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COVID-19 RULES

The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria

Austria has removed most of its restrictions, which means residents and visitors will be able to enjoy the Easter holidays with very few measures still in place.

The latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria
After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, Austrians will be able to celebrate easter in the traditional markets (Photo by Bianca Ackermann on Unsplash)

Note: this article is no longer up to date. Check here for the latest coronavirus restrictions in Austria.

The Austrian government has removed most of the coronavirus restrictions this week, including mandatory masks in many indoor places.

As coronavirus case numbers and hospitalisations decrease, people in Austria will be able to enjoy a relatively ‘normal’ Easter – and with great weather too. According to Austria’s weather institute, the country will see temperatures up to 16 degrees (61 F) on Sunday.

READ ALSO: Easter holidays: What to expect if you are coming to Austria

Here’s a rundown of the current Covid-19 restrictions in place in Austria.

FFP2 mask mandate

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask now only applies in enclosed spaces of hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, and customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets and administrative buildings.

The mask mandate has been dropped in enclosed places like gyms, restaurants and bars, and cultural establishments, but masks are still recommended.

The 3G rule

A 3G rule (proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, recently recovered from the disease or has a negative test) is only needed for visitors, employees and service providers in hospitals and care homes.

In Vienna, on the other hand, the rules are stricter. Visitors and workers need to have the 3G proof plus a negative PCR test. However, the city has dropped 2G rules for gastronomy and nightclubs – the only places where it was still required to show proof of vaccination or recovery.

Green passport

The period of validity of vaccination certificates for the third dose (booster shot) has been extended to 365 days.

Isolation after a positive test

After the fifth day of isolation and at least 48 hours without symptoms, you can end quarantine for mild or asymptomatic cases. However, there is a “traffic restriction” for another five days, with a mask mandate and no entry permitted in gastronomy venues, health and care homes, and events during this period.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in Austria

In order to obtain an early lifting of the restrictions, a free PCR test can be carried out. If the test is negative or with a CT value (short for Cycle Threshold and is the gold standard for detecting Covid-19) above 30, the isolation can be lifted. 

If the value is below 30, then you must remain in isolation. 

Vienna doesn’t follow the ‘traffic restriction’, so the only way to end the 10-day isolation period is with a PCR test (negative or CT value below 30) after symptom-free two days.

You can find more information on federal restrictions on the government website here.

And there is more information on Vienna measures on Vienna City website.

Editor’s note: A version of this article previously stated that isolation could be lifted if the CT value was below 30. This is incorrect. 

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COVID-19 VACCINES

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria's autumn Covid-19 plan includes a fourth Covid-19 dose to all those older than 12 and the Health Ministry doesn't rule out further measures, especially a return of the mask mandate.

Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

Austria’s Health Ministry and the country’s National Immunisation Panel (NIG) have recommended a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population ahead of autumn.

Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) and physician Herwig Kollaritsch of the Immunisation Panel have requested people take the vaccination before the cold months, reiterating that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and protects against more severe courses of the disease.

“You can do a lot before autumn. Don’t wait until the numbers rise. Get vaccinated, take the booster shots”, Kollaritsch said in a press conference this Wednesday, August 31st.

READ ALSO: LATEST: The Covid rules across Austria from August 2022

The previous recommendation was only for people older than 60 or those in risk groups. “After there was already the booster recommendation for the vulnerable and over 60-year-olds over the summer, all other groups are to get a booster in the coming weeks,” the health minister said.

Only 58.9 percent of the population is currently sufficiently vaccinated, as per the recommendation of the National Immunisation Panel (NIG) – which for the majority of the population is three doses – or if they’ve had Covid then two doses and a recent recovered status.

New measures ahead of autumn

The health minister stopped short of announcing new Covid-19 measures for autumn.

When he announced the end of the mask mandate in the country back in May, Rauch had said the suspension would be “temporary” and masks were likely to return after summer, depending on the pandemic, particularly on hospitalisation numbers.

Currently, masks are obligatory in the health sector and on public transport in Vienna.

“We evaluate the situation weekly by talking with the hospital heads in the states. We have a very good view of the Covid-19 data, and we don’t rule out bringing measures back in the future”, he said.

READ ALSO: Vienna extends stricter Covid-19 rules until late October

He added: “It is likely that in the autumn, compulsory masks will again be useful and necessary in certain areas such as public transport or supermarkets,”.

For now, though, the minister said he recommends people to get vaccinated, wear masks where social distancing is not possible, and get tested regularly – even if those measures are not mandatory.

When should you get vaccinated?

The fourth vaccination should come a minimum of four months after the third one (or after a Covid-19 infection) but not after six months of the third dose (regardless of whether or not the person has had an infection after the last vaccine), according to the NIG.

READ ALSO: Reader question: Which Austrian states will allow Covid-infected teachers in classrooms?

For children between five and eleven years of age, the basic immunisation – which consists of three vaccinations – should be completed by the start of school at the latest; no booster vaccination is currently recommended in this age group.

Austria expects vaccines adapted to the omicron variant to arrive in the country before the end of September, the health minister said.

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