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EXPLAINED: What should I do if my Austrian Green Pass is expiring?

For many people across Austria, the Green Pass will expire in the coming weeks and months. What does this mean and what is the government doing about it?

EXPLAINED: What should I do if my Austrian Green Pass is expiring?
The Green Pass will turn red for thousands of people in Austria in the coming months. What happens next? Photo: JOEL SAGET / AFP

By June it is expected that around 74,000 Covid-19 vaccination and recovery certificates will expire in Austria – even for people that have received the third dose. 

This is in line with current rules that state certificates are only valid for 270 days, after which the Green Pass will turn red and will no longer be valid proof of 3G (tested, vaccinated, recovered).

So, what happens next?

READ MORE: Reader question: Do I need to be vaccinated to come to Austria?

On Tuesday evening, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) told ORF that the Austrian federal government is working on an extension of existing certificates, although the details of when and for how long have not yet been confirmed.

Rauch said he hopes to announce further details by the beginning of next week (April 11th) but assured the public that no one will lose their ability to travel due to expiring certificates, as reported by the Kronen Zeitung.

Rauch said: “Things are already prepared, we know the numbers and when [Green] passports will expire.”

According to Kurier, around 800 certificates will expire by the end of April, followed by another 900 in May. By the end of June the figure will rise to around 74,000 people.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health said they are “examining all options”.

READ ALSO: Vienna: How tourists, visitors (and residents) can get free Covid tests

What are the current Green Pass rules?

Certificates of full vaccination (two doses) against Covid-19 are currently valid in Austria for 180 days (or six months) from the date of the second dose. An additional vaccination, or booster, is then valid for 270 days.

Certificates of recovery from Covid-19 are currently valid for 180 days, including for people that have previously received two doses of the vaccination.

A PCR test result is valid for 72 hours and an antigen test from a pharmacy or testing station is valid for 24 hours.

Full details about the Green Pass can be found at the official website

What is the Green Pass used for in Austria?

The Green Pass is used to show proof of 2G (recovered or vaccinated) or 3G in settings where the rules apply.

This includes entry into the country for tourists, citizens and residents, as well entry to high-risk places like hospitals, nursing homes and schools.

However, Vienna is currently still operating under stricter rules and proof of 2G is required to enter cafes, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and indoor sports facilities.

Additionally, the federal government reintroduced the FFP2 mask mandate for public indoor spaces last month but gave businesses the option to implement the mandate or follow 3G rules.

A full report on the current mask rules in Austria can be found here.

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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.