth nationwide one in Austria since the start of the pandemic, led to costs of €400 million per week, but this is still less than earlier lockdowns, according to figures from the Economic Research Institute (WIFO) on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.

Finance Minister Magnus Brunner said this shows the economy has grown “more resilient”.

During the lockdown, shopping was still possible if using Click & Collect options (ordering online or by phone beforehand) and restaurants and cafes could sell food for takeaway.

Two arrests after shooting in Wiener Neustadt

Two people have been arrested after a clash between two rival gangs at the train station in Wiener Neustadt, police have said.

Three people were injured after shots were fired from an alarm gun on Thursday evening, one of them seriously hurt.

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