Despite easing measures, the governmetn will keep the vaccine mandate in place

Austria announces general easing of COVID-19 measures

Austria announces general easing of COVID-19 measures

Vienna authorities, though, believe the move is premature and will not rush to lift measures

Today, the Austrian government announced its plans to drop most Covid-measures by 5 March, despite the current infection numbers. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein has said that this includes both health passes and access rules, with the exception of certain situations subject to higher vulnerability.

The first step in easing pandemic restrictions will start this Saturday when the federal government will lift the current restriction for restaurants, accessible only to people who have recovered from the virus or have had the vaccine.

From Saturday, the unvaccinated will be allowed in restaurants. The government has also said that past 5 March the unvaccinated will still have to take a Covid-test before entering restaurants, however, it has not specified how the rule will be enforced. Furthermore, the controversial vaccine mandate will remain in place.

Vienna is going its own way

Viennese Mayor Michael Ludwig has said that considering current hospitalisation numbers in the city, a near-total relaxation of pandemic measures is pre-mature. He has also defended the mask rule as an effective measure for slowing the spread of the disease, especially in closed doors.

Thus, Vienna will not be lifting the vaccinated or recovered rule for restaurants just yet. The mayor spoke to ORF, the Austrian broadcasting network, explaining that he hopes the city will be able to ease restrictions as soon as possible, though not as soon as 19 February.

Caution backed by popular opinion

According to a survey by the Gesundheitsdiensts der Stadt Wien (Health Service of the City of Vienna), published yesterday, most citizens are in favour of current measures for restaurants. The biggest support here came from those over 60 years old, who supported the measure by around two thirds.

Somewhat surprisingly, though, the survey revealed that around a third of vaccinated people in Vienna disagree with the vaccine mandate, in force since the start of February. While people under 30 and people over 60 were predominantly in favour of compulsory jabs, those in the middle-age groups were not so sure.



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