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Everything that changes in Austria in March 2023

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Austria in March 2023
Spring is coming to Austria (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

From new Covid rules and new vaccination campaigns to one-off payments and the clocks going forward here are the most important changes about life in Austria in March 2023.

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No more masks on public transport in Vienna

The FFP2 mask mandate currently in place in all Vienna public transport and its stations will fall on February 28th. From March, the Austrian capital will have the same mask rules as the other provinces, so people will no longer have to wear FFP2 masks on trams, metros, and buses (plus the stations).

The stricter rules for visitors in hospitals and elderly homes, who had to present a negative PCR test, will also fall. Additionally, employees at these establishments will no longer have to undergo a weekly screening for Covid-19. 

However, the obligation to wear masks in hospitals and nursing homes would end only on April 30th, as it is a federal determination.

READ ALSO: Vienna to drop Covid face mask mandate by end of February

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Climate activism and protests

After protests in January and February, climate activists are also preparing for more action in March.

On March 3rd, the climate movement Fridays For Future will take to the streets worldwide. In Austria, the protests will occur in Vienna, Graz, Klagenfurt, Innsbruck, Kufstein, Linz, Mistelbach, Salzburg and Bregenz.

READ ALSO: Is Austria doing enough to protect children from the climate crisis?

One-off payments and deductions

Two payments and deductions are set to arrive to Austrians as government measures to cushion rising inflation in the country.

As of March 1st, employees should be able to claim a cost-of-living deduction as part of their income tax intended for low incomes amounting to up to €500. The €500 amount is valid for gains of up to €18,200 and gradually lowers as income rises. After that, anyone earning more than €24,200 is no longer entitled to it. The deduction is automatically applied.

In March, pensioners should also receive a pension payment of up to €500, with the exact value depending on the amount they receive monthly

READ ALSO: Tax cuts and bonus payments: Austria’s financial measures that will benefit people this year

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Vaccination campaigns in Austria

Austrian provinces will start vaccination campaigns for mumps-measles-rubella (MMR), given the country's increasing number of measles cases. 

Vienna has a special campaign starting February 28th and lasting through the month of March, when it increased the number of available appointments. 

The target group includes persons of all ages who have not yet been vaccinated against measles and have not undergone measles infection. In addition, the target group also includes persons who have not yet received a second vaccination or have an unknown vaccination status. In any case, vaccination should take place before entry into a care facility (crèche, kindergarten, etc.). MMR vaccination is not available during pregnancy. 

Measles-mumps-rubella vaccination is free of charge for all age groups at public vaccination centres and in the Vienna vaccination concept.

READ ALSO: Reader question: How to get a flu vaccination in Austria?

Zelensky to give a speech to the Austrian Parliament

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is set to give a virtual speech to the Austrian Parliament on March 30th. The invitation made by the parliamentary leaders has caused controversy with far-right representatives of the FPÖ party.

According to an FPÖ statement, the invitation made by ÖVP, SPÖ, Greens and NEOS representatives was "the next torpedo against our everlasting neutrality". The head of the FPÖ said that the invitation "turned the parliament as the heart of our democracy into a stage for the president of a country involved in an ever more escalating armed conflict".

READ ALSO: Four ways Austria has changed after one year of war in Ukraine

Holidays and events

There are no official national holidays in March. However, Carinthia, Styria, Tirol and Vorarlberg celebrate St. Josef's Day on March 3rd. As a result, schools and stores may be closed.

The Vinyl and Music Festival combines live music, record exchange, get-togethers and 150 exhibitors. Highlights include live music by Mella Casata and Bad Ida.

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The event occurs at the Ottakringer Brewery in Vienna on March 4th and 5th. Tickets are €15 for Saturday and €10 for Sunday. More details about the event can be found here.

READ ALSO: The best events and festivals in Austria in 2023

Temperatures are set to drop…

Even though winter has been relatively mild so far, with temperatures 1.5C above average, Austria is likely to see extreme temperature drops in March. This is due to a warming in the polar region which could bring colder winds to Europe, with temperatures possibly dropping to below zero again.

…but spring is coming

Winter is ending, and spring officially starts on March 20th with the spring equinox.

The downside to the end of winter is that you’ll lose an hour’s sleep: the 2023 time changeover to Daylight Savings is scheduled for 2 am on March 26th. The clock will be moved forward by one hour from 2 to 3 am, which means the night will be shorter. The changeover means it will be darker in the morning, but light will last longer in the evening.

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