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COVID-19 RULES

Covid-19: Vienna confirms masks and 2G to apply ‘until April’

On Tuesday, Vienna's Mayor Michael Ludwig announced stricter Covid-19 rules will remain in place in the capital as the rest of the country prepares to relax restrictions this weekend.

Covid-19: Vienna confirms masks and 2G to apply 'until April'
As new variants raise concerns, Austria is keeping its mask mandate. (Photo by ALEX HALADA / AFP)

Mayor of Vienna Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) confirmed on Tuesday that Vienna will remain with 2G rules and the widespread use of face masks – probably until April.

Ludwig said restrictions would only be eased when the number of infections have reduced, which is expected to happen in March.

This means 2G (recovered or vaccinated) rules will remain in place in Vienna for gastronomy and hotels, and FFP2 masks will still be required in all public indoor areas, such as shops and public transport.

The news comes as the rest of Austria prepares for a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions on Saturday March 5th.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Austria to remove most restrictions from March 5th

During the announcement, Ludwig said he is “very sceptical” about the extensive opening steps across Austria from Saturday while case rates remain high. He also said he expects the 2G rule for gastronomy to stay in place in Vienna for some time.

Additionally, the 2G+ rule (recovered and vaccinated plus booster or negative PCR test) for hospitals will remain in the capital.

What are the nationwide Covid-19 rules from Saturday?

From March 5th, most of Austria’s Covid-19 rules will be removed.

This means the end to 2G and 3G requirements (proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test) to enter venues, as well as the re-opening of night clubs, and the removal of the current midnight curfew for restaurants. 

Proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test will only be required in what the government called “particularly vulnerable settings” such as hospitals and nursing homes.

FOR MEMBERS: Everything that changes about life in Austria in March 2022

These proofs are also still required for travel into Austria, but for entry into the country 3G will apply rather than the current 2G+ rule. However, any countries classed as virus variant countries will have stricter requirements (at the moment there are no countries on the list).

Also on March 5th, the current requirement to wear an FFP2 mask in all public indoor spaces will be relaxed, with mask-wearing only mandatory on public transport, in essential retail stores (which mainly refers to supermarkets and pharmacies), and in hospitals and nursing homes.

Essentially, the FFP2 mask requirement is set to cover only those indoor areas where people can’t opt out of being present.

The re-opening plan was announced by the Federal Government on February 16th following a summit with scientific experts and regional governors, with Chancellor Karl Nehammer dubbing the relaxations a “spring awakening”.

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COVID-19 RULES

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.

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