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COVID-19

How Austria’s Covid rules change today

Austria's set of stricter Covid-19 restrictions in response to the spread of the Omicron variant come into effect from December 27th.

How Austria's Covid rules change today
Austrian authorities have asked people to keep New Year gatherings to a minimum, and to get tested beforehand. Photo: Artem Kniaz/Unsplash

The measures include a 10pm curfew for the gastronomy sector, replacing the previous curfew of 11pm.

This applies from December 27th and includes December 31st, overriding a previous decision to grant an exemption to early closing on New Year’s Eve.

The measures were announced last week at a press conference by Austria’s Chief Medical Officer Katharina Reich, who said they were intended to show that now is “not a time to celebrate”.

The Austrian crisis commission also recommended against large gatherings for New Year’s Eve, asking people to celebrate only in small groups and where everyone attending had valid proof of 2G (full vaccination against Covid-19 or recent recovery from the virus). They asked people to get a Covid-19 test before meeting people from another household, and said regional leaders had agreed to expand testing offerings.

The rules around events are also stricter as of December 27th.

By law, private gatherings of up to 25 people with 2G proof will be permitted, but if they are indoor and without assigned seating, FFP2 masks are compulsory, and the authorities requested that people reduce their contacts as much as possible.

If assigned seating is available, the maximum number of people rises to 500 if everyone has proof of 2G (full vaccination or recovery); 1,000 for 2G+ (full vaccination or recovery and a negative PCR test), and 2,000 if people have 2G+ and a booster dose. FFP2 masks will also be required.

The commission, called Gecko, will meet again this week to discuss possible new restrictions.

Asked if a lockdown was on the cards, Reich said it was “impossible to know” but that the commission would give an update during the week.

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

The EU has eased recommendations for face masks on flights and in airports, but member states are free to put their own rules in place.

Reader question: Do I need to wear a mask on flights to/from Austria?

Since Monday, May 16th, it is no longer mandatory to wear a medical-grade face mask on flights and at airports within the EU.

But Austria will continue with the rule for now, meaning that masks are required on flights to Austria.

The implementation of the EU recommendation is based on the national rules in individual countries. 

For flights, where a destination country has a mask rule in place, then masks must be worn. 

An Austrian Airlines spokesperson told the Kronen Zeitung: “The easing of the mask requirement is an EU recommendation that must be reflected in a national regulation in order to also apply in Austria.” 

The aviation safety agency EASA and the EU health authority ECDC states that if masks are mandatory on public transport at the point of departure or at the destination, then the regulation should also continue on board the aircraft.

According to current Austrian Covid-19 regulations, wearing an FFP2 mask is still required in hospitals, elderly and nursing homes, public transport (including stops and stations), taxis, customer areas of vital trade, such as supermarkets, and administrative buildings.

READ MORE: LATEST: What are Austria’s current Covid-19 rules

In addition to Austria, masks are still compulsory in some public areas in Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy – all key tourism destinations for travellers from Austria.

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