The central square in Vienna, in front of the St Stephen Cathedral

Austria is getting ready to ease Covid restrictions

Austria is getting ready to ease Covid restrictions

After the fourth wave of the pandemic has started to die down, authorities have decided to turn the general lockdown into a lockdown for the unvaccinated

With the fourth wave of the pandemic dying down, Austria is getting ready to ease the general lockdown restrictions, with new measures coming into effect on 12 December. The current social distancing measures were adopted on 22 November, just after the peak in Covid cases at 15,800 in a single day. After the measures were introduced, infection rates started a sharp decline and currently sit at around 4,000 cases.

The fourth wave of the pandemic hit Austria pretty hard and current infection rates are nothing to scoff at. A complete reopening of the economy would quite possibly reignite the spread of the disease. Thus, authorities are taking the cautious approach and turning the general lockdown into a lockdown for the unvaccinated

Here are the new measures valid in Austria as of 12 December

People who have not taken the shot are allowed to leave their living area only for essential reasons, like groceries, work and training. Furthermore, the unvaccinated can go out for religious practices, any medical and veterinary visits, mental relaxation in the outdoors, to vote or to participate in demonstrations. Also, everyone has the right to travel inside Austria and abroad.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the restrictions for the unvaccinated, while teens that have not had the jab have the right to go to school with the so-called ninja pass (PCR test).

Everyone must wear an FFP2 mask on public transport at all times, as well as in closed spaces, like stores. Retail establishments, as well as services that are close to the body (hair salons, massages, etc.), are restricted to people who have not taken the vaccine.

Nightlife, events and gatherings

For the vaccinated and recovered, the government has instituted an 11 PM curfew for restaurants. As a general rule of thumb, restaurants can only allow vaccinated and recovered people in, both indoors and outdoors. They also have to do contact tracing and everyone is obligated to wear a mask at all times, except when sitting at a table.

The same goes for Christmas markets, with the adage that there is a limit of 300 people that can be within a Christmas market area.

The vaccinated and recovered can also hold gatherings of up to 2,000 people if they have assigned seats. An important note is that a meeting of over 250 people requires the authorities’ permission. For cultural events, held with assigned seats outdoors, that number goes up to 4,000.



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