Covid-19 in Austria: What Will the Rules Be for the New Normal as of May 19?

More+More+ ♦ Published: May 10, 2021; 16:24 ♦ (Vindobona)

Today, the new rules for the planned opening from May 19 were presented. The curfew restriction will be dropped. There will be far-reaching relaxations in the areas of catering, hotels, closed sports venues, cultural facilities and recreational businesses. These will be accompanied by security measures such as access tests, hygiene and distance measures, capacity restrictions and mandatory registration of guests.

Tested, vaccinated or recovered: There will be far-reaching relaxations in the area of gastronomy, however, the "New Normal" will not be like the "Old Normal". / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / KF (Transfered by Fg68at), Public Domain

Today, the government presented the rules for the relaxations starting May 19. 

"We have good news to share: The number of Corona infections is falling and the number of people already vaccinated in Austria is rising. Today, for the first time since October, we have fewer than 1,000 newly infected people and currently 2.6 million first-time vaccinated people," said Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in a joint press conference with Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein and Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger.

Increasing numbers of vaccinations and decreasing numbers of infections would allow the following openings.

Many previously closed sectors will be allowed to reopen.

These include restaurants, hotels, closed sports venues such as gyms, most cultural institutions and recreational businesses.

There will no longer be an exit restriction.

Green Pass: All areas will require proof of negative infection status for entry, either digitally or on paper.

Either a negative coronavirus test, vaccination or certificate of past Covid 19 disease is needed.

Validity period depends on test

How long tests are valid depends on the method:

  • Negative self-tests with a record of the result in an official data collection system are valid for 24 hours.
  • Antigen tests are valid for 48 hours.
  • PCR tests are valid for 72 hours.

No testing requirement exists in retail stores and museums.

Openings: What will happen after May 19?

People who have already had a disease are exempt from mandatory testing for six months from the time of recovery.

The third point is vaccination with an approved vaccine.

  • In this case, the first vaccination is valid from the 22nd day and for no longer than three months.
  • The period is longer if a second vaccination has been given (or if a vaccine has been used for which only one vaccination is intended), but here too there is a limit: 
    • this is nine months after the second (or only necessary) vaccination.

Meetings subject to capacity and space limitations

There will also continue to be restrictions on meetings with other people.

Thus, although meetings are again possible, indoor and from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. gatherings of four adults from different households plus children are generally allowed; outdoor gatherings of ten people and a maximum of ten children are possible.

Due to the 20m² rule, large celebrations such as weddings and parties will not be possible.

Gastronomy open until 22.00

The gastronomy, which has been closed for months, is allowed to open both inside and outside - from 5.00 to 22.00.

  • A distance of two meters is prescribed between tables.
  • Food and beverages may be consumed only at the seat, in the case of snack and catering stands at administration places also in standing position.
  • Bars are still not allowed to serve drinks.
  • Staff must be tested at least once a week.
  • In addition, masks will be mandatory for waiters and waitresses.
  • Guests will also have to wear masks away from their seats.
  • No mandatory testing will apply to takeaways and deliveries.

Registration obligation comes again

In all areas, guests must also be registered if they are expected to stay more than 15 minutes.

That means restaurants, lodging establishments, event venues, non-public sports venues and other recreational businesses must collect the names, phone numbers and, on a case-by-case basis, email addresses of their guests.

The data must be kept for 28 days and then deleted.

The collection requirement does not apply to outdoor venues with a two-meter distance.

However, a similar measure in Vienna had already been declared invalid by the Constitutional Court. No registration is required if the stay takes place primarily outdoors, for example in outdoor sports facilities.

Cultural sector

Cultural establishments are also allowed to hold events again.

Here, too, the obligation for access tests and registration applies.

In addition, FFP2 masks must be worn.


Venues and sports stadiums may occupy a maximum of 50 percent of their fixed seating capacity.

Generally, the maximum occupancy for fixed seating is 1,500 people inside and 3,000 outside.

If there is no assigned and designated seating at events, then a maximum of 50 attendees is allowed.

Events with more than ten people are subject to notification, and events with 51 or more people require a permit from the health authority. Rehearsals without masks will be possible for cultural institutions under special conditions.

In indoor sports venues, the same rules apply as for other business premises, such as the 20-square-meter rule.

Sporting activities do not require the use of an FFP2 mask.

For sports that are likely to involve prolonged interaction with other people, proof must be provided.

Also, the two-meter distance generally applies, except for contact sports and safety and assistance activities.


Hotel guests must present a negative test upon arrival. After that, the other rules apply.

This means that in self-catering huts and similar establishments, a single negative test is sufficient for the stay.

However, if, for example, a restaurant is visited in the hotel, the rules for gastronomy must be taken into account.

Masks are also compulsory in generally accessible indoor areas.

Wellness and fitness facilities can be opened and used, the basic rules apply.

At least 20 square meters must be kept free per guest, i.e. spas may also resume operation. Cable cars may also operate, but they may only be filled to half capacity.

When will further opening steps be taken?

The government held out the prospect of further openings by July.

Bundeskanzleramt Österreich

Sozialministerium Österreich