Vienna's Mayor Ludwig: "Pandemic has not yet been mastered"

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: February 21, 2022; 17:28 ♦ (Vindobona)

Mayor Ludwig announced that Vienna will keep some of the COVID-19 measures in place despite the federal government lifting many of them. Read which measures still apply in Vienna and what the mayor and health experts said about it.

Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig: "The pandemic is not over yet; the coronavirus remains part of our lives In view of the high number of infections, there is no reason to be careless." / Picture: © Magistrat der Stadt Wien / Christian Jobst / PID

Following consultations with the federal government and the other federal states, Vienna Mayor Michael Ludwig recently announced that, unlike the federal government, Vienna will retain the 2-G rule in gastronomy for the time being.

Night gastronomy will also be able to open in Vienna on March 5 but with restrictions in the form of 2-G or 2-G+.

In addition, Vienna wants to continue to rely on free COVID-19 tests.

“The pandemic is not over yet; the coronavirus remains part of our lives. In view of the high number of infections, there is no reason to be careless,” said Ludwig.

He also noted the high burden on the health and nursing staff, “In the last few days in Vienna we have had peak values ​​in terms of the number of occupants on the normal hospital wards.”

Referring to the testing system "Alles Gurgelt,” Mayor Ludwig explained that it is not only successful from a health point of view but also from an economic point of view.

According to Ludwig, during the period when the Delta variant was most prominent, from October to December 2021, testing saved around 38 to 42 million euros in costs for the health system.

Ludwig cited three advantages of testing:  breaking chains of infection, identifying virus mutations, and aiding the development of drugs that can prevent severe disease.

“I hope to convince the federal government to continue offering the PCR tests free of charge. Because it allows us to keep a close eye on the further course of the pandemic,” said the mayor.

“I am convinced that we can continue on the consistent path that we have been following for many months,” he added.

FFP2 mask requirement in Viennese retail remains

Ludwig will also continue to rely on an FFP2 mask mandate in the entire retail trade.

The federal regulation only requires this for areas such as the food trade and public transport.

The mayor of Vienna pointed out that the virus does not stop at individual shops.

“We will monitor the pandemic very closely and adapt our protective measures. However, we hope that we will be able to take the next opening step very soon, but it would be too early to give an exact date now, as the epidemiological situation is simply too uncertain,” said Ludwig.

Michael Binder, Medical Director of the Vienna Health Association, identified a slight downward trend in the COVID numbers, but he also said, “This trend is fraught with uncertainty.”

Although the currently dominant omicron variant is fading away, the sub-variant BA.2, which will be dominant in the coming week, could lead to a delay, according to Binder.

Vice Mayor and City Councilor for Education Christoph Wiederkehr also announced that the protective measures at Viennese schools would be relaxed.

Vaccinated and recovered children can therefore continue to go to school even if there are several cases of infection in one class. Previously, the entire class had to be sent home.

City of Vienna