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Hospitalisations and ICU rates are going up in Austria

Vienna is introducing stricter 2-G and 2.5-G Covid measures

Vienna is introducing stricter 2-G and 2.5-G Covid measures

Austria’s current hospitalisation and ICU rates are similar to the peak of the third wave in April

On 1 October, the local government in Vienna issued new Covid rules, stricter than the ones on the federal level. What is colloquially known as the ‘2.5-G’ and the ‘2-G’ rules are part of the new restrictions and they will apply mainly in restaurants, nightclubs and big events.

2.5-G means that people need to be vaccinated, recovered or provide a PCR test (Antigen Tests do not apply). Meanwhile, the 2-G rule means that only vaccinated or recovered people can attend. The new measures come into effect on 1 October and will last until the start of November, at the earliest.

While Austria has a relatively decent vaccination rate, with 64% of its citizens taking at least one shot of the vaccine, they are not out of the woods yet. Having more than half of your population vaccinated certainly helps, however, hospitalisation rates are going up, especially for people in Intensive Care Units (ICU).  

Hospitalisation and ICU numbers are currently at similar levels compared with April, near the peak of the third wave for Austria.

Cracking down on infection rates

The governing principle of the German-speaking countries (Austria and Germany) when it comes to access to public spaces and lifting pandemic measures has been quite similar. It is based around the ‘3-G rule’, where the Gs stand for the German geimpft (vaccinated), genesen (recovered) and getestet (tested).

While the details vary from country to country and, sometimes, from state to state, the general idea behind the rule is – if you want free access to public events, restaurants and so on, you need to be tested, vaccinated or recovered.

Recently, the school year started in Austria with a very cautious approach to health measures in the educational system. While it is too early to judge whether those were effective, several schools across the country have gone into quarantine mode since 13 September.

An attempt at a healthy mix

Here are the new COVID-19 measures in Vienna:

3-G rule:

  • Everyone aged 6 years and older needs to adhere to the 3-G rule when attending a bar, restaurant or body-related service (Massage, haircut, foot care, nail salon etc.);
  • FFP2 masks are mandatory for public transportation, museums, galleries, libraries and shops. Children between the ages of 6 and 14 and pregnant women can wear mouth and nose protection instead.

2.5-G rule:

  • Customers attending restaurants, body-related services, closed spaces in leisure facilities and hotels. Antigen tests are permitted for hotel guests from abroad, who would otherwise have to sleep on the streets;
  • Events between 26 and 500 people. These include parties, weddings, theatre, cinema, variety show, cabaret, concert hall, in a concert arena outdoors, religious institutions. Everyone who fails to meet the 2.5-G criteria is required to wear mouth and nose protection;
  • Everyone who works in retail, restaurants and body-related services. People who fall off the requirements need to wear an FFP2 mask.

2-G rule:

  • Applies to restaurants at night and events with more than 500 people. Only vaccinated or recovered people have access. There is no mask requirement.

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