Covid-19 rules: Tyrol expands outdoor mask requirement

In addition to the existing nationwide FFP2 mask requirement, masks must now be worn outside on busy streets in some Tyrolean towns.

FFP2 mask sign
The new rules apply to particularly busy areas in two towns with high rates of Covid cases. Photo: Christof Stache/AFP

As Covid-19 cases in the state of Tyrol continue to increase due to the Omicron variant, additional mask requirements are being introduced in the province of Landeck.

From midnight on Thursday January 13th, FFP2 masks will have to be worn outside on some busy streets and public areas in Ischgl and St. Anton am Arlberg.

In Ischgl, the mask mandate applies to Dorfstrasse, Silvrettaplatz and on the Fimbabahnweg.

In St. Anton am Arlberg, it applies to the pedestrianised zone, on large parts of the Dorfstraße, at the Rendlbahn forecourt, the underpass and forecourt at Galzigbahn and at bus terminals. 

FOR MEMBERS: What are the Covid rules in place at ski resorts across Europe?

The mandate will be in effect between 8am and midnight and expires on January 20th, although the regulation could be extended if needed.

On Wednesday, the seven-day incidence in the Landeck district was 2,893 – the second highest rate after the Kitzbühel district with 3,381, according to AGES. The statewide incidence rate was 1,388 and the national rate was 841.

Hospitalisation rates throughout Tyrol remain stable with 80 Covid-19 patients on normal wards and a further 32 in intensive care units (ICU). This represents 17 percent of Tyrol’s ICU capacity.

Additionally, the armed forces in Tyrol are providing assistance with soldiers deployed at test centres, at Innsbruck Airport and in contact tracing services.

What is the current nationwide mask mandate in Austria?

In Austria, FFP2 masks are required on public transport (including at stops and stations), in all shops and other indoor areas including hairdressers, museums, workplaces and at events. 

Since January 11th, FFP2 masks are also required outdoors when it is not possible to maintain a distance of two-metres from people from another household.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How exactly does Austria’s new rule for masks outdoors work?

Situations where the two-metre distance is only broken for a short amount of time, for example when passing someone on a pavement, are excluded from the rule. But regions have the power to introduce additional outdoor mask mandates in areas that are often busy, as Tyrol has now done.

The national requirement to wear a mask outdoors in these situations is initially in place until January 20th.

Useful links

Overview of current Covid-19 measures in Tyrol

Nationwide Covid-19 restrictions in Austria

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Austrian court rules certain bans for unvaccinated were ‘unconstitutional’

Austria's constitutional court found that banning unvaccinated people from going to hairdressers or cultural institutions was unconstitutional

Austrian court rules certain bans for unvaccinated were 'unconstitutional'

The Constitutional Court (VfGH) has found a regulation which stopped people from going to hairdressers in the second lockdown for the unvaccinated was unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal.

However, the Court of Justice did confirm it was admissible to distinguish between people with and without 2G evidence (proof they had recovered from or been vaccinated against Covid-19), meaning the lockdown for the unvaccinated was itself legal.

READ ALSO: Four options: These are Austria’s autumn Covid lockdown plans

As there were exceptions to the lockdown, allowing people without vaccinations to leave their homes to “cover the necessary basic needs of daily life”, this should have included trips to the hairdressers as part of these “basic needs” on a long term, the court ruled.

It clarified that the rules were at first supposed to last for 10 days, but as the lockdown got extended several times, lasting a total of 11 weeks, the “basic needs” evolved and should have included hairdresser visits.

According to the Constitutional Court, it was also illegal for the government to ban unvaccinated people from entering cultural institutions in autumn 2021.

In this case, the reason was that people were still allowed to go to church and other places of religion, which the court found was “in violation of equality”.

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

The court found the ban on entering sports facilities ordered by the Minister of Health during the first lockdown in March and April 2020 was also unlawful, as there was not sufficient justification, broadcaster ORF reported.

Strict Covid-19 measures

Austria was one of the countries which imposed several lockdown periods during the pandemic, as The Local reported. While some were aimed at the entire population, more recently, only those who didn’t get vaccinated against Covid-19 were prevented from going out of their homes without a justification (such as grocery shopping or emergencies).

The country had also imposed a Covid-19 vaccination mandate, but that was scrapped after new variants of the virus evolved into less severe cases of the disease, the government said.

Currently, there are few coronavirus restrictions in place. You can check out all the measures across Austria here.