Everything that changes in Austria in May 2023

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Everything that changes in Austria in May 2023
Autumn is a great time for visiting a Heuriger. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

From the changes in Covid regulations to increased fines for traffic violations, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in May.


End of mask mandate in the health sector

According to the Austrian government, people are still required (until April 30th) to wear an FFP2 mask when they are in "health sector" establishments, which includes hospitals, convalescent homes, elderly and nursing homes, and places where health and care services are provided. 

This means that if someone visits their GP, for example, they will be required to wear a mask and may be asked to leave and buy one if they are not wearing it. Although some readers of The Local have told us that they've noticed people without masks in these areas, masks are still technically mandatory until the requirement drops on May 1st. 

From May onwards, there will be no mask requirement in hospitals, nursing homes, and doctor's offices.

Meanwhile, people in risk groups will be allowed to take time off work if they feel they would not be adequately protected at the workplace (and working from home is not an option) until the end of April.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Do I still have to wear a face mask due to Covid-19 rules in Austria?

SPÖ will choose its leadership

The SPÖ party leadership race is currently underway in Austria, with the winner becoming the party's leading candidate for the 2024 national elections, potentially becoming the next chancellor of Austria. 

The current leader of the party, Pamela Rendi-Wagner, is the leading candidate. Party members, who number almost 150,000, can vote either online or by mail from April 24th to May 10th. 

The results will be made public no earlier than May 22nd, with the chosen candidate formally elected as party leader on June 3rd. Rendi-Wagner, a 51-year-old feminist and politician from Vienna, has been the party's chairwoman since late 2018.

READ ALSO: Austrian elections: Who will be the Social Democratic Party’s chancellor candidate?


More expensive fines

On May 1st, 2023, certain parts of the 41st Motor Vehicles Act 1967 (KFG) amendment will take effect, including increased penalty amounts. 

The use of a cell phone while driving without a hands-free device will result in a €100 fine, up from the previous €50. Fines of up to €140 are possible for violations detected through distance or speed measurements. 

Violating the obligation to wear a seat belt in the car or a crash helmet on motorcycles or mopeds will result in a €50 fine, up from the previous €35, as an immediate penalty on the spot. Fines of up to €100 are possible for violations reported later. Violations can also have civil and criminal consequences, such as reduced claims for damages or insurance benefits.

READ ALSO: Austrian citizenship: Can you be rejected because of a driving offence?


Strikes and protests in Austria

The Last Generation activists are gearing up for a series of "mega weeks of action" in Vienna, starting May 2nd. 

The plan is to block important traffic junctions or streets for at least three weeks and possibly longer. The group, which now has 800 registered activists and around 100 willing to participate in sticking actions, aims to disrupt early morning traffic as much as possible with targeted street blockades that are kept secret in advance. 

This will be the third wave of such actions in Vienna, with previous ones having occurred in January and February, during which dozens of arrests were made and charges filed. The number of sympathisers of the group, loosely connected through social media, remains unknown.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why is Austria failing to reach its climate targets?



Austria will celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1st, and the Tag der Arbeit or Der Erste Mai, as the day is known in German, falls on a Monday this year. So there will be an extended holiday for people in Austria.

On Thursday, May 18th, the country will have an official holiday celebrating Jesus’ ascent into heaven, the aptly named Christi Himmelfahrt.

Of course, not every Christian holiday is an official day off in Austria (i.e. Good Friday), but prepare to do your grocery shopping ahead because most stores and supermarkets will be closed on May 18th.

Additionally, on Monday, May 29th, Austria celebrates Whit Monday - also an official federal holiday.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How to maximise your annual leave in Austria in 2023


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