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

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

people walk in Vienna snow
The news you need to know in Austria on a snowy morning. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP

Applications open for companies to apply for support for lost lockdown revenue

If your company’s revenue fell as a result of Austria’s fourth lockdown, you can apply for support in the form of the ‘Ausfallsbonus’ from today, via FinanzOnline, with the Ministry of Finance expecting the first payments to be made before Christmas. The measure is primarily targeted at small and medium-sized businesses.

If your sales in November and December fell by at least 30 percent compared to 2019, you can claim for between ten and 40 percent of the decline.

Here’s what we know about the draft vaccine mandate law

Austria’s first draft of its vaccine mandate law was presented on Thursday. The fines for violating the mandate could be issued every three months or a maximum of four times a year. They would be set at €600, but the fine for refusing to pay the penalty would be higher, at a maximum of €3,600. People’s personal financial situation would be taken into account when setting the fine, according to the draft.

Doctors who issue a false certificate of exemption will also face fines of up to €3,600.

Police have worked almost one million hours in overtime during the pandemic

That’s according to an exclusive in Der Standard this morning, with more than 450,000 hours’ overtime recorded for Austrian police in both 2020 and 2021. That includes working on regular Covid checks, for example to ensure businesses were enforcing Covid measures, as well as the police presence at demos against the measures.

In Vienna, that works out to 39 hours’ overtime per police officer per month.

According to the Interior Ministry, four police officers have died of Covid-19 and over 7,000 have fallen ill with the disease.

Carinthia announces roadmap out of lockdown

Carinthia was the last Austrian region to announce its own Covid measures for when the general lockdown is lifted this weekend. Gastronomy and hotels will not re-open until December 17th. Catch up on the rules for all the regions by clicking here.

More details on the post-lockdown rule changes

There has been some confusion over what exactly is allowed to open on Sunday, December 12th, the first day after the lockdown ends, but with the new Covid ordinance we have some more clarity.

Parts of trade that are usually allowed to open on Sundays will be allowed to operate this Sunday, which includes an extra day of Christmas markets (though it’s up to the individual organisers whether to open), as will cultural and sports facilities, services like hairdressers and so on Vienna’s mayor Michael Ludwig confirmed on Thursday that this would be the case in the capital, though December 13th was previously named as the re-opening day for Vienna.

Schools to stay closed on January 7th

Friday, January 7th is a ‘bridge day’, coming between the Epiphany holiday and the weekend. Now, pupils will only return to school from January 10th, to simplify the regular testing process in schools. This isn’t a change for everyone, as many schools had already made this a day off.

Students currently need to take three Covid-19 tests each week, at least one of them (two in Vienna and Upper Austria) being a PCR test, and schools should be giving students tests to take home over Christmas so they can get tested before they return to classes.

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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