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

Travellers entering the country no longer need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test, but masks are still mandatory in some places.

LATEST: What are Austria's current Covid-19 rules?

From Monday, May 16th, travellers coming into Austria no longer need to present proof that they have either been vaccinated against Covid-19, have tested negative for the disease, or recently recovered from it.

Previously, the so-called 3G rules were in place for all people coming into Austria, with very few exceptions.

The government over the weekend dropped the requirements just ahead of warmer months, stating that the epidemiological situation no longer justified them.

On Sunday, 15th, Austria reported 3,777 new coronavirus cases after just under 110,000 PCR tests were taken. In total, 807 people are currently hospitalised with the disease, and 62 are in intensive care units. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,303 people have died from Covid-19 in Austria.

Despite dropping the entry requirements, the federal government reiterated that the rules could change, mainly if a variant of concern is found.

READ ALSO: Austria extends Covid regulations as experts warn of autumn resurgence

Domestically, Austria still has a few coronavirus restrictions in place, including an FFP2 mask mandate in some areas.

These are the latest rules you need to be aware of:

FFP2 mask mandate

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

The mask mandate is no longer in place for enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in Austria

Isolation after a positive test

After the fifth day of isolation and at least 48 hours without symptoms, you can end quarantine for mild or asymptomatic cases.

However, there is a “traffic restriction” for another five days, with a mask mandate and no entry permitted in gastronomy venues, health and care homes, and events during this period.

READ ALSO: Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

In order to obtain an early lifting of the restrictions, a free PCR test can be carried out. If the test is negative or with a CT value (short for Cycle Threshold and is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19) above 30, the isolation can be lifted.

If the value is below 30, then you must remain in isolation.

Vienna doesn’t follow the ‘traffic restriction’, so the only way to end the 10-day isolation is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after two symptom-free days.

You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.

The 3G rule

A 3G rule (proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or has a negative test) is generally only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.

READ ALSO: Ba.4 and Ba.5 Covid variants detected in Austria: What you need to know

In Vienna, on the other hand, the rules are stricter.

Visitors and workers need to have the 3G proof plus a negative PCR test. However, the city has dropped 2G rules for gastronomy and nightclubs – the only places where it was still required to show proof of vaccination or recovery.