How Austria’s Covid restrictions are changing in February

Austria is beginning to take cautious steps towards re-opening society with the country's strict Covid measures set to be lifted step by step throughout February. Here's an overview of the roadmap.

Checking 2G
The government has set a date for removing 2G rules for shops, restaurants and hotels. Photo: Stringer/AFP

It’s worth noting that while this is the current plan for national restrictions, each of Austria’s nine federal states has the option to introduce stricter (but not more lenient) rules of their own.

The following is correct to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication (you can see when the article was last updated in the top corner).

From January 31st

Austria’s lockdown for people without proof of 2G (full vaccination or recent recovery) ends. This means people in this group can leave their home for any reason, though they will not be able to access many public venues until later rule changes come into effect.

READ ALSO: Everything that changes about life in Austria in February 2022

From February 1st

Two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine will only be considered valid for six months after the second dose; this is a reduction from nine months. After that you need a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated, and that’s valid for nine months after the jab. There’s an exception for people aged under 18: in this age group, two doses will be valid for seven months (210 days).

The above rule change applies to the Green Pass and the domestic 2G rule (to enter venues such as restaurants and shops). It does not apply to Austria’s entry rules, where two vaccine doses are considered proof of full vaccination for nine months, but it means foreign tourists to Austria who received their second dose between six and nine months ago will be unable to enter most public venues. 

UPDATED: What are the rules for entering Austria right now?

From February 5th

The current curfew on restaurants and bars will be extended from 10pm to midnight.

The maximum capacity for events without assigned seating will be raised from 25 to 50 people, and the additional 2G+ rules will be removed from larger events; the standard rule will be 2G and a face mask requirement.

From February 12th

The requirement for proof of 2G (full vaccination or recent recovery from Covid) will no longer apply for non-essential retail. It will still be mandatory to wear FFP2 masks in these shops regardless of your vaccination status.

In services requiring close physical contact (such as hairdressers and beauty salons) the 2G rule will be replaced with the 3G rule, meaning a recent negative Covid-19 test result can be shown for entry as an alternative to vaccination or recovery. It will still be mandatory to wear FFP2 masks in these businesses regardless of your vaccination status.

From February 19th

The requirement for proof of 2G will no longer apply in restaurants, cafes, bars or hotels. This will be replaced with a 3G requirement, meaning that people without 2G can show a recent negative Covid test to enter these venues. To enter restaurants, cafes and bars, PCR tests will only be valid for 48 hours after the time of the test, but in all other areas (eg. for entering workplaces), PCR tests will remain valid for 72 hours (note that Vienna has a blanket rule of 48-hour validity). 

The 3G rule will apply to large events instead of the 2G rule.

Which other rules are still in place?

We haven’t heard anything about when night clubs and apres ski venues will re-open.

A 3G rule remains in place for workplaces.

Another of the main rules that is currently set to remain in place is a requirement to wear an FFP2 face mask in all public indoor places, as well as outdoors if a safe distance from others cannot be maintained.

Useful links

Current Covid measures – Austrian Health Ministry (in German)

FAQ on Covid – Austrian Health Ministry

Multilingual information on Covid-19 from the Health Ministry

Covid-19 information from the Austrian Tourist Board

Information on booking your Covid-19 vaccine from Austrian authorities

Information on booking a Covid-19 test from Austrian authorities

24-hour health advice hotline to call if you experience Covid-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who tested positive: call 1450 from Austrian phones or +43 1 1450 from foreign phones

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Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria's autumn Covid-19 plan includes a fourth Covid-19 dose to all those older than 12 and the Health Ministry doesn't rule out further measures, especially a return of the mask mandate.

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria’s Health Ministry and the country’s National Immunisation Panel (NIG) have recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population ahead of autumn.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and physician Herwig Kollaritsch of the Immunisation Panel have requested people take the vaccination before the cold months, reiterating that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and protects against more severe courses of the disease.

“You can do a lot before autumn. Don’t wait until the numbers rise. Get vaccinated, take the booster shots”, Kollaritsch said in a press conference this Wednesday, August 31st.

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

The previous recommendation was only for people older than 60 or those in risk groups. “After there was already the booster recommendation for the vulnerable and over 60-year-olds over the summer, all other groups are to get a booster in the coming weeks,” the health minister said.

Only 58.9 percent of the population is currently sufficiently vaccinated, as per the recommendation of the National Immunisation Panel (NIG) – which for the majority of the population is three doses – or if they’ve had Covid then two doses and a recent recovered status.

New measures ahead of autumn

The health minister stopped short of announcing new Covid-19 measures for autumn.

When he announced the end of the mask mandate in the country back in May, Rauch had said the suspension would be “temporary” and masks were likely to return after summer, depending on the pandemic, particularly on hospitalisation numbers.

Currently, masks are obligatory in the health sector and on public transport in Vienna.

“We evaluate the situation weekly by talking with the hospital heads in the states. We have a very good view of the Covid-19 data, and we don’t rule out bringing measures back in the future”, he said.

READ ALSO: Vienna extends stricter Covid-19 rules until late October

He added: “It is likely that in the autumn, compulsory masks will again be useful and necessary in certain areas such as public transport or supermarkets,”.

For now, though, the minister said he recommends people to get vaccinated, wear masks where social distancing is not possible, and get tested regularly – even if those measures are not mandatory.

When should you get vaccinated?

The fourth vaccination should come a minimum of four months after the third one (or after a Covid-19 infection) but not after six months of the third dose (regardless of whether or not the person has had an infection after the last vaccine), according to the NIG.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Which Austrian states will allow Covid-infected teachers in classrooms?

For children between five and eleven years of age, the basic immunisation – which consists of three vaccinations – should be completed by the start of school at the latest; no booster vaccination is currently recommended in this age group.

Austria expects vaccines adapted to the omicron variant to arrive in the country before the end of September, the health minister said.