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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes about life in Austria in March 2022

Spring is on the way, and so are several other changes to life in Austria this month.

vienna buildings
Changes to Vienna's parking rules, Covid restrictions, and a repair bonus are some of the changes on the cards. Photo: Stefanie Loos/AFP

Most Covid rules will be scrapped

This is the big one: March 5th is the date when almost all of Austria’s remaining Covid-19 restrictions will be removed. Here’s a summary of the main changes:

  • Nightclubs and apres-ski venues will re-open
  • The midnight curfew for restaurants will be removed
  • FFP2 masks will no longer be required in restaurants, cafes, non-essential retail stores, hairdressers and beauty salons, and cultural venues like museums and galleries. But they will still be recommended
  • The curfew and upper limit on event attendees will be lifted
  • The 2G and 3G rules will be removed in most places

The main rules that will continue to apply nationwide will be an FFP2 mask mandate in public transport, essential retail (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and post offices) and in hospitals or elderly care homes, as well as a 3G rule for “particularly vulnerable settings” such as hospitals and nursing homes.

And regions have the power to implement their own stricter rules. Vienna for example will retain the 2G rule for restaurants, bars and cafes.

The first fines for violations of the vaccine mandate could be issued

The introductory phase of Austria’s new vaccine mandate, during which people who have yet to receive the Covid-19 vaccine were contacted by letter, ends on March 16th. After this date, fines of up to €600 can be issued to people who have not been vaccinated, with police to carry out spot checks.

However, it’s also possible that Austria will reassess the vaccine mandate in light of the re-opening plan outlined above as well as the relatively stable situation in the healthcare sector.

New parking permit rules in Vienna

From March 1st, Vienna’s parking permit system will be expanded to cover the whole city, basically bringing an end to free parking in the capital.

Short-term parking zones and resident’s parking permits will be brought in to each of Vienna’s districts, meaning that in the entire city, parking a car is only possible with either a resident’s parking permit (Parkpickerl) or a ticket (Parkschein) for the short-term zones.

For residents in districts 1-9, there is no change as these rules were already in place. In the 11th, 13th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd districts it’s the first time that short-term parking zones and resident’s permits are being used. For the remaining districts (10, 12, and districts 14-19), short-term parking already existed but the rules will now be standardised to match the 1st-9th districts, meaning drivers can only park between 9am and 10pm Monday to Friday, for a maximum of two hours, in the short-term parking zones.

Click here to read more about how to apply for your permit or ticket.

Last month of free Covid tests?

Federal funding for Austria’s free Covid tests expires at the end of March and the government and GECKO crisis committee have given signals that there will be a change in testing strategy after this. 

We don’t know exactly what this will look like, but we can expect the new rules to be announced at some point in March.

New app launched to support domestic violence victims

This is part of government efforts to crack down on male violence, for which they have dedicated a significant budget.

The app will allow people to send a silent call to police in emergency situations, which police will then act upon by going to the scene without needing to call the user back.

Get money back when you pay for repairs to electrical items

A nationwide scheme allowing people to get a €200 refund if they pay for repairs of electrical items is meant to launch in March or possibly April nationwide, and was on the National Council’s agenda for February 23rd. This will cover large household items like fridges, washing machines, tumble dryers, and coffee machines but also things like computers, mobile phones, electronic toys and garden tools. 

Similar schemes have already been rolled out regionally: repair bonus schemes are currently active in SalzburgCarinthia, Vienna and the City of Graz. They have previously also been offered in the rest of the Styria region as well as Upper Austria and Lower Austria, but those regions have now stopped the bonuses.

We don’t yet know exactly how the national scheme will look or how you’ll be able to apply, but details should be announced in the last days of February or early March,

Spring is coming

Winter is coming to an end, and the official start of spring comes on March 20th with the spring equinox. 

The downside to the end of winter is that you’ll lose an hour’s sleep: the 2022 time changeover to Daylight Savings is scheduled for 2am on March 29th. The clock will be moved forward by one hour from 2 to 3am, which means the night will be shorter. The changeover means it will be darker in the morning, but light will last longer in the evening.

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For members

WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes in Austria in August 2022

From travel chaos and bonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in August.

Everything that changes in Austria in August 2022

Travel chaos in Europe

Summer months are set to be chaotic in travelling, and we have seen examples of airports congested throughout Europe. This will continue during August, as airlines have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule.

In Austria, flights end up being cancelled on short notice as staff and crew call in sick with Covid-19, as The Local reported.

Strikes on several airlines and airports in the continent will also affect Austrian travellers who plan on vacationing there.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

Covid-19 restrictions will change

As coronavirus infection cases go up in Austria, affecting the workplace in all sectors, authorities have announced they will scrap mandatory isolation for those who test positive for Covid-19.

People who do not feel sick will be allowed to leave their homes even after a positive Covid-19 test but will have to follow specific requirements from August 1st, as The Local reported.

The so-called “traffic restrictions” mean that those who don’t feel sick will be allowed to leave their homes but must wear an FFP2 mask indoors and outdoors whenever social distancing is not possible.

Additionally, there are entry bans in hospitals, nursing and elderly care homes, childcare facilities, elementary schools and daycare centres.

The restrictions are valid for a maximum of 10 days and as soon as there is a positive antigen test. But a negative PCR test (or PCR test with a CT value over 30 as shown in the laboratory results) allows people to leave the “traffic restrictions” after the fifth day.

READ ALSO: Austria to remove quarantine for positive Covid-19 cases

Social payments to fight the rising cost of living

Some of the payments expected to roll out to Austrian residencies in an effort to cushion the rising cost of living are expected for August, as The Local reported.

While the most significant €500 sum should be paid out in October, families will get an additional one-off payment of the family allowance of €180 in August.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Traffic chaos in Austria

The summer vacation months are a time when many people in Austria tend to go to their idyllic destinations. However, for those left in the country, especially the capital Vienna, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a lot of what the city has to offer.

Still, people may notice that the city has become quite a Baustelle, or a construction site, with loads of work being done on its public transport lines, streets and avenues. You can check out the main construction works going on in Vienna this month here.

Traffic will be busy in other areas of Austria, too. The vacation months increase car travel, and several festivals and sports events for the month of August make it an even busier month.

READ ALSO: When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer

It’s no longer worth it to buy a yearly vignette for driving

From August 1st, it is no longer worth buying a yearly vignette if you are driving on Austrian roads. The many short-term vignettes should be cheaper alternatives instead.

For example, frequent drivers in Austria could buy two two-month vignettes in August instead of the yearly one, saving €37.40. Moreover, from December 1st, the annual vignette 2023 will be available and valid.

The vignette is a small sticker that shows that you’ve paid the tolls necessary to travel on Austrian expressways and motorways.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Austria’s vignette motorway toll stickers

Mariä Himmelfahrt holiday on August 15th

There is only one official holiday in Austria during the month of August, the Assumption Day on August 15th.

It falls on a Monday, so don’t forget to prepare yourself for it, as most shops and supermarkets will be closed on the holiday and Sunday as well (as they always are in Austria).

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

The heat should continue in August

According to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG, the probability of above-average temperatures in August in Austria is about 70 percent.

This means it is likely that heat waves and above 30C days will continue in the alpine country. According to the ZAMG, the number of days with temperatures above 30C per year has almost tripled in Austria in recent decades – and what used to be record temperatures is now average.

READ ALSO: Heatwave in Austria: What to do as temperatures hit 40C

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