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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Heating prices to double, mask requirements in (some) schools, presidential elections and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

Some schools are bringing back mask requirements in Austria. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.
Some schools are bringing back mask requirements in Austria. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP.

District heating to become 92 percent more expensive in Vienna

The 92 percent price increase for district heating has been confirmed and will be valid starting September 1st, daily Der Standard reported.

Vienna’s district heating system warms more than 440,000 households and 120 major customers (such as public buildings) using natural gas and waste incineration.

Wien Energie, the state-run company that provides the service in the capital, had announced plans for the increase in June. Finance City Councilor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) confirmed that the changes were approved internally and by the government.

Hanke said the city already had measures to relieve residents, such as a €250 million “energy support” package and that Vienna would also work on saving energy. For example, the Christmas lights will only shine later in the season this year, he said.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

Austria launches new site to combat online hate

After the suicide of doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, who was a target of online hate for defending coronavirus measures and vaccines, Austria is launching a new campaign to help victims of online violence.

The country already offers free psychosocial and legal assistance, but a new website has all information on how the support works and has become a centre to help victims of online hate.

The campaign will also use social media advertising, ads in public transport and doctors and partnership with influencers to help reach potential victims.

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Schools bring back mask requirements in Vienna

Private kindergartens and universities in Vienna are tightening their Covid-19 regulations, Kurier news site reported.

While Austria has dropped most of its restrictions, including mandatory FFP2 masks in schools and kindergartens, some private educational institutions have decided to ask people to wear masks sometimes for class and sometimes for visitors who are going to the schools for a short time (to pick up a child, for example).

They reason that it is no longer possible to check if people are corona-positive or not. Austria has removed quarantine requirements for people who test positive for coronavirus, though they must wear masks when going indoors. Still, it is impossible to check if those who tested positive are indeed wearing masks.

In many Viennese universities, including the University of Vienna, FFP2 masks must continue to be worn. Additionally, the university asks that people who have tested positive not attend class.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

Run for presidential elections starts

Presidential candidates are now looking for supporters to back their candidacy officially, Die Presse reported.

In Austria, a candidate needs to gather at least 6,000 declarations of support to be eligible. The deadline for 2022 is September 2nd, and the ballot is on October 9th. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen and the main opposition, the FPÖ-backed candidate Walter Rosenkranz, will likely overcome this hurdle easily.

Other candidates include MFG boss Michael Brunner, former FPÖ politician Gerald Grosz and singer Dominik Wlazny.

Only people allowed to vote for president in Austria (foreigners have no voting rights in federal elections) can sign their support for a candidate. The presidential candidates also need to pay a cost contribution of €3,600 for their ticket to the ballot.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Sunny Tuesday in most of Austria

Austria will see plenty of sunshine this Tuesday, according to the country’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. Some areas will be cloudy in the afternoon, but those will dissolve by the evening.

The day will be dry, with afternoon temperatures between 22C and 30C.

In Vienna, sun and clouds alternate during the day, and it is unlikely that there will be any rain. Temperatures should stay around 27C and then drop to around 15C in the evening.

READ ALSO: Five Austrian destinations you can reach by train to escape the heat

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Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Centre-right ÖVP announces new general secretary, Austria loses against France in Nations League and more news from Austria on Friday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Christian Stocker tapped as new ÖVP general secretary

After the resignation of Laura Sachslehner, who said she no longer felt as if the centre-right party was being “true” to its roots, National Council member Christian Stocker will replace her.

The party announced the decision early this Friday.

Stocker is a lawyer with his firm in Lower Austria. He was a vice-mayor for 22 years in Wiener Neustadt and has been a member of the National Council (Austria’s parliament) since 2019. The 62-year-old has also been a part of the ÖVP Corruption Committee in parliament, where he has been vocal in defending his party against accusations of corruption.

READ ALSO: ÖVP General Secretary resigns

Austria lost 2-0 to France in their Nations League clash on Thursday in Paris

Mbappe showcased his phenomenal pace and strength on the way before finishing emphatically to put the reigning world champions ahead in the 56th minute at the Stade de France.

The recalled Olivier Giroud doubled their lead nine minutes later as France ran out deserved winners to stave off the threat of relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, a competition they won just last year.

After the defeat, Austria stands last in Group 1, with just four points (France is third with five), and could face relegation in the UEFA Nations League.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Who is Austria’s new football coach Ralf Rangnick?

MFG candidate considers runoff possible in presidential elections

Federal presidential candidate Michael Brunner of the anti-coronavirus-measures party MFG (Menschen-Freiheit-Grundrechte – People’s Freedom Fundamental Rights) expects a relatively large number of votes in the election due on October 9th. He also considers entry into the runoff election to be entirely possible.

In any case, he sees “enormous support” among the population, as Brunner noted Thursday evening in an interview with ZIB2.

Brunner disregards polls that see him with only two percent of the vote. “Poll results are one thing, election results are another”, he said.

READ ALSO: Austrian presidential elections: Who are the seven candidates?

Coach crashes down a slope in Salzkammergut

Four people were seriously injured and 20 slightly injured in a bus accident in the Styrian Salzkammergut on Thursday evening, Kurier reported.

A coach with a total of 32 occupants had fallen down a slope near Bad Mitterndorf, district Liezen, and overturned, as the Provincial Police Directorate of Styria told the Austrian press.

The coach from the Styrian district of Hartberg-Fürstenfeld was on its way to Grundlsee, according to police. The bus was travelling on an unpaved road for reasons that are still unclear.


Screenshot from ZAMG

Friday has extremely sunny weather in Austria, the country’s meteorology institute ZAMG said.

Often, only a few thin veil clouds will pass through from the west during the day, and individual spring clouds will also appear. However, rain showers are almost impossible, ZAMG said.

The daytime highs are between 15C and 21C.

If you have any questions about life in Austria, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected].