Vienna to drop vaccination and recovery requirements from Saturday
The capital has been alone in Austria in its 2G requirements for almost two months, but has decided to ease restrictions as numbers dropped.
Austria's capital Vienna is removing its main Covid restriction from Saturday, April 16th, meaning people will no longer need to present proof that they are vaccinated or recovered from the disease (2G rule) to enter bars and restaurants.
"We have decided to go along with the federal steps in a broad sense", city councillor for Health Peter Hacker said in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
The 2G rules are being dropped in all areas, including gastronomy, sports, and hospitals, the secretary said. The state capital is also following federal reopening steps and dropping the FFP2 mask requirement for non-essential retail, including shops and gyms.
FFP2 masks are still mandatory in "essential" indoor public areas, including supermarkets and public transport, Hacker said.
The move goes in line with the federal government's announcement. “Nobody wants to wear a mask during summer, but these small requirements are basic measures”, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) had said during a press conference earlier this Thursday.
The reopening measures could be announced as there has been a decline in the infection rates for ten days, Hacker said. However, the decisive factor for Vienna has always been the situation in hospitals, and "the number of new patient admissions is now declining", the counsellor stated.
One significant difference from the federal rules remains the negative PCR test requirement for visitors in hospitals and care facilities. In the rest of the country, following 3G rules is enough, meaning that vaccinated or recovered people do not need to be tested. The staff will do PCR tests twice a week in Vienna.
The capital has also announced the rules for schools after the Easter holidays.
Masks (surgical masks are allowed) are mandatory outside the class until the eighth grade. From the ninth grade, there is a FFP2 mask requirement. The teaching staff must wear an FFP2 mask outside the class, within the class this also applies to teachers who have neither been vaccinated nor recovered.
Preparations for the cold season
The Vienna representative reiterated that the city will be prepared for autumn when infections could rise again.
"You have to assume that there will be a new load in the fall", he said.
"Unfortunately, the vaccination disappeared from Austrians' thoughts as the compulsory vaccination failed", Hacker added. The councillor stated that a fourth vaccine could be necessary by then - at least for risk patients and those over 65 years of age.
The Viennese ordinance will come into force next Saturday and will be valid until the beginning of the summer holidays, Hacker announced.
Mayor Michael Ludwig was not in attendance during the press conference. He tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week and is now self-isolating at home with mild symptoms.