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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

UPDATE: Everything that changes in Austria in September 2021

From masks in schools to PCR tests and a rise in electricity prices, there are some changes taking place in Austria in September 2021.

UPDATE: Everything that changes in Austria in September 2021
The Hoher markt clock in Vienna. Photo: Wikicommons.

Here’s what you need to know.

1G on the way? 

Perhaps the biggest change which could come into effect in Austria in September – at least for the unvaccinated – is a tightening of the 3G rule. 

Covid-19 cases in Austria are rising and autumn is just around the corner, particularly due to the highly contagious Delta variant, which is now by far the most dominant strain in all parts of the country. 

One possible measure to stop the spread is to restrict certain businesses and venues only to people who have been vaccinated.

This means that people who have recovered from the virus and those who have tested negative would no longer be allowed to enter, in effect shifting Austria’s 3G rule to make it a ‘1G rule’. 

This would apply to nightclubs, bars and restaurants, but would also apply to other areas such as gyms, hairdressers and larger event venues. 

3G to 1G: Could Austria make bars, gyms, hairdressers and events ‘vaccinated only’?

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein both forecast the introduction of the 1G rule in nightclubs, discos and late-night bars if infections continue to climb. 

The broadcaster ORF reports there has been a “secret discussion” between Kurz and Mückstein about allowing visits to bars and restaurants only to people who have been vaccinated.

The City of Vienna has previously spoken out in favour of the 1G rule, but the Wiener Zeitung reports it is unlikely to be introduced yet. Instead, Vienna – along with several other states – is calling for a nationwide solution.

While Vienna may do so, Austria seems comparatively reluctant – although Mückstein indicated stricter rules could apply from October. 

New travel rules to UK

September 30th also marks the day that national ID cards will no longer be accepted for travel into the UK.

So if you are travelling to the UK with your a national ID card – or if a partner, friend or relative is doing the same – remind them that they will need a passport after this date.

Booster shots

Due to the rise in infections and people in hospital with Covid-19, Lower Austria will begin giving booster shots to high-risk and elderly patients in nursing homes and clinics from next week, broadcaster ORF reports.

People in very high-risk groups will receive their shots first, with people aged 65 and over will be able to get their third shot from mid-September. 

The shots will be administered at the more than 400 medical practices in the state.

The Austrian government is starting to prepare for autumn with plans for booster shots against Covid-19. 

The Ministry of Health has told the broadcaster ORF that the federal government will continue to be responsible for the distribution of vaccines, while the federal states will implement the campaigns.

UPDATE: Austria to roll out Covid booster shots in autumn

Covid-19 test validity time will be reduced in Vienna

From September 1st, the validity of PCR tests in Vienna will be reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. But for children under the age of 12, the 72-hour validity period will stay in place.

READ MORE: Vienna tightens rules for tests

The validity of antigen tests in Vienna will also be reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours.

Vienna has the highest seven-day incidence in Austria and Mayor Michael Ludwig (SPÖ) recently said the pandemic “is not over”.

Schools return from summer break 

As school children and teachers return to the classroom for the new school year, some Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

There will be an initial three-week safety phase with a requirement for masks to be worn outside of the classroom, but not while seated in class.

During this time, both teachers and students will have to be tested three times a week, regardless of vaccination status, including one PCR test per week.

After this date, the ongoing mask requirement in schools in Austria will depend on the infection rate and the 3G rule (tested, recovered, vaccinated) will apply.

This means anyone not vaccinated or recently recovered will have to provide a negative test.

A PCR test result lasts for 72 hours, while the result from an antigen test is valid for 48 hours.

READ MORE: What will the rules be for children returning to school in Austria this autumn?

The cost of wholesale electricity will go up

The Austrian Electricity Price Index (ÖSPI) will increase by 6.4 percent in September 2021 compared to August 2021. This is a 38.9 percent increase on the price in September 2020. 

The ÖSPI only records the wholesale electricity price and does not take into account network charges, taxes or levies.

Vaccines in supermarkets in Vienna

While technically taking place at the end of August, in a bid to increase the number of vaccinated people, Covid-19 vaccines will now be offered at supermarkets in Vienna.

The City of Vienna has announced some supermarkets will be offering appointment-free Covid-19 vaccinations from Wednesday 25th August.

Several supermarkets will join a list of other walk-in vaccination sites across the city, including shopping centres, mosques and St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

The new offering at BILLA, BILLA PLUS and Penny will be offered in cooperation with the REWE Group, and will be available at the front of supermarkets, as well at supermarket checkouts.

READ MORE: Vienna to roll-out Covid-19 vaccines at supermarkets

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WHAT CHANGES IN AUSTRIA

Everything that changes in Austria in August 2022

From travel chaos and bonus payments, here are some of the most important changes you need to be aware of in Austria in August.

Everything that changes in Austria in August 2022

Travel chaos in Europe

Summer months are set to be chaotic in travelling, and we have seen examples of airports congested throughout Europe. This will continue during August, as airlines have cancelled more than 25,000 flights from their August schedule.

In Austria, flights end up being cancelled on short notice as staff and crew call in sick with Covid-19, as The Local reported.

Strikes on several airlines and airports in the continent will also affect Austrian travellers who plan on vacationing there.

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

Covid-19 restrictions will change

As coronavirus infection cases go up in Austria, affecting the workplace in all sectors, authorities have announced they will scrap mandatory isolation for those who test positive for Covid-19.

People who do not feel sick will be allowed to leave their homes even after a positive Covid-19 test but will have to follow specific requirements from August 1st, as The Local reported.

The so-called “traffic restrictions” mean that those who don’t feel sick will be allowed to leave their homes but must wear an FFP2 mask indoors and outdoors whenever social distancing is not possible.

Additionally, there are entry bans in hospitals, nursing and elderly care homes, childcare facilities, elementary schools and daycare centres.

The restrictions are valid for a maximum of 10 days and as soon as there is a positive antigen test. But a negative PCR test (or PCR test with a CT value over 30 as shown in the laboratory results) allows people to leave the “traffic restrictions” after the fifth day.

READ ALSO: Austria to remove quarantine for positive Covid-19 cases

Social payments to fight the rising cost of living

Some of the payments expected to roll out to Austrian residencies in an effort to cushion the rising cost of living are expected for August, as The Local reported.

While the most significant €500 sum should be paid out in October, families will get an additional one-off payment of the family allowance of €180 in August.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How Austria’s new finance measures could benefit you

Traffic chaos in Austria

The summer vacation months are a time when many people in Austria tend to go to their idyllic destinations. However, for those left in the country, especially the capital Vienna, it’s an opportunity to enjoy a lot of what the city has to offer.

Still, people may notice that the city has become quite a Baustelle, or a construction site, with loads of work being done on its public transport lines, streets and avenues. You can check out the main construction works going on in Vienna this month here.

Traffic will be busy in other areas of Austria, too. The vacation months increase car travel, and several festivals and sports events for the month of August make it an even busier month.

READ ALSO: When and where to avoid driving in Austria this summer

It’s no longer worth it to buy a yearly vignette for driving

From August 1st, it is no longer worth buying a yearly vignette if you are driving on Austrian roads. The many short-term vignettes should be cheaper alternatives instead.

For example, frequent drivers in Austria could buy two two-month vignettes in August instead of the yearly one, saving €37.40. Moreover, from December 1st, the annual vignette 2023 will be available and valid.

The vignette is a small sticker that shows that you’ve paid the tolls necessary to travel on Austrian expressways and motorways.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: What you need to know about Austria’s vignette motorway toll stickers

Mariä Himmelfahrt holiday on August 15th

There is only one official holiday in Austria during the month of August, the Assumption Day on August 15th.

It falls on a Monday, so don’t forget to prepare yourself for it, as most shops and supermarkets will be closed on the holiday and Sunday as well (as they always are in Austria).

READ ALSO: Why everything in Austria is closed on Sundays – and what to do instead

The heat should continue in August

According to Austria’s meteorologic institute ZAMG, the probability of above-average temperatures in August in Austria is about 70 percent.

This means it is likely that heat waves and above 30C days will continue in the alpine country. According to the ZAMG, the number of days with temperatures above 30C per year has almost tripled in Austria in recent decades – and what used to be record temperatures is now average.

READ ALSO: Heatwave in Austria: What to do as temperatures hit 40C

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