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COVID-19 ALERT

UPDATE: What are the fines for not wearing masks on Vienna’s public transport?

Vienna's Wiener Linien said it would step up mask patrols. Here's how much you could be fined if you don't comply.

vienna tram wiener Linien public transport
Vienna has a mask mandate for its public transport (Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash)

Austria has removed almost all of its coronavirus measures and restrictions, at least for the summer months. However, besides steps to protect vulnerable people in settings such as hospitals end elderly homes, there is one important exception: public transport in Vienna. 

Mayor Michael Ludwig decided to follow what has been known as the “Viennese way”, as the city has chosen to keep stricter measures than those followed by the federal government on many occasions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ ALSO: Will Austria drop quarantine and isolation for positive Covid-19 cases?

In Vienna, people need to wear FFP2 masks on public transport, including buses, trams, subways, trains, station buildings, and platforms.

This creates strange situations, with people commuting in from outside town having to wear masks as they get to city limits.

Who needs to wear masks?

Everyone on public transport, all Wiener Linien buildings (including station buildings), on platforms and in vehicles need to wear an FFP2 mask.

The mask requirement is valid even for those who have been vaccinated.

There are, however, some exceptions.

The obligation to wear an FFP2 mask does not apply to pregnant women. Instead, they can use a close-fitting protective cloth covering the mouth and nose (a surgical mask, for example).

Children under the age of six are also exempt from the mask requirement.

READ ALSO: ‘At the limit: Huge spike in Covid hospitalisations and deaths in Austria

Children aged six to 14 need to wear a mask or close-fitting cloth covering their mouth and nose area, but it doesn’t have to be an FFP2 mask.

Other exceptions include persons who cannon wear mouth-nose protection for health or disability-specific reasons. Anyone who is exempt needs to present a medical certificate from a doctor established in Austria or the EEA, according to the Wiener Linien.

What happens if people do not wear masks?

People caught not wearing a mask will be contacted and informed of the mask requirement by the security service employees with Wiener Linien.

If they still do not comply, they will be excluded from continuing their journey and ultimately may have to pay a €50 fine for violations of the mask requirement.

Are there many people not wearing masks?

Though there are no official numbers released of the amount of people failing to comply with the mask requirement, it seems that the numbers are growing.

READ ALSO: Will Austria bring back its mask mandate before autumn?

This week, Wiener Linien said it would step up mask patrols on buses, trams, subways and trains to cut down on the number of passengers who have abandoned their FFP2 masks.

“Like you, we are annoyed that some people do not comply with the mask requirement”, the company wrote on its social media.

They added that there were more controls on public transport together with the Viennese police and more announcements and information on info screens.

However, the company also said that they could not control two million passengers “at the same time” and asked people not to pull the emergency buttons in case they saw passengers without masks.

Wiener Linien also reminded passengers that it is “not okay” to take and post pictures of passengers (even if they are not wearing masks).

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COVID-19 RULES

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.

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