Second Coronavirus Lockdown in Austria: Which Rules Apply?

More+More+ ♦ Published: October 31, 2020; 16:49 ♦ Updated: November 2; 09:29 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Austrian government has announced the Second Coronavirus Lowdown and presented stricter measures against the virus, which will apply from Tuesday, November 3 starting at 0:00 am. From then on, night-time exit restrictions will apply in Austria between 20.00 and 6.00 hours. Most events will be cancelled, restaurants will no longer be allowed to serve guests, and most leisure facilities will have to close for a month for the time being.

"Emergency situation": According to the Covid 19 law, exit restrictions may only be imposed "to prevent an imminent breakdown of medical care or similar emergency situations". And such restrictions must be limited to ten days. / Picture: © Presse- und Informationsdienst der Stadt Wien

"From Tuesday, November 3, 0.00 a.m., there will be a second lockdown in Austria". said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. The sports sector, the leisure sector, the hotel and catering industry will be shut down, the Chancellor said.

There will be an aid package for the affected companies, Kurz announced. The affected sectors will receive 80 percent of the turnover of the same period last year. In addition, the short-time work will be extended, said the Chancellor.

The night-time exit restrictions mean a ban on leaving private homes

This includes residential units in lodging establishments as well as in homes for the elderly, nursing homes and homes for the disabled.

But there are exceptions, in which the home may be left also between 20.00 and 6.00:

  • Averting an immediate danger for body, life and property;
  • Care of and assistance to persons in need of support as well as exercising family rights and fulfilling family obligations;
  • Covering the necessary basic needs of daily life;
  • Professional purposes, if necessary;
  • Staying outdoors for physical and psychological recreation.

However, the night-time curfews will only apply until November 12, not November 30 as previously assumed. The reason for this is the Covid-19 measures law, which only permits exit restrictions for 10 days.

Museums and zoos also close

Furthermore, it is forbidden to enter various leisure facilities. These include baths, thermal baths, theaters, operas, dance schools, cinemas, sports studios and betting shops.

Parks as well as libraries and archives are to remain open during the second lockdown.

Public events are not permitted. Excepted are "sporting events in top-class sport" - they must, however, take place without an audience.

Rehearsals and artistic performances without an audience will also remain permitted - subject to distance and hygiene rules.

Exceptions also apply to demonstrations, professional meetings and events for religious purposes.

Funerals may continue to take place with a maximum of 50 persons.

Meetings in private space are generally permitted, but there are new restrictions

For example, events may still take place in private homes. However, the private living area is again significantly restricted. This includes only places that "serve the satisfaction of an immediate need for living". Explicit reference is made to "garages, gardens, sheds or barns". This means the end for garage and garden parties, but not the end for private meetings with others in the apartment. Outside the defined living area, for example in the garden, shed or garage, no more than six people (excluding underage children, but a maximum of six) from a maximum of two households may meet.

Sport only outdoors and at a distance

Sports activities will also be restricted by the regulation.

While it will continue to be possible to run outdoors, any form of indoor training will be prohibited. The only exceptions are for top athletes. Outdoor sports facilities may still be used by amateur athletes, but only if there is no physical contact with others.

Aggravations in nursing homes

A compulsory test for employees in old people's and nursing homes will be introduced. Once a week a PCR or antigen test should be performed to rule out infection.

The regulation states that visitors must present the negative result of "an anti-gene test, the acceptance of which must not be more than 24 hours ago, or a PCR test, the acceptance of which must not be more than 48 hours ago". If they do not have a test result, they must wear a mask. One visitor every two days

The rules on visits have also been tightened up, since a resident may only receive one visitor every two days. In total, no more than two different persons may be admitted for each resident in the period from November 3, 2020 to November 17, 2020 inclusive. Palliative and hospice care is excluded from this.

In hospitals and health resorts, there is no obligation for visitors to take a test. Employees in hospitals and health resorts must, however, be tested once a week - or wear a mask if too few tests are available. Hospital and health resort operators may also set stricter rules.

Masks are still compulsory in public transport

In public transport as well as in subway stations, bus stops, airports etc. a mouth and nose protector must be worn, the one-meter distance obligation also applies here.

Carpools and cab rides are only permitted if there are only two people per row of seats (including the driver).

Exceptions are made for transports of kindergarten children or for transports of people with disabilities, if this is necessary due to the number of passengers as well as when getting on and off the train.

Cable cars, gondolas and ascending aids may not be used for recreational purposes and are reserved for professional athletes.

Party prohibition in garages and gardens

There are no regulations for the immediate private living area. In garages, gardens or barns parties and any kind of events are prohibited. From which number of persons a meeting at these places is considered a party, is not clear from the documents.

Higher grades and universities enter Distance Learning

In the school sector, higher institutions must also switch to distance learning from the secondary school level onwards.

Kindergartens and compulsory schools, however, will remain open.

For 10 to 14-year-old pupils, the obligation to wear mouth and nose protection will be extended.

Measures for the retail sector

This time, trade can remain open without restrictions.

Even personal services - such as hairdressers or beauty salons - remain allowed.

However, only one customer at a time is allowed on ten square meters. If the customer area is smaller than ten square meters, only one customer may stay there.

Funerals with maximally 50 persons, wedding celebrations forbidden

The religious communities make their own rules to minimize the risk of infection. In indoor areas, a mouth and nose protector must be worn in any case. A maximum of 50 people may participate in funerals; the minimum distance rule and MNS obligation apply. Wedding ceremonies are forbidden, but it is allowed to get married at the registry office.