Covid-19 rules: Tyrol expands outdoor mask requirement

In addition to the existing nationwide FFP2 mask requirement, masks must now be worn outside on busy streets in some Tyrolean towns.

FFP2 mask sign
The new rules apply to particularly busy areas in two towns with high rates of Covid cases. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP

As Covid-19 cases in the state of Tyrol continue to increase due to the Omicron variant, additional mask requirements are being introduced in the province of Landeck.

From midnight on Thursday January 13th, FFP2 masks will have to be worn outside on some busy streets and public areas in Ischgl and St. Anton am Arlberg.

In Ischgl, the mask mandate applies to Dorfstrasse, Silvrettaplatz and on the Fimbabahnweg.

In St. Anton am Arlberg, it applies to the pedestrianised zone, on large parts of the Dorfstraße, at the Rendlbahn forecourt, the underpass and forecourt at Galzigbahn and at bus terminals. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the Covid rules in place at ski resorts across Europe?

The mandate will be in effect between 8am and midnight and expires on January 20th, although the regulation could be extended if needed.

On Wednesday, the seven-day incidence in the Landeck district was 2,893 – the second highest rate after the Kitzbühel district with 3,381, according to AGES. The statewide incidence rate was 1,388 and the national rate was 841.

Hospitalisation rates throughout Tyrol remain stable with 80 Covid-19 patients on normal wards and a further 32 in intensive care units (ICU). This represents 17 percent of Tyrol’s ICU capacity.

Additionally, the armed forces in Tyrol are providing assistance with soldiers deployed at test centres, at Innsbruck Airport and in contact tracing services.

What is the current nationwide mask mandate in Austria?

In Austria, FFP2 masks are required on public transport (including at stops and stations), in all shops and other indoor areas including hairdressers, museums, workplaces and at events. 

Since January 11th, FFP2 masks are also required outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a distance of two-metres from people from another household.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How exactly does Austria’s new rule for masks outdoors work?

Situations where the two-metre distance is only broken for a short amount of time, for example when passing someone on a pavement, are excluded from the rule. But regions have the power to introduce additional outdoor mask mandates in areas that are often busy, as Tyrol has now done.

The national requirement to wear a mask outdoors in these situations is initially in place until January 20th.

Useful links

Overview of current Covid-19 measures in Tyrol

Nationwide Covid-19 restrictions in Austria

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‘The pandemic is not over’: Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria's capital has decided to keep mandatory FFP2 masks in public transport but is dropping them in supermarkets.

'The pandemic is not over': Vienna keeps mask rule in public transport

Austria’s capital Vienna will still have mandatory usage of FFP2 masks even if the federal government is dropping the requirement in the rest of the country.

It will still be mandatory in Vienna to wear masks when public transport, pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and hospitals, SPÖ Mayor Michael Ludwig announced this Tuesday.

People no longer will need to wear masks in supermarkets and other essential trade, though. The decision was taken after a meeting with the city crisis committee and health authorities, according to the mayor.

“The pandemic is not over yet. We will remain on the consistent and safe path”, Ludwig said.

Earlier this Tuesday, Austria’s Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) had announced the country would “pause” mask requirements from June 1st in all but health establishments during the summer months, as reported.

READ ALSO: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

Rauch justified the decision by saying that the coronavirus numbers, both of new infections and of hospitalised people, have significantly dropped and maintained a downwards trend for weeks.

“The number of new infections has fallen, as well as the number of people in hospitals due to Covid-19, for several weeks now. This is good news”, he said.

Since the last major easing step in mid-April, the FFP2 obligation has only been in force in enclosed spaces of hospitals and homes, public transport and taxis, in the customer area of vital trade, in party traffic of administrative authorities and in institutions for the practice of religion outside trade fairs.

However, the federal government sets out the minimum standard for the country, but the different states may adopt stricter measures. Vienna has often kept tougher regulations during the pandemic, including a more extended period when only vaccinated or recovered people were allowed in bars and restaurants.

Vaccination campaign

The Viennese mayor also commented on the suspended vaccine mandate law, stating that vaccination protects and the city would have a “corresponding vaccination campaign soon”.

Ludwig added that he would demand the same from the federal government. “All of this is done to protect the health of the Viennese population”, he said.

Austria this Tuesday reported 2,177 new coronavirus infections after 185,230 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry. Currently, there are 596 people hospitalised with Covid-19 and 57 in intensive care units.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,607 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.