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COVID-19 RULES

The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria

Austria has removed most of its restrictions, which means residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the Easter holidays with very few measures still in place.

The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria
After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, Austrians will be able to celebrate easter in the traditional markets (Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash)

Note: this article is no longer up to date. Check here for the latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria.

The Austrian government has removed most of the coronavirus restrictions this week, including mandatory masks in many indoor places.

As coronavirus case numbers and hospitalisations decrease, people in Austria will be able to enjoy a relatively ‘normal’ Easter – and with great weather too. According to Austria’s weather institute, the country will see temperatures up to 16 degrees (61 F) on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Easter holidays: What to expect if you are coming to Austria

Here’s a rundown of the current Covid-19 restrictions in place in Austria.

FFP2 mask mandate

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask now only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, and customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets and administrative buildings.

The mask mandate has been dropped in enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.

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 only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.

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.

Green passport

The period of validity of vaccination certificates for the third dose (booster shot) has been extended to 365 days.

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: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in Austria

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 period is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after symptom-free two days.

You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.

And there is more information on Vienna measures on Vienna City website.

Editor’s note: A version of this article previously stated that isolation could be lifted if the CT value was below 30. This is incorrect. 

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COVID-19 ALERT

Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

As Covid-19 infection numbers continue rising, Austria's government doesn't rule out a comeback of the mask requirement.

Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

Austria has seen rising Covid-19 numbers for weeks, and the country’s traffic light commission has increased the risk rating of all federal states, with none currently designated as “low risk”.

Virologists and health experts have given many explanations for rising numbers and forecast that new infections, currently at more than 12,000 a day, could reach more than 30,000 in the next few weeks.

Austria’s Covid commission said that the omicron subvariant BA.4/BA.5 is a decisive factor in the increase, as it is considered more infectious. “Additionally, an increased proportion of travel-associated cases has been observed in recent weeks”, the commission stated.

READ ALSO: LATEST: These are the Covid rules in Austria and Vienna from June 2022

Dorothee von Laer, a Med-Uni Innsbruck virologist, told Der Standard that the new subvariant could be responsible for a new wave as “the protection we have from BA1 infections, and from vaccinations, is not so good against BA.4/BA.5”.

“So people who were infected early on, or who are only vaccinated, have of course some protection against hospitalisation, but almost no or very little protection against infection”, she said.

Von Laer mentioned other factors that likely contributed to the increasing numbers, including the fact that people have stopped wearing masks after the requirement was dropped in most of Austria.

Are masks about to make a comeback?

When Austria’s federal government announced they would drop the Covid mask mandate, they phrased it as a “pause” to the FFP2 masks, which were still mandatory in essential trade and public transport.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) said that the mask requirement will be “paused”, as the pandemic is not over yet, and that people should be prepared for a resumption of the rules after summer, as The Local reported.

BACKGROUND: Austria to ‘pause’ Covid mask mandate from June 1st

Many experts believe FFP2 masks won’t be optional for long if numbers continue rising. Von Laer said, “we will probably have to resort to the mask again, even if the hospitals are not overcrowded because we want to protect the vulnerable people”.

The health minister had already stated that it is time people “take personal responsibility” so that they choose to wear masks in crowds or when close to vulnerable people.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

However, he recently added that if the situation “goes in the direction of overloading the health system, then, of course, I am also obliged to react”.

The minister also said he reassesses the situation every week, observing developments in other countries.

‘We will have to learn’

For Rauch, people will need to learn to live with the masks, as future waves can also be expected in the coming years. He added that we would have to learn to take personal responsibility, make self-assessments, and have solidarity.

READ ALSO: Austria sees scores of flight cancellations after airline staff contact Covid

He also assumes more flexible measures in the future. For example, public transport signs will ask for the mask mandate during morning traffic hours, but not on empty evening trains.

His goal, the minister stated, was to find a middle ground between demanding as few restrictions as possible and exercising caution.

Covid-19 stats

Austria on Wednesday reported 12,509 new coronavirus infections after 169,948 PCR tests, according to the Health Ministry.

There were 856 people in hospitals with Covid-19 and 47 in intensive care. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 18,779 people have died from the disease.

The country has just over 61 percent of its population with a valid vaccination pass.

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