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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Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.