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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Salzburg street
FFP2 masks will now be required outdoors where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained. Photo: zhang xiaoyu/Unsplash

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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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

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

National holiday, environmental activism against a new road in Vienna, Donauinselfest line-up announced, and more news on Thursday.

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

Stores closed, and warm weather for the bank holiday in Austria

Austria commemorates Christi Himmelfahrt, or Ascension Day, this Thursday, 26th. The holiday means most stores and supermarkets will be closed. However, restaurants, bars, and establishments inside train or gas stations remain open.

READ ALSO: Warm weather and bad traffic: What to expect in Austria this Ascension Day

Austrians will enjoy warm weather and sun for the extended holiday, though traffic can be expected in and out of major cities, as The Local reported.

95 arrested after an environmental protest in Vienna

The police made 95 provisional arrests as officers cleared the site of a protest in the north of Vienna, the police said. Several climate activists had occupied the construction site for a planned street, Stadtstrasse, which has been the focus of criticism by environmental groups.

According to the Viennese authorities, about 100 activists occupied construction containers and blocked equipment. The area was cleared by early afternoon, but more protests are planned for the coming days.

Donauinselfest line-up announced

Europe’s largest free open-air concert will take place again in full and without restrictions after the pandemic years, and the line-up has been announced, highlighted broadcaster ORF.

READ ALSO: Here are over 20 things you can do in Vienna for free

Headliners include German singer Nico Santos, Italian musician Umberto Tozzi, Stefanie Werger, and hip-hop artist Jan Delay. The festival will take place on Danube Island from June 24th to June 26th.

The city of Vienna presents a memorial to victims of homosexual persecution in the Nazi era

Vienna unveiled a Monument to the Men and Women Who Were Victims of Homosexual Persecution in the Nazi Period in Resselpark.

READ ALSO: Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

“It is important and necessary that a monument manifests the memory of the homosexual victims of National Socialism in public space and calls on us to decisively oppose any form of homophobia and discrimination”, said Vienna’s City Councilor for Culture, Veronica Kaup-Hasler.

Series of robberies in Vorarlberg

The police in Vorarlberg have announced a €1,500 reward for anyone who can give them information on a series of robberies in gas stations in Austria’s Western state.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What rules does Austria have on gun ownership?

The authorities say the crimes have been happening since March by an armed man. There have been no injuries, but he has allegedly robbed at least four gas stations so far.

Eleven convicted in Graz beer case

Eleven people were convicted of a large-scale beer theft at the Puntigam brewery, Die Presse reported.

READ ALSO: Austrian brewery workers charged with stealing beer worth €1.7 million

The men had declared unspoiled beer as “broken goods” from 2009 to 2017, taken it with them, and resold some of the product. They were sentenced to partial prison sentences of 15 to 24 months as well as fines for commercial theft and embezzlement. Four men were acquitted.

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