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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Find out what's going on in Austria on Wednesday with The Local's short roundup of today's important news.

It has been the worst May for 25 years. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
It has been the coldest May for 25 years. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Further easing of restrictions planned

A further easing of Austria’s pandemic restrictions is expected on June 10th, broadcaster ORF reports.

According to the Minister of Health, the plan is to relax the mask requirement, move the curfew back to midnight, double the number of people per table at restaurants and allow larger celebrations such as weddings. The opening steps of course depend on how the situation in Austria progresses. 

Austria’s Green Pass to be launched 

Austria’s governing coalition (ÖVP and Greens) hopes to launch its Green Pass on Wednesday at a special session of the National Council.

The change in the law forms the legal basis for electronic proof of vaccination, recovery or testing to be provided by means of a QR code. The opposition SPÖ have signalled they will approve the legislation, meaning the Federal Council is unlikely to block it, ORF reports 

READ MORE: Austria to implement nationwide immunity card by mid-May

Free quarantine for tourists in Vienna

Vienna will offer free quarantine for tourists, if they become infected during a stay in the capital and need to isolate, at a location at the Steinhof and the Hotel de France, broadcaster ORF reports. Tourists can also use the city’s PCR tests and the Wien Gurgelt offer free of charge. 

READ MORE: How can tourists and visitors in Austria get a free Covid test?

The Hotel Sacher, the Palais Hansen Kempinski and the Hotel Park Hyatt also offer tests for guests in-house. It reports Vienna’s cultural establishment reports good ticket sales.

READ MORE: How can tourists and visitors in Austria get a free covid test

Coldest May since 1996

It has been the coldest May in Austria since 1996, the Krone newspaper reports. The weather is only expected to improve at the beginning of June. 

Austria bans direct flights from UK

As The Local reported yesterday, Austria has decided  to ban direct flights from the UK from June 1st due to concerns over the so called Indian variant. In practice, this means only Austrian citizens and residents can enter the country from the UK. 

READ MORE: Austria to reinstate ban on direct flights from UK

Unemployment falls in Styria

Unemployment has fallen rapidly in Styria since Austria opened up on May 19th, broadcaster ORF reports. Karl-Heinz Snobe, Managing Director of the Styrian Employment Service said 23 percent fewer people were unemployed since the beginning of May. 

Seven day incidence at 45.3

The seven-day incidence, or the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 45.3. In all federal states the number is now well below 100 – with Vorarlberg (73.8) and Burgenland (27.2) having the highest and lowest values ​​respectively.

Survey finds Kurz should resign if he is indicted

A majority of the Austrian population believe Chancellor Sebastian Kurz should resign if he is found to have given false testimony to the Ibiza committee. The Krone newspaper reports 58 percent of those questioned said Kurz should resign if indicted.

READ MORE: Austrian Chancellor Kurz sees image dented as he faces investigations

Reform package for sentencing 

Austria’s Justice Minister Zadic [Greens] presented a first reform package with Interior Minister Nehammer [ÖVP] following criticism from The European Court of Human Rights over sentencing for people with mental illness and younger people. There will also be longer sentencing for re-offenders involved with terrorism, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports 

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TODAY IN AUSTRIA

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

No more '3G' to enter Austria, swimming lakes warm up, compulsory vaccination debate returns and more news on Monday.

Today in Austria: A roundup of the latest news on Monday

No more testing or proof of vaccination to come into Austria

From today (Monday 16 May), all testing/vaccination requirements to enter Austria will be removed. It is possible to come to Austria from all countries in the world without showing a negative test or proof of vaccination.

A new entry regulation was published last week  by the Ministry of Health. The cancellation of entry checks was justified by the current epidemiological situation.

There is still the possibility for countries to be classed as virus variant areas, however at present no country is currently on the list of these areas. Should a new virus variant emerge, the obligation to test, register and quarantine could be quickly imposed again, broadcaster ORF reports.

Austria’s lakes warm up for swimming

Warm temperatures of over 30 degrees in May mean that Austria’s swimming lakes are ready for use, with temperatures exceeding the 20-degree mark in the Alte Donau in Vienna, the Aubad Tulln and the Stubenbergsee in Styria. Some Carinthian lakes are already at 19 degrees, such as Lake Faak and Lake Pressegger, broadcaster ORF reports. 

READ MORE: The best lakes and swimming spots in Austria

Nehammer unanimously elected leader of the ÖVP

As The Local reported at the weekend, Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer has been formally elected leader of the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with 100 percent of the vote. 

The heads of the ÖVP traditionally tend to get high results in their first election as chairman. Kurz was elected party leader in 2017 with 98.7 percent of the vote. However, there has never been a 100 percent result in a first-time election until now.

READ MORE: Austria’s Nehammer formally elected party leader in unanimous vote

Compulsory vaccination law could come into force automatically in June

An ordinance suspending Austria’s compulsory vaccination law will expire at the end of May, making it possible in theory that random penalties for remaining unvaccinated could be put in place at the start of June. 

The law  was introduced in February, even though the technical requirements for it to be enacted were not in place. Before a single person was fined, the Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) suspended the law with an ordinance.

To create a new ordinance or extend the existing one stopping people from being fined, Rauch must await  the report of the vaccination commission.

This will assess from a medical and legal point of view whether the Vaccination Act is suitable and useful. In a previous report of the commission, it said there were arguments for and against mandatory vaccination for those who were completely unvaccinated.

Der Standard reports there is little political support for compulsory vaccination and says there are still technical problems regarding automated fines. According to the Ministry of Health, the infrastructure should be completed in June.

READ MORE:

Car reduction scheme stalls 
A plan to significantly reduce traffic in Vienna’s city centre will probably not be implemented as planned in 2022. Vienna wanted to set up surveillance cameras limiting access to the city’s First District by car to residents.

At present, around 50,000 cars are registered driving in and out of the historic centre every working day. 

Der Standard newspaper reports that it has information that the new regulation will not come into force this year as planned. The necessary legislation has not been passed and there are concerns about data protection. 

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