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

Every weekday, The Local brings you an English-language summary of the news you need to know in Austria.

Vienna opera ball
A previous edition of the Vienna Opera Ball, which has again been cancelled due to the pandemic. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

The road out of lockdown

On Wednesday afternoon, the government announced which measures will apply nationwide after the final day of the general lockdown on Saturday. The full lockdown will continue for people without proof of 2G, but otherwise most parts of society can re-open with some restrictions, such as mask mandates in indoor spaces, limits of 1,000 people for events, and an 11pm closing time for bars and restaurants.

That doesn’t mean all those things will happen simultaneously across the country however, with each region allowed to impose stricter measures if it wishes. Upper Austria will remain in full lockdown until December 17th. 

Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Burgenland said they would comply with the nationwide rules and would not put in place additional measures.

Salzburg, Lower Austria and Styria are holding off on opening bars and restaurants until December 17th, while in Vienna these businesses won’t re-open until the 20th, and Carinthia is set to announce its own plans today.

Record amounts of snow forecast for eastern Austria

With several centimetres in Vienna and up to 30 centimetres in Burgenland, the east of Austria has a fresh coating of snow today. Nationwide, the levels are at a ten-year high, with Austria’s Centre for Severe Weather issuing its highest alerts for Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Carinthia.

In Carinthia, several hundred homes in the districts of St. Veit an der Glan, Spittal an der Drau and Villach-Land are affected by power outages after nearly 40 centimetres of snow fell.

Nehammer presents his new government

After being sworn in three days ago, on Thursday new Chancellor Karl Nehammer presents his government in a special sitting of Austria’s National Council (the lower house of parliament), just two months after the last new government.

Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) will set out their plans for their time of office, while the three new ministers and one state secretary will make their parliamentary debuts in their new roles.

Vienna’s Opera Ball cancelled due to Covid

Austria has cancelled its famous Vienna Opera Ball for the second year running over the coronavirus pandemic, the government said on Wednesday.

Keeping the February 24th, 2022 date would have sent “the wrong signal” as the country is only to start emerging from a partial lockdown this Sunday, state secretary for culture Andrea Mayer said.

The quirky way Vienna cinemas are staving off lockdown boredom

“As a cinema, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to entertain our audiences in lockdown. The only way to address them is by using the boards on which the film titles and starting times are displayed during normal operation,” Wolfgang Pielmeier from the Stadtkino told the ORF broadcaster.

Instead of adding to the gloom by simply writing something like ‘Closed until further notice’, several cinemas in the capital have opted for humour, with the Gartenbaukino extending the chess invitation: “Hey Stadtkino, how about a nice game of chess? E2 – E4” to which the other cinema has responded. You can follow the chess game and other inventive uses of the title boards under the hashtag #kinoliebe online.

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For members


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

German classes for refugees, vaccination, the weather for today and more news from Austria on Monday.

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

Debate about German courses for refugees

Austria is debating the best way to provide German classes for refugees and promote integration, as Der Standard reports.

Firstly, refugees usually have one single German-speaking teacher and almost no contact with German-speaking students at schools, reducing their contact with the language considerably. They also never hear their mother tongue in the context of school.

However, this mainly happens among schoolchildren with poor knowledge of German from Turkey, Syria, Serbia and even Austria.

The situation is different in most classes that were set up for Ukrainian refugee children, the daily said. These kids usually have at least two teachers who speak German (one would speak Ukrainian as well).

The Austrian daily paper says students have already noticed the difference. “The German class with children from Syria is separated by only a wall from the Ukrainian class – and everyone can see how much resources go where”, according to the report.

READ ALSO: How Austria and Austrians are helping Ukrainian refugees

Vienna expands vaccination offers

Long lines in Viennese vaccination centres led to people having to wait one and a half to two hours to get the coronavirus jab, according to reports in Austria media.

Broadcaster ORF said that the surge in demand comes just after the city of Vienna simplified the access to the fourth Covid vaccination. As a result, people can get the shot after four months of the third dose without the need for registration or appointment.

With increasing coronavirus numbers ahead of the summer holidays, the search for the vaccine has also risen. While about 300 people were vaccinated daily less than two weeks ago, about 1,300 people went every day at the weekend, the report said.

Health authorities recommend people make an appointment even though they are not required to. “With an appointment, it’s easier for us to plan, and there is also a separate area for people with appointments”, Susanne Drapalik, chief physician at the Samaritan League, told reporters.

The Austrian capital will also extend the opening hours of the vaccination centres to meet demand.

READ ALSO: Covid-19 in Austria: When should you get your fourth vaccine dose?

Austria’s government calls for blood donations

Austria’s hospitals are running out of blood, Die Presse reported. As a result, the Austrian Red Cross and the federal government are asking the population to donate blood.

“I urge you to take the time, go donate blood, and save the life of a fellow human being”, Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) said.

As of next September, there will also be non-discriminatory blood donation in Austria, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. However, it is worth noting that several people are still excluded from blood donation in Austria. In addition, the authorities require a fluent knowledge of German so that you can go through the pre-interview and fill out the forms without help or a translator.

Additionally, people who were born or lived for more than six months in several countries where there are diseases such as malaria, including Brazil, for example, have a life ban on blood donation in Austria, according to the Red Cross website.

READ ALSO: Austria to end blood donor discrimination based on sexual orientation

Rain showers bring temperatures down in Austria

From Vorarlberg to Upper Austria, there will be clouds interchanging with sunny times during the morning. Some regions will also have rain showers and thunderstorms.

In the rest of the country, including Vienna, the sun often shines, at least during the morning, Austria’s central meteorological and geodynamic institute ZAMG says.

From the late morning, more and more clouds start forming and accumulating, especially over the mountains and in the hills, and will likely bring more thunderstorms and rain. However, it remains sunny and dry for longer in Austria’s far east and southeast.

Day maximum temperatures throughout Austria go from 24C to 34C. At night, heavy downpours are expected, and even thunderstorms in the eastern half of Austria. The lowest temperatures of the night are between 14C and 20C.

READ ALSO: Wild weather in Austria: How to protect yourself during summer storms