The Ministry of Health confirmed that FFP2 masks will continue to be required in supermarkets, pharmacies, public transport, hospitals and essential shops for the meantime.
Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) knocked back a request from unions that mask rules be relaxed in the retail and banking sector.
Rauch said the new variants, which are believed to be more contagious than known variants, were the primary reason that mask rules were not relaxed further.
Speaking on Austrian television, Rauch said it was a “sensitive time” and that “further easing… would not be appropriate in my opinion”.
While Rauch did not indicate when further easing would be implemented, he said it was “quite possible it would take place at the beginning of summer”.
Austria’s last relaxation of the mask rules was on April 16th, when they were no longer required in indoor areas of cultural facilities, bars and restaurants.
The rules apply in all parts of Austria, including the capital of Vienna.