After a meeting on Wednesday between Austria’s government and the Gecko Crisis Coordination Commission, here’s a look at the limitations in place at this time and what could change as a result of the meeting.
Having a meal and a drink outside the house
An 11 p.m. curfew applies to restaurants and pubs, while apres-ski establishments and nightclubs are closed entirely.
All food and drink establishments except take-away currently operate under the 2G rule (proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid is required for entry), and this is set to change to the 3G rule (meaning a negative test is an alternative) on February 19th, with the exception of Vienna, which will continue to operate under the 2G rule. When this change takes effect, PCR tests will only be valid for 48 hours from the time of the test in order to access restaurants, cafés, and bars; nevertheless, in all other areas (for example, entering workplaces), PCR tests will be valid for 72 hours after the time of the test (note that Vienna has a blanket rule of 48-hour validity).
Consumption of food and beverages is only permitted when sitting.
FFP2 masks must be worn at all times except while you are sitting at your table, this includes when you are collecting meals for take-out.
The 2G regulation now applies to hotels, and this is expected to change to 3G (meaning that a negative test will be available as an option) on February 19th, with the exception of Vienna, where the 2G rule will remain in effect.
Events with more than 50 attendees are only authorized if there is no food or drink served, allowing FFP2 masks to be worn at all times throughout the event.
There is a curfew in effect for activities that begin after midnight.
Proof of 2G is no longer needed for retail establishments that are not absolutely necessary. FFP2 masks are required in all retail establishments, including non-essential retail establishments such as supermarkets and pharmacies, as well as in restaurants and hotels.
Hairdressers and beauty salons are two types of businesses.
At the moment, the 3G rule applies to businesses that require close physical contact (such as hairdressers and beauty salons), meaning that a recent negative Covid-19 test result may be presented for entrance as a substitute to vaccination or recovery. It is required to wear FFP2 masks in certain establishments, regardless of whether or not you have been vaccinated.
There is no longer any limitation on access to cultural places like as museums and galleries, but you must wear an FFP2 mask while you are there.
A 3G requirement is in effect for all businesses where it is not feasible to rule out the possibility of interaction with another person, and it is generally recommended that people work from home wherever possible.
When it comes to entry into Austria, the 2G+ rule applies, which means that you must have completed a full course of vaccination (two doses of MMR or one dose of Johnson & Johnson), as well as a booster shot or a recent negative PCR test, in order to be let in. A few exceptions to the general rule apply in specific circumstances.
How will things be different now?
Further relaxations of regulations, which might touch any of the sectors listed above, according to Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein, are expected to be presented this week after the summit. For example, we may learn when nightclubs will be permitted to reopen or when the mask regulations may be lifted.
Other topics that will be discussed include whether or not free Covid tests should continue to be offered to the general public regardless of symptoms; whether or not the rules for quarantine following a positive test or contact with a confirmed case should be adjusted; and whether or not the rationale for the controversial vaccine mandate should be re-examined.