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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: When will Vienna drop the mask requirement for public transport?

For several months, the Austrian capital has been the only province with a strict FFP2 mask mandate in public transport. But, with federal measures dropping soon, will Vienna abolish its face masks?

vienna tram wiener Linien public transport
Vienna has a mask mandate for its public transport (Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash)

The “Viennese way” has been a controversial part of Austria’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, as the capital often used its prerogative to have stricter rules than the federal government. However, with Covid-19 numbers dropping, all but one Viennese restriction has been lifted: the mandatory use of FFP2 masks in public transport.

For months now, people riding public transport from Bregenz to Eisenstadt have been able to do so without wearing a mask – but that is not the case in Vienna. 

READ ALSO: Austria recommends 4th Covid vaccine dose for everyone over 12

In the capital, Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) insisted that masks were necessary to contain the pandemic, especially during the winter, when other respiratory infections have afflicted the population.

But the stricter measures have been criticised even by experts recently, as some Austrian epidemiologists claimed they were “no longer understandable”

Earlier this month, Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) announced that the country would drop all Covid restrictions by the end of June. As a result, as of May, there will no longer be a mask requirement in hospitals, nursing homes and doctor’s offices, as reported.

READ ALSO: Austria to drop all Covid restrictions by the end of June

Vienna, however, could keep its restrictions – but not forever. The Covid Measures Act, which allowed provinces to opt for stricter guidelines if they deemed necessary, will expire in July. There is, therefore, a deadline for the Viennese way.  

Will Vienna drop its mask requirements sooner?

Vienna could, of course, drop its stricter restrictions earlier than the deadline. The capital’s Act with the FFP2 mask mandate in public transport is set to expire on February 28th. The city could extend it – as it has done countless times before – but it could also let it expire, dropping the mask obligation starting in March.

This Wednesday, February 8th, the City of Vienna will discuss the further course of action in the fight against the coronavirus. Mayor Ludwig is set to meet with Covid experts at City Hall and the main point of discussion is the future of the mask mandate, Austrian media has reported.

READ ALSO: Long Covid: What support is available in Austria?

The City could also discuss other stricter measures it currently has, including the mandatory PCR test for people visiting the elderly and sick and the rule mandating hospital staff to test every week.

The measures that will continue to apply in March should be announced soon. If the city abolishes the mask requirement in the public transport system, the operators could voluntarily include it in their house rules, but it is unlikely that they would do so. 

Tram, bus and metro operator Wiener Linien told broadcaster ORF that t would only impose a mask requirement in line with regulations. ÖBB also said it would adopt the province rules.

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VIENNA

IN PICTURES: the best outdoor pools in Vienna

Summer is almost here, and the pool season has started in Vienna. Here are six of the city's best ones that you should definitely visit.

IN PICTURES: the best outdoor pools in Vienna

Schönbrunner Bad

If you want to enjoy swimming in green nature and maybe combine it with a visit to Schönbrunn castle and gardens, this is the place to go.

The main pool is 50 meters long and offers space for both people who want to do sport swimming and those who want to swim more relaxed. Besides the sports swimming pool, the place also offers a kids pool, a beach volleyball court, and a small fitness studio.

READ ALSO: The German language you need for summer in Austria

If you want to relax, you can enjoy the sun terrace, which also offers shade, or the indoor rest areas.

The pool is open from 8:30 am to 9 pm during the summer months, and a standard daily entry costs €19, since this swimming pool is a private one and does not belong to the city. 

You can book your entry online here. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Schafbergbad 

This is one of the city’s most popular public pools, offering great facilities and amazing views over the city. It is located on a hill on the outskirts of Währing.

The sports swimming pool is 50 metres long, and in the area you will also find a children’s pool with water slides and play areas, a volleyball court, table tennis court, a kiosk where you can eat, and a small fitness studio.

The pool is open from 9 am to 7:30 pm during the week and it opens at 8 am on weekends and holidays.

The standard price for a daily ticket for an adult is €7.60.

You can read more about the pool here

READ MORE: 4 beautiful lakes you can easily reach from Vienna by public transport

Krapfenwaldbad 

This public pool from the city offers espectaular views over Vienna from its hilly location in Ottakring.

Here you can enjoy swimming in a 50-metre-long pool, play volleyball or table tennis, or just lie outside in one of the adjustable sun chairs. There is, of course, also a swimming pool for children, a smaller fitness studio, and other facilities.

The standard price for a daily ticket for an adult is €7.60, and you can read more about the place here.

The pool is open from 9 am to 7:30 pm during the week. On weekends and holidays it opens at 8 am.

 
 
 
 
 
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Strandbad Gänsehäufel

Since the beginning of the 20th century, this has been one of Vienna’s most popular public bathing spots.

This beach bath is located on the Danube Island, and you can choose between enjoying some of the area’s natural beaches at the shore of the Danube or their pools.

The area also offers a water slide, mini golf establishment, beach volleyball court, table tennis tables, and much more.

The facilities are open from 9 am to 7:30 pm during the week and it opens at 8 am on weekends and holidays. A standard daily ticket for an adult costs €7.60.

Read more about what they are offering here

READ ALSO: Where in and around Vienna can I pick strawberries?

Kongressbad

Kongressbad is one of the city’s oldest public swimming pools. It takes you back in time with its facility buildings from the end of the 1920s, although of course modernised, so do not worry.

Here you can enjoy sport swimming, an adventure pool, a waterslide, a football court, volleyball courts, or why not a buffet in the restaurant.

Kongressbad is open from 9 am to 7:30 pm during the week and it opens at 8 am on weekends and holidays. The standard price for a daily ticket for an adult costs €7.60, and you can read more about what Kongressbad has to offer here. 

 
 
 
 
 
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Neuwaldegger Bad

Neuwaldegger Bad is a private and family-owned swimming area, located right on the edge of the forest in Neuwaldegg, on the outskirts of Hernals

The swimming pool is large and divided into two parts, one for swimming and one for playing. The area also offers volleyball courts, table tennis tables, and a huge green space for picnics and sunbathing.

A specialty of the place is the restaurant, where the owner prepares home-cooked meals.

The area is open daily from 9 am to 6:30 pm, and a daily entry ticket for an adult costs €19.50.

Read more about the swimming pool here. 

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