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

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

The FFP2 mask mandate has been extended in some parts of Tyrol. Photo: Clemens Volgger/Unsplash

30,000 daily Covid infections expected next week after all-time high

Austria reached a record-breaking 17,000 new cases of Covid-19 recorded on Wednesday, in line with the estimates of the Covid Forecasting Consortium.

The trend is expected to keep climbing and reach 30,000 new cases per day next week, with an increase in the number of hospital admissions nearer the end of the month.

That would mean a nationwide incidence rate (new cases per 100,000 residents over seven days) of up to 2,500, and higher rates of around 3,000 in Vienna, Tyrol and Salzburg. Those three regions already have rates above 1,000 while the current national incidence rate is 842.

Austria to turn red again on Covid traffic light map

Today Austria’s Covid Commission will give their weekly ‘traffic light’ update, and the whole country is expected to turn ‘red’ or ‘very high risk’ again, based on the current numbers.

At the moment, Styria, Burgenland and Carinthia remain orange or ‘high risk’.

The Commission’s assessment uses a ‘risk number’ based on a range of factors including incidence rates and hospital capacity, traceability of infection chains and the test positivity rate in each region.

Tyrol extends FFP2 mandate outdoors

FFP2 masks will need to be worn outside on several busy streets in Ischgl (Dorfstrasse, Silvrettaplatz and on the Fimbabahnweg) and in many public areas of St. Anton am Arlberg (including in its pedestrianised zone, on large parts of the Dorfstraße and at bus terminals among other places).

The mandate applies between 8am and midnight, and comes into effect today.

How are 2G checks in retail going?

Police carried out 33,000 checks on the new law requiring shops to check customers’ 2G proof on its first day, Tuesday. A total of 180 violations were reported, according to the Interior Ministry.

Expanded test options in Austria’s kindergartens

While schools in Austria carry out regular Covid testing, that’s not been the case for younger children. But there are tests available for kindergartners, although they remain voluntary and the offer depends on your region.

In Vienna, the Alles Gurgelt at-home PCR tests can be used by under-5s and this has been encouraged since the autumn, with over 17,000 tests carried out in the kindergarten age group just last weekend, Der Standard reports. The same tests are available in Tyrol.

In most other regions, either only antigen or both antigen and PCR tests are available, sometimes at the kindergartens themselves. When the kindergartens carry out the tests, parental consent is necessary.

Austrian Airlines plans to introduce 2G rule for pilots and flight personnel

The rule will apply from March 1st, after which staff without proof of 2G will no longer be given assignments by the airline, Salzburger Nachrichten reports.

No grace period for Brits after December 31st deadline to apply for post-Brexit residence

British nationals who were living in Austria under EU law before the end of 2020 were given one year to apply for their Article 50 residency cards.

Asked by APA if there would be any grace period for anyone who missed the December 31st, 2021 deadline, the Interior Ministry said that in principle there would not be — though they did say that if there was a “reasonable reason” for the delay, for example serious illness, it is possible a residence permit could be issued late. Anyone affected should contact the authorities as soon as possible.

It is hard to tell the exact number of people who may have missed the deadline. According to figures from Statistics Austria, 11,529 British citizens were living in Austria at the beginning of 2021, and by the end of that year 8,886 had applied for their Article 50 residence card. That does not necessarily mean the remainder are unable to stay, as some may have another right of residence in Austria, for example EU residence from a different country.

If you’re concerned you may have missed the deadline, the volunteer-run British in Austria group offers advice to affected Brits. You can also contact The Local by emailing [email protected]

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

Heating prices to double, mask requirements in (some) schools, presidential elections and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

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

District heating to become 92 percent more expensive in Vienna

The 92 percent price increase for district heating has been confirmed and will be valid starting September 1st, daily Der Standard reported.

Vienna’s district heating system warms more than 440,000 households and 120 major customers (such as public buildings) using natural gas and waste incineration.

Wien Energie, the state-run company that provides the service in the capital, had announced plans for the increase in June. Finance City Councilor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) confirmed that the changes were approved internally and by the government.

Hanke said the city already had measures to relieve residents, such as a €250 million “energy support” package and that Vienna would also work on saving energy. For example, the Christmas lights will only shine later in the season this year, he said.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

Austria launches new site to combat online hate

After the suicide of doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, who was a target of online hate for defending coronavirus measures and vaccines, Austria is launching a new campaign to help victims of online violence.

The country already offers free psychosocial and legal assistance, but a new website has all information on how the support works and has become a centre to help victims of online hate.

The campaign will also use social media advertising, ads in public transport and doctors and partnership with influencers to help reach potential victims.

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Schools bring back mask requirements in Vienna

Private kindergartens and universities in Vienna are tightening their Covid-19 regulations, Kurier news site reported.

While Austria has dropped most of its restrictions, including mandatory FFP2 masks in schools and kindergartens, some private educational institutions have decided to ask people to wear masks sometimes for class and sometimes for visitors who are going to the schools for a short time (to pick up a child, for example).

They reason that it is no longer possible to check if people are corona-positive or not. Austria has removed quarantine requirements for people who test positive for coronavirus, though they must wear masks when going indoors. Still, it is impossible to check if those who tested positive are indeed wearing masks.

In many Viennese universities, including the University of Vienna, FFP2 masks must continue to be worn. Additionally, the university asks that people who have tested positive not attend class.

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

Run for presidential elections starts

Presidential candidates are now looking for supporters to back their candidacy officially, Die Presse reported.

In Austria, a candidate needs to gather at least 6,000 declarations of support to be eligible. The deadline for 2022 is September 2nd, and the ballot is on October 9th. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen and the main opposition, the FPÖ-backed candidate Walter Rosenkranz, will likely overcome this hurdle easily.

Other candidates include MFG boss Michael Brunner, former FPÖ politician Gerald Grosz and singer Dominik Wlazny.

Only people allowed to vote for president in Austria (foreigners have no voting rights in federal elections) can sign their support for a candidate. The presidential candidates also need to pay a cost contribution of €3,600 for their ticket to the ballot.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Sunny Tuesday in most of Austria

Austria will see plenty of sunshine this Tuesday, according to the country’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. Some areas will be cloudy in the afternoon, but those will dissolve by the evening.

The day will be dry, with afternoon temperatures between 22C and 30C.

In Vienna, sun and clouds alternate during the day, and it is unlikely that there will be any rain. Temperatures should stay around 27C and then drop to around 15C in the evening.

READ ALSO: Five Austrian destinations you can reach by train to escape the heat