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VIENNA

Vienna to keep tighter Covid measures in place for bars and restaurants

Vienna on Thursday announced it would not be following the rest of the country in relaxing Covid measures for visiting bars and restaurants.

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP
Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig. Photo: JOE KLAMAR / AFP

The Austrian capital of Vienna has decided to take a stricter course regarding Covid measures than the rest of the country. 

The decision was announced on Thursday, February 3rd, with Vienna mayor Michael Ludwig criticising the federal measures as being inconsistent with the country’s compulsory vaccine mandate. 

Austria has announced a gradual relaxation of a range of Covid measures with relation to entry into bars, restaurants along with curfews and mask rules. 

These measures will be relaxed on a step-by-step basis throughout February. A comprehensive breakdown can be seen at the following link. 

READ MORE: How Austria’s Covid restrictions are changing in February

From February 5th the curfew for bars and restaurants will be moved from 10pm to midnight, while on the 12th unvaccinated people will be allowed to shop in non-essential retail. 

On the 19th, while the rest of the country will again allow people to visit bars and restaurants with a negative test – i.e. the return of the 3G rule – in Vienna only the vaccinated and recovered will be allowed to enter (i.e. 2G). 

Ludwig questioned whether allowing the unvaccinated to again enter hospitality venues at the same time as making vaccination mandatory was wise. 

“A relaxation of this regulation would counteract the efforts to increase the vaccination rate, which is still due. In addition, the health of many Viennese would be endangered unnecessarily, since masks are not always worn in the catering trade,” he said. 

Ludwig pointed to troubling figures from Vienna’s hospitals. 

“We have increasing numbers in the hospitals” Ludwig said on Thursday afternoon. 

“We have increasing numbers there, so there is no talk of any noticeable relief. The situation remains difficult, we don’t know exactly how omicron will affect the infection process and occupancy in the hospitals,”

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ENERGY

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

The City of Vienna is expanding its group of homes that can receive an energy cost voucher by the end of the year. Here's what you need to know.

Energy costs: Vienna to support 200,000 households with up to €500

Austria’s capital Vienna is expanding a program to subsidise part of the energy bills of around 200,000 eligible households, the City said in a press release.

“Energy costs are difficult for many Viennese to cope with in the current situation. We are helping those who need the support most urgently – and we are doing so in a targeted manner by settling outstanding bills with energy providers”, City Councillor for Social Affairs Peter Hacker said.

The City has already agreed with state-run energy company Wien Energie that, from December 2022 to February 2023, no electricity, gas or heat shutdowns will happen – regardless of any payment issues.

READ ALSO: From lighting to ice skating: How Vienna plans to save energy

Now, a group of more vulnerable people can apply for Energy Support Plus to get up to €500 in aid with their energy bills.

The following people can apply online at wien.gv.at for Energy Support Plus: Recipients of Vienna minimum income (Bezieher*innen von Wiener Mindestsicherung), housing assistance (Wohnbeihilfe), AIVG benefits (AIVGLeistungen), a compensatory or supplementary allowance (einer Ausgleichs- oder Ergänzungszulage), GIS-exempt persons and low-income earners (GIS-Befreite und Geringverdienende) who are covered by the cost cap of the Renewable Expansion Act, those entitled to sickness benefit (Krankengeld), rehabilitation benefit (Rehabilitationsgeld), reintegration benefit (Wiedereingliederungsgeld) or transitional allowance (Übergangsgeld).

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to keep energy bills down in Austria

Applications can be submitted until December 31st, 2022. The maximum subsidy amount is €500 per household.

The service telephone of the Department for Social Affairs, Social and Health Law, is available at 01/4000-8040 for information and assistance with applications. Wien Energie’s customer service also offers personal assistance with the application process at Spittelau.

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