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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes in Austria in October 2022

From the presidential elections, Covid rules, the final date for the €500 Klimabonus and the National Day holiday, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in October.

Everything that changes in Austria in October 2022
Autumn in Austria's Hallstatt village (Photo by Dimitris Kiriakakis on Unsplash)

Austria to elect a new president

Austria’s presidential election will take place on October 9th, with seven candidates vying to take over at the Hofburg – the official workplace of the country’s president.

According to opinion polls, the favourite to win is the current president Alexander Van der Bellen, who is running for reelection. He could win this election with an absolute majority already in the first round, avoiding a run-off if polls continue favourable to the incumbent.

Austrian citizens aged 16 and over can vote in the elections, and the Federal President is eligible for two elected terms (each lasting for six years).

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

Stricter Covid rules in Vienna to expire – or be extended

Vienna currently has stricter rules concerning the coronavirus pandemic than the remaining Austrian states. The main difference is that FFP2 masks are still mandatory in all Viennese public transport (and stations).

The current regulation had been extended in late August, with the new expiration date set for October 23rd. This means that by the end of the month, people in Vienna might be able to drive the trains and metros without a mask.

The regulation could, of course, easily be extended as it was before. From what health authorities in the capital say, it looks like it will be prolonged to last during the cold months as well. If the pandemic worsens, with more people being hospitalised, the city (and the country) could impose stricter measures.

READ ALSO: Could Austria be spared another wave of Covid this winter?

Fuel to become more expensive in Austria

Starting October 1st, fuel will become more expensive in Austria. This is because the CO2 tax, part of the federal government’s eco-social reform announced earlier this year, will come in place after being postponed due to rising inflation.

Austria’s auto and motor association ARBÖ has advised motorists to fill up their cars ahead of the coming month – to take advantage of current prices before they rise.

For motorists, the new tax will mean a price difference for a 50-litre tank filling of about €4 to €4.5, on top of the fuel price increases worldwide, according to ARBÖ.

READ ALSO: ‘Mission 11’: Austrian government reveals tips on how to save energy and fuel

Final date to get the €500 bonus (for some)

The Austrian federal government is sending out €500 in anti-inflation and climate payments – better known as the Klimabonus. Everyone who has lived in Austria for at least six months this year is entitled to receive the amount (minors get half, €250).

However, the payment is being made in stages. Those who have already lived for 183 days at the first reference date, July 3rd, will be the first people to receive. Residents who have not completed 183 days living in Austria as of this date, or babies who weren’t 183 days old at that point, will only receive at a later time, as the second round of payments is set for the end of the year.

The millions who are part of the first group are already getting their €500 wire transfer (or voucher), but not all. The IT company making the wire transfers has already stated that they should be finished by the end of the first week of October, while the federal government said that all vouchers would be sent by the end of October.

READ ALSO: When will Austria hand over the €500 anti-inflation payment and how do I get it?

Austrians celebrate the National Day

Austria has a big holiday coming up as it celebrates its National Day on Wednesday, October 26th.

On this day in 1955, Austria signed its so-called Declaration of Perpetual Neutrality, although the date has only been a public holiday since 1965.

The Declaration marked the end of the Allied occupation in Austria by British, American, French and Soviet Union forces, who had controlled the country since World War II in 1945.

On Austrian National Day, the Federal President usually addresses the nation on TV, honouring the victims of the war and laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This is also the day when the Austrian Armed Forces recruits are sworn in.

Additionally, military celebrations typically occur at Vienna’s Heldenplatz and many museums offer free or discounted entry.

READ MORE: What is Austrian National Day and why is it celebrated?

Wind those clocks

After a colder than usual summer which felt a little disappointing, winter is on its way. It’s hard to believe we’re already heading into the last part of the year, but here we are.

From Saturday, October 29th to Sunday, October 30th, clocks in Austria will be set to wintertime. So at 3 am, the clock will go back one hour to Central European Time (CET).

The good news is that we all get an extra hour of sleep. The bad news is that it will get darker earlier in the evening.

Unpack the jacket

You might have kept the cold at bay with a light jumper or sweater in September, but October is the month when winter starts to rear its chilly head.

The average temperatures in Austria are between 7°C and 15°C, depending on where in the country you are.

On average, October has 11 rainy days (out of 31) and six hours of daylight per day.

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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

From public holidays, ski season and Christmas festivities to changes in transport timetable and bonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in December.

Everything that changes in Austria in December 2022

Public holidays and celebrations

Besides Christmas (December 25th) and Stephan’s Day (December 26th), December 8th, when Catholics celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (Mariä Empfängnis), is also a bank holiday in Austria.

Of course, there are also several celebratory dates in December. For example, every Sunday until Christmas is an Advent Sunday, and Austrian families commemorate it in many ways, including lighting up candles.

On December 4th, there is Barbaratag, while on December 5th Krampus pays his visit to Austrian villages and cities. On the next day, December 6th, it’s time for St Nikolaus to bring chocolate and tangerines to children who were nice during the year.

Christmas Eve, Day, and St Stephen’s Day (December 24th, 25th and 26th) are important dates for Austrian traditions.

READ ALSO: Austrian Christmas traditions: The festive dates you need to know

Influenza vaccination appointments

The City of Vienna has made available 64,000 influenza vaccination appointments for December in the city’s vaccination centres and those of the ÖGK. 

The City of Vienna is investing a total of €9.9 million to be able to offer the flu vaccination campaign in Vienna free of charge again this year.  The campaign will run until the end of the year unless an extension becomes necessary due to high demand. 

The influenza vaccination campaign focuses on people aged over 65. This is to avoid multiple exposures to Covid-19 and the “real flu”. Chronically ill people, children and health or care workers are also among the priority target groups. However, influenza vaccination is also recommended to all other people.

READ ALSO: Masks against Covid and flu: What’s ahead for Austria this winter

Will it or won’t it?

On December 8th, the EU Council is set to vote on whether or not Croatia, which since 2013 has been a member of the bloc, should also join the Schengen zone, effectively eliminating border controls between it and other member states Slovenia and Hungary.

Austria has had reservations about expanding the Schengen area and the country’s official vote is still not known, also concerning the entrance of Bulgaria and Romania to the borderless zone.

Train services are changing

Austria’s train transport company ÖBB has a new timetable from December 11th 2022, focusing on tourist destinations and more connections. However, prices will generally increase – though international trips could become cheaper.

On average, tickets in the second class will become 3.9 percent more expensive, though the earlier you book, the cheaper the journey.

New connections in the Nightjet night trains include Stuttgart and Baden-Württemberg.

Popular destinations will be expanded, and the EuroNight Vienna – Graz – Split will bring holiday travellers to the Croatian Adriatic coast from May to October three times a week.

ÖBB said it also focuses on tourist connection in its daytime traffic. For example, the direct IC connection from Vienna to Salzkammergut to Bad Ischl, Hallstatt and Stainach-Irdning will be offered daily.

You can read more about changes HERE.

Nursing staff to get an extra payment

Some 150,000 employees in the care sector will receive a bonus of €2,000 gross (for those working full-time). In addition, Austrian provinces are free to add cash to that amount, and Lower Austria will pay an additional tax-free bonus of €500 to more than 23,000 nursing and care workers. 

The payment should come as a salary in December. Also, in December, Austrian workers usually get their 14th payment, the Christmas salary.

READ ALSO: Health care reform: Austria to give €2,000 bonus to nursing staff

Ski season begins

December is also when the skiing season officially begins in Austria, even though some ski resorts have already been open by the end of November, including the famous Kitzbühel resort.  

On most, though, the season only starts (or the high season) by December, sometimes as late as December 24th. 

READ ALSO: How to save money and still go skiing in Austria

Christmas markets

Christmas markets are open during most of December and are a great way to enjoy the season. Most have already opened during November, but it’s during Christmas that they shine and attract thousands of visitors.

READ ALSO: IN PICTURES: A guide to the main Christmas Markets in Austria

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