Austria Reintroduces Comprehensive Masks Obligation

More+More+ ♦ Published: July 24, 2020; 12:56 ♦ (Vindobona)

In Austria, the obligation to wear masks to contain coronavirus is again in force in a comprehensive form. Since Friday, nose-mouth protection must again be worn throughout the food trade, in post offices and bank branches, in bakeries, in shops in petrol stations, as well as on public transport, in pharmacies and when visiting health care facilities. The Islamic Religious Community has also tightened rules for mosques.

The mask obligation in Austria has been in force again since Friday, and in some areas for the first time. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Rudolf Goldhammer Ru-go [Public Domain]

In view of the triple-digit increase in the daily Covid-19 infection figures, the government announced as early as Tuesday that the mask obligation, which was relaxed in mid-June, would be tightened again.

The reason for the discretionary decisions, as Kurz called the tightening: In recent weeks, the self-imposed "magic threshold of a three-digit number of new infections per day" has been exceeded. Although the number of newly registered cases per day is currently below 100 again, this is unlikely to remain so. Yes, the situation had been expected, therefore he had already said weeks ago that one should not throw away the mouth and nose protector, we will still need it. Now this situation had arrived.

Anschober and Kurz had argued for the return of the mask duty with the argument that vulnerable groups should be protected especially where daily errands were necessary.

The obligation to wear masks is being reintroduced for shopping, but only in the food trade. In addition to supermarkets, gas station shops, greengrocers and bakeries are also affected.

The obligation to carry is also new when visiting bank or post office branches, and this also applies to so-called postal partners.

Obligation also in hospitals and nursing homes

The Regulation has now also clearly clarified the previous practice of requiring visitors to health care facilities to wear a mouth and nose protector.

This applies to hospitals, health resorts and nursing homes.

According to the Ministry of Health, the obligation to wear masks also applies in doctors' practices: clients there must also wear a mouth and nose protector.

However, there is no general obligation to wear masks for those patients who are admitted to health care facilities.

The regulation of mouth and nose protection remains unchanged when using services where the one-metre distance still in force cannot be maintained.

This applies, for example, to visits to the hairdresser or physiotherapist.

The obligation to put on the mask in public transport and taxis as well as in pharmacies and at events in closed rooms remains valid.

The IGGÖ Islamic Religious Community in Austria has also tightened its rules for mosques

The recent increase in the number of coronavirus infections in Austria has also prompted the Islamic Faith Community, in agreement with the recognized churches and religious communities, to once again tighten the protection and hygiene measures in its mosques from Friday, 24 July 2020.

In regions with continuously increasing coronavirus infection rates, the protection of the mouth and nose during church services will again become mandatory. However, the IGGÖ basically advises to wear the mask in the mosque.