The requirement to show proof of 2G (full vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19) in order to enter non-essential shops and cultural venues like museums, galleries and libraries will be scrapped from February 12th, as the government had already announced. It will be possible to enter these venues without showing any form of vaccine or health pass, though FFP2 masks must still be worn.
On Tuesday the government said that from the same date, February 12th, several more relaxations would come into effect.
The 2G rule will be replaced by the 3G rule for hairdressers, beauty and massage salons. These services are sometimes described as “body-hugging services” in Austria, a translation from the German körpernahe which roughly means “requiring close physical contact”. The rule change means that as of Saturday, it will be possible to visit these venues with a recent negative Covid-19 test as an alternative to proof of vaccination or recovery.
This change primarily affects unvaccinated people because up until now, people without 2G have been barred from the majority of public spaces even though the lockdown for unvaccinated people ended last week.
In hairdressers, salons and similar businesses, an FFP2 mask must still be worn even after February 12th alongside the 3G rule.
The other newly announced change relates to events, where the upper limit of permitted attendees will be removed from February 12th. Both the 2G rule and FFP2 mask requirement will still apply indoors and outdoors. Events for over 50 people without assigned seating must not have any food or drink served, to ensure the FFP2 masks can be worn.
Announcing the latest changes, Chancellor Karl Nehammer said that current data showed that “in contrast to previous corona waves, Omicron does not currently pose an acute threat to our healthcare system.”
However, he appealed to people currently on their February school break to wear FFP2 masks, “not only where it is mandatory anyway, but also whenever you are around a lot of people”.