Austria to Ease Covid Restrictions From Next Week

Austria to Ease Covid Restrictions From Next Week

Austria will ease its COVID restrictions after Chancellor Karl Nehammer announced relief, especially for trade and gastronomy.

The 2G regulation currently applies to restaurant visits in Austria – meaning one has either to be vaccinated or recovered. Moreover, bars and restaurants currently have to close at 10 pm. From next Friday, the gastronomy will be allowed to open again until midnight.

The 2G regulation will also change – but not immediately for restaurants: From February 19, they will be allowed to return to the 3G regulation, which also enables unvaccinated guests – provided they can show a current, negative corona test.

Also, from February 19, according to government plans, the 2G restriction in tourism will be downgraded to 3G. The 2G regulation should be overturned a little sooner in retail – from February 12. However, an FFP2 mask must still be worn in the shops.

There should also be new school rules, but they will not be announced until next week.

Nehammer justified the announced easing with the currently low loads in the hospitals. The number of corona patients was stable and “at a really predictable good level”. The Austrian Minister of Health, Wolfgang Mückstein, also agreed with this argument, stating there was no longer a risk of overloading, especially in intensive care units.

With the low burden on clinics, Nehammer also justified the end of the lockdown for the unvaccinated. It came into force for people on November 15.

From November 22 to December 12, a lockdown with strict exit and contact restrictions was also applied to vaccinated people.

However, from the point of view of the State Crisis Coordination (GECKO) chairperson, Katharina Reich, the peak of the current corona wave has not yet been reached. The zenith is expected to be reached in the first week of February. In Austria, tens of thousands of new infections are currently being recorded every day. According to the latest figures from the Agency for Food Safety (AGES), there were more than 35,800 new cases within 24 hours on Thursday.

Image by European People’s Party (Wikimedia)/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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