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LIVING IN AUSTRIA

EXPLAINED: Everything that changes in Austria in November 2021

Covid rules are changing, and there are also new requirements for motorists, Christmas markets, and political developments to be aware of in Austria this November.

Hallstatt Austria autumn mountains
It's not just the leaves and clocks that change when October turns to Novvember. Photo: Tomáš Malík/Unsplash

Covid-19 rule changes

There are a lot of these on the cards, but here’s a summary of the key ones we know about:

  • From November 1st, proof of 3G (vaccination, recovery, or a negative Covid test) will be required to enter workplaces, unless you have no possibility of coming into contact with others. There’s a transition period until November 14th, during which you can instead where an FFP2 mask if you do not have 3G proof, but after that you and your employer could face fines if you don’t follow the new rule.
  • From November 8th, Styria will have tighter Covid restrictions including a 2G entry rule (only proof of vaccination or recovery accepted) for evening dining and bars, and an FFP2 mandate in more areas
  • From November 15th, the 3G rule will also apply on cable cars, unless you are a local resident using them like public transport.

Be aware that these could change further depending how the Covid situation develops. We’ll keep you updated with the latest changes to Austria’s Covid-19 rules on The Local, and you can find more details on the November changes at the link below:

Sebastian Kurz to lose parliamentary immunity

In November we may also see the next stages of corruption investigations into ex-Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.

His move to Austria’s National Council means he currently has parliamentary immunity from prosecution, and even though both Kurz and his party (the governing centre-right ÖVP) have said that the immunity should be lifted, this can only come into effect during the next plenary session of the National Council (November 16th to 19th).

Christmas markets

The festive season starts in November in Austria, with the first Christmas markets opening up midway through the month. A 3G requirement will be in place at the markets.

In Vienna, markets will open up in several locations on November 12th, including at the Vienna Rathaus, the Alten AKH university campus, Stephansplatz and Spittelberg, followed by markets at the Türkenschanzpark on November 13th, at Maria-Theresien-Platz on the 17th, at Belvedere Palace on November 19th, and at Schönbrunn Castle on November 20th.

Innsbruck’s old town Christmas market opens on November 15th, and you can visit the Panorama Christmas Market at Hungerburg from November 27th.

Salzburg’s Christkindlmarkt at Residenzplatz and the markets at Schloss Hellbrunn and Mirabellplatz kick off on November 18th, with another opening at the Hohensalzburg Fortress from November 26th.

In Graz, the festivities start in the Hauptplatz in front of the Rathaus, on the Glockenspielplatz and around the Franciscan Church from November 19th.

And in Linz, markets open on the main square and at Volksgarten on November 20th.

Winter tires

Attention, car owners: from November 1st, winter tires need to be used in “wintry” conditions – i.e. if there is snow, slush or ice.

When driving on in snow, mud or ice, cars must be fitted with winter tires or, alternatively, have snow chains fitted on at least two wheels.

Buy the 2022 vignette

More news for motorists. You can buy your 2022 vignette – the small toll sticker you need in order to drive on most of Austria’s motorways – starting from November, although it is only valid from December 1st.

Vignettes are available at around 6,000 outlets across the country, so anyone who fails to get one will have few excuses. A list of outlets is available here. This year the sticker is an apricot colour, and it will cost €93.80 for drivers and €37.20 for motorcyclists.

PayPal business fees for UK will rise 

One for businesses to keep in mind: PayPal is introducing new fees for payments between businesses in the UK and those in the rest of Europe following Brexit. From November 10th, payments between the European Economic Area (EEA) and British businesses will be charged a 1.29 percent fee. 

The current rate is around 0.5 percent. That has remained unchanged since before the UK left the EU Customs Union and Single Market. But PayPal said it was now facing extra costs, such as the rise in interchange fees between the UK and EEA.

Payments between EU and associated state countries and countries outside the EU are charged a 1.99 percent fee. Within the EU the fee for businesses is 0.5 percent. 

Public holidays

November 1st is a national public holiday in Austria, and three states have another holiday this month: November 11th in Burgenland; November 15th in Lower Austria and Vienna. The latter three holidays most likely won’t get you the day off work, but it depends on your job. Schools and government authorities are usually closed on these days.

If you’re new in Austria or simply inclined to forget the quirks of life here, consider this your reminder: most shops will be closed on national public holidays, and you can expect queues shortly before closing time the day before, so try to stock up in advance.

Clocks go back

Daylight saving time will end at 3am on October 31st, but make sure to turn your clocks back in time for November. This means more light in the mornings, but an earlier sunset.

The European Parliament voted in 2019 to end the practice of changing the clocks forward in spring and back in autumn from 2021. However, it is up to each member state to decide, and Austria is still following the clock changes.

Member comments

  1. Is monoclonal antibody infusion available in Austria for tourists who test positive and have been advised by their home dr. that they should seek it as treatment?

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CRIME

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

Following the suicide of an Austrian doctor who received threats from Covid-19 anti-vaccination activists, the government has now launched a new campaign to help victims of online abuse.

EXPLAINED: What to do if you experience online abuse in Austria

The Austrian medical community was left in shock in July when Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, a local doctor in Seewalchen am Attersee in Upper Austria, took her own life following months of online abuse.

Kellermayr, 36, had been targeted by anti-vaccination activists and Covid-19 conspiracy theorists for her out-spoken support of vaccines, and the abuse even included death threats. 

Her death prompted candlelight vigils and demonstrations in Vienna and the tragic story was picked up by news outlets around the world.

READ MORE: How Austria’s attempt to make vaccines mandatory changed the country

This led to calls for tighter laws against online bullying and the ability for perpetrators to be prosecuted in other EU countries – particularly as at least two of the people who are believed to have targeted Kellermayr are based in Germany, according to the Guardian.

The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) has even called for the creation of a special public prosecutor’s office to deal with “hate-on-the-net”, but this has been rejected by prosecutors and other political parties, as reported by ORF.

Instead, the Federal Justice Department has launched a new information campaign, website and hotline to help people dealing with online abuse.

FOR MEMBERS: What happens if you get arrested in Austria?

What is in the new campaign?

Austria’s Justice Minister Alma Zadic (Greens) said they have launched the campaign to raise awareness about the issue and to inform victims about the support available.

Zadic said: “It is important to me that those affected know that they are not alone in this situation and that the judiciary supports them with free psychological and legal process support.”

“You don’t have to cope alone with the extraordinary burdens that criminal proceedings can entail, for example through confrontation with the perpetrators.”

READ ALSO: Austria in shock over doctor’s suicide following anti-vax abuse

Part of the support package is the new website Hilfe bei Gewalt (Help with Violence), which details how to access help from the authorities, as well as secure free legal advice and representation from a lawyer.

The website states the service is for victims of bullying and/or hate online, defamation, stalking, terrorism, incitement, sexual violence and robbery.

The service is designed to be anonymous with options to contact the Justice Department by phone or via a chat box. The website also lists contact details for regional support services in all provinces across Austria. 

The free (kostenlos) hotline for Hilfe bei Gewalt is 0800 112 112.

Useful links

Hilfe bei Gewalt

Austrian Federal Justice Department

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