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

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

People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)
People enjoy sunny weather in Vienna's Stadtpark, Austria. (Photo by JOE KLAMAR / AFP)

Further opening steps for June 10th  to be announced at noon

Further opening steps for June 10th will be announced in Austria around noon. Shops will be able to let in more customers with distance restrictions significantly reduced from 20 to ten square meters per customer, according to Der Standard newspaper citing “government circles”. The curfew will be extended to midnight. A maximum of eight instead of the previous four people (excluding children) will be able to sit at one table in the interior of bars and restaurants. Outside, the number of people will be increased from ten to 16. 

READ MORE: Austria set to further relax coronavirus measures on June 10th

Politician calls for end of entry registration at borders

ÖVP Salzburg politician Wilfried Haslauer also wants the government to discuss ending entry registration at the borders, saying it is leading to unnecessary traffic jams and “enormous expenditure”. 

Czech Republic opens borders to tourists who have been vaccinated at least once

The Czech Republic will open its borders to Austrian tourists with at least one vaccination dose on Monday. People who have already been vaccinated can enter the country without restrictions.  Vaccination certificates from Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will be recognised in the Czech Republic. In addition, restaurants in the Czech Republic will again be able to receive guests inside from Monday.

READ MORE: Austria’s easing of border restrictions leads to chaos at Vienna airport

Russia refused to allow flight from Vienna to Moscow 

Russia refused permission for a plane travelling from Vienna to Moscow to change its flight route to avoid Belarus airspace, Der Standard newspaper reports. As a consequence AUA had to cancel  the scheduled flight OS601 from Vienna to Moscow planned for Thursday morning. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg called the Russian reaction “incomprehensible”. The state-owned Belarusian airline Belavia landed and took off in Vienna on Wednesday, but Belavia has now  stopped its flights to Austria and other EU countries.

Austria’s National Vaccination Committee backs vaccine for children

The European Medical Agency is expected to decide on Friday whether to approve the Biontech/Pfizer vaccine. Pediatrician Albrecht Prieler, who is a member of Austria’s National Vaccination Committee (NIG) said it was important children should be protected with a Covid-19 vaccination as soon as possible. He said even if if Covid-19 was usually milder in children, there was still a “residual risk” of a severe course, adding without vaccinating children it will “never be possible” to achieve herd immunity, according to the Wiener Zeitung newspaper.

READ MORE: Is Austria moving towards vaccinating children against Covid

Warmer weather on the horizon

It is finally about to get warmer in Austria after a record-breaking spell of cold weather this spring, broadcaster ORF promises. The spring has not been this cold since 1991 and 1996, it reports, though the temperatures would have been considered normal in the 1960s and 70s.  In Klagenfurt and on the Loibl pass in Carinthia, May was one of the rainiest ever since records began. Unusually large amounts of mountain snow also meant there were fewer thunderstorms this year in May.

Seven day incidence at 41

Austria’s seven-day incidence, i.e. the number of new infections with the coronavirus in the past seven days per 100,000 inhabitants, is 41.1 according to the AGES database. In all federal states, the number is now well below 100 – with Vorarlberg (83.3) and Burgenland (21.4) having the highest and lowest values, respectively.

Changes to debt capital tax law proposed

Finance Minister Blümel wants to treat debt capital in the same way as equity in terms of tax law. Blümel said he wants to create more resilience. At a press conference on Thursday he said the equity ratio of the companies should increase by an average of two percentage points – from 36 to up to 38 percent, the Wiener Zeitung newspaper reports . The Austrian Chamber of Commerce (WKÖ) welcomes the proposals, but the Chamber of Labour (AK), and the SPÖ  said only large, profitable companies with good equity capital benefit from the measure and would have to pay fewer taxes. 

People still want to work in an office despite boom in home working

People still want to work in an office despite the rise of home working, according to Bruno Ettenauer, head of S Immo AG in Die Presse  newspaper. He says office properties in good locations will remain “very attractive” for investors, while Franz Jurkowitsch, CEO of the real estate developer Warimpex, has not noticed any massive slumps in the office market either, saying the pandemic has primarily affected the hotel and commercial property asset classes. 

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

Heating prices to double, mask requirements in (some) schools, presidential elections and more news from Austria on Tuesday.

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

District heating to become 92 percent more expensive in Vienna

The 92 percent price increase for district heating has been confirmed and will be valid starting September 1st, daily Der Standard reported.

Vienna’s district heating system warms more than 440,000 households and 120 major customers (such as public buildings) using natural gas and waste incineration.

Wien Energie, the state-run company that provides the service in the capital, had announced plans for the increase in June. Finance City Councilor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) confirmed that the changes were approved internally and by the government.

Hanke said the city already had measures to relieve residents, such as a €250 million “energy support” package and that Vienna would also work on saving energy. For example, the Christmas lights will only shine later in the season this year, he said.

READ ALSO: Energy crisis: What to do in case of a power outage in Austria

Austria launches new site to combat online hate

After the suicide of doctor Lisa-Maria Kellermayr, who was a target of online hate for defending coronavirus measures and vaccines, Austria is launching a new campaign to help victims of online violence.

The country already offers free psychosocial and legal assistance, but a new website has all information on how the support works and has become a centre to help victims of online hate.

The campaign will also use social media advertising, ads in public transport and doctors and partnership with influencers to help reach potential victims.

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

Schools bring back mask requirements in Vienna

Private kindergartens and universities in Vienna are tightening their Covid-19 regulations, Kurier news site reported.

While Austria has dropped most of its restrictions, including mandatory FFP2 masks in schools and kindergartens, some private educational institutions have decided to ask people to wear masks sometimes for class and sometimes for visitors who are going to the schools for a short time (to pick up a child, for example).

They reason that it is no longer possible to check if people are corona-positive or not. Austria has removed quarantine requirements for people who test positive for coronavirus, though they must wear masks when going indoors. Still, it is impossible to check if those who tested positive are indeed wearing masks.

In many Viennese universities, including the University of Vienna, FFP2 masks must continue to be worn. Additionally, the university asks that people who have tested positive not attend class.

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

Run for presidential elections starts

Presidential candidates are now looking for supporters to back their candidacy officially, Die Presse reported.

In Austria, a candidate needs to gather at least 6,000 declarations of support to be eligible. The deadline for 2022 is September 2nd, and the ballot is on October 9th. Incumbent Alexander Van der Bellen and the main opposition, the FPÖ-backed candidate Walter Rosenkranz, will likely overcome this hurdle easily.

Other candidates include MFG boss Michael Brunner, former FPÖ politician Gerald Grosz and singer Dominik Wlazny.

Only people allowed to vote for president in Austria (foreigners have no voting rights in federal elections) can sign their support for a candidate. The presidential candidates also need to pay a cost contribution of €3,600 for their ticket to the ballot.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How does Austria’s presidential election work?

Sunny Tuesday in most of Austria

Austria will see plenty of sunshine this Tuesday, according to the country’s meteorologic institute ZAMG. Some areas will be cloudy in the afternoon, but those will dissolve by the evening.

The day will be dry, with afternoon temperatures between 22C and 30C.

In Vienna, sun and clouds alternate during the day, and it is unlikely that there will be any rain. Temperatures should stay around 27C and then drop to around 15C in the evening.

READ ALSO: Five Austrian destinations you can reach by train to escape the heat