Q and A : the most important questions about the second lockdown

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Austria in second lockdown: Since Tuesday new measures have been in effect, including exit restrictions. This naturally raises questions. We answer the most important ones.

Monday was the last day without massive restrictions in Austria. The “second lockdown” announced by the government will last at least until November 30. For example, exit restrictions are planned between 8 and 6 pm. Restaurants will close, shops will remain open, and the upper grades will switch to distance learning.

The new measures raise questions: When can I leave my apartment? Do I need a confirmation if I have to go to work at night? Can I invite friends to my home? The following are answers to the most important questions about the second lockdown:

?️ How long do the measures apply?

The measures initially apply until November 30. Except for the initial restrictions, which for the time being will only apply until November 12, 2020. However, they will probably be extended until the end of November.

? When can I leave my apartment?

During the day, no exit restrictions apply. Between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. it is generally prohibited to leave your “own private living area” – this includes your second home. However, as in spring, five exceptions apply to leave the house after 8 pm:

To the practice of vocational purposes
To cover necessary basic needs of daily life
For the care and nursing of those in need
For the prevention of dangers to life, limb and property
For the purpose of “physical and mental recovery


? What falls under “Covering the basic needs of daily life”?

These include shopping, visits to the doctor or pharmacy, bank or public authorities, but also travel to the second home and contact with a partner who is not living in the same household, going to church or visiting the cemetery.

? And what is meant by “physical and mental recovery”?

The government cites walks, jogging or walking the dog as explicit examples. According to information from the Ministry of Social Affairs, anything that is used for recreation during the day can also be used at night. One appeals to the reason and sense of responsibility of all. The rules of distance apply here just as during the day.

? Do I have to prove why I am on the road between 8 and 6 p.m.?

Anyone who is still on the road after 8 p.m. and before 6 a.m. – for example, to get home from work – does not have to provide proof (such as a confirmation from the employer), as Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) emphasized. One only had to make it credible to the police officers. The police will then decide whether to file a complaint.

⚖️ What kind of punishment should I expect?

Anyone who breaks the night-time curfew can face fines of up to 1450 euros.

? Can my partner stay overnight with me?

At the press conference at the weekend, it was emphasized that this is part of meeting basic human needs. This means that you are still allowed to visit life partners after 8 p.m. and also stay overnight there.

? May I invite family and friends to my home?

This is possible in principle, because there are no restrictions on the actual living area. However, the government appeals to the common sense of the population to avoid contacts outside the home if possible. According to the government, visiting friends is in any case not a valid reason to leave one’s own private home between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In gardens, garages, sheds or barns, one may receive a second household at most, but the six-person upper limit (plus six children) applies. This prohibits celebrations in these locations.

? Are the police allowed to check in my apartment whether measures are being observed?

No. The private living area is excluded from the regulation.

? May I meet friends outside?

Yes, but even during the day in public places there are contact restrictions: For example, only groups of six people may meet without the generally applicable one-meter distance – these people may also come from a maximum of two households. In addition, six children can be present.

??? Can grandparents or neighbors look after my children?

According to the Ministry of Health, the six children mentioned above do not necessarily have to be your own children. This makes it possible, for example, for the neighbor’s child to be supervised, or for grandparents to be supervised by their grandparents.

? Are there exceptions to the ban on events?

Events are almost completely prohibited – apart from cultural events, the ban also applies to weddings, birthday and anniversary celebrations as well as occasional markets (such as Christmas markets). Exceptions are professional sports events and events in private homes. However, the latter may only take place in the actual living area. Prohibited are however celebrations in garages, gardens, sheds or barns.

Rehearsals and artistic performances without an audience are also exempt from the event ban, as long as they are for professional purposes, as well as professional training and demonstrations. Meetings of organs of political parties are also still permitted.

? Is there a ban on alcohol at night as in parts of Germany?

Although there is no ban on alcohol at night, one should not overdo it. Whether or not the respective behavior is inadmissible is decided on a case-by-case basis by the executive branch. An “accumulation of several people with alcohol” after 8 p.m. would lead to a complaint, announced Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer (ÖVP).

? When must I wear a mask and keep my distance?

In public places, a distance of one meter must be maintained to all persons who do not live in their own household. When staying in closed public spaces, an additional mouth-and-nose protection (MNS) must be worn. Children up to the age of six years are exempt from the MNS obligation. Those who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons must carry a medical certificate – and are then allowed to wear a so-called face shield.

There are exceptions to the one-meter distance rule for groups of six (plus six children) consisting of a maximum of two households, as well as for the care of people with disabilities, the performance of religious acts, in airplanes and on public transportation, provided these are full.

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

The one-meter distance must also be observed at the workplace – unless there are other protective measures (plexiglass walls, etc.) If neither of these is possible, the wearing of a mouth-and-nose protection is mandatory. Where possible, home office is recommended.

? Which sports are allowed?

All contact sports in the leisure sector are prohibited, including soccer. Individual and recreational outdoor sports remain permitted, as long as there is no physical contact. Sports facilities are closed to amateur athletes, except for outdoor sports facilities where there is no physical contact (such as golf, tennis, athletics). Top athletes and their trainers, on the other hand, may enter any sports facilities and practice their sport professionally or participate in international competitions – without spectators.

?️ Are there any restrictions on shopping?

The store remains completely open. Both customers and employees are required to keep their mouths and noses protected and to keep a meter distance. Access to the stores will also be limited: Each customer must be allowed ten square meters. If the customer area is smaller than ten square meters, only one customer is allowed in it.

✂️ Can I still go to the hairdresser or physiotherapy?

In addition to retail, all service businesses such as hairdressers and cosmetics will remain open. Physiotherapy and massage are also permitted, as are solariums and dog training schools. Both customers and employees are subject to the MNS obligation and the one-meter distance rule.

? Can I order or pick up food?

The entire restaurant will be closed for customer use. Only the collection of food and drinks is permitted between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Delivery services remain permitted without time restrictions. Pubs, bars and all nightclubs are also affected by the closure. Canteens, hotel restaurants (for hotel guests) and drive-in fast foods remain open.

?️ What else will have to close in addition to the restaurant business?

All recreational facilities such as fitness studios, swimming pools, museums and museum railroads, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, cabarets, zoos or leisure and amusement parks will be closed. Also affected by the closure are dance schools, betting shops, amusement arcades and casinos, indoor playgrounds, paintball facilities and facilities for prostitution.

Libraries will remain open.

? Are there any restrictions in school and kindergarten?

Kindergartens and the compulsory school area will remain normally open until further notice. The upper grades, however, will switch to Distance Learning at home from Tuesday. There are increased protective measures for ten to 14-year-old students: “In unsafe situations”, the school management can order students to wear masks in class. There will also be no more school events, but lessons outside and excursions to the park around the corner will remain possible. External persons (e.g. clubs) will no longer be allowed to participate in lessons. Universities will also be in distance learning mode.

? Can I visit someone in a nursing home or hospital?

Visiting restrictions apply in old people’s homes and nursing homes. Each resident is allowed one visitor per two days. In the period from November 3 to 17, this may only be two different people. From 18 November onwards, each resident may receive one visitor per day. Visitors must show a negative result of a corona test. Alternatively, a “Corona Virus Pandemic Respiratory Protection Mask (CPA)” or a higher quality product (such as FFP2 mask) must be worn during the entire stay. Employees are tested weekly, newly admitted residents must show a negative result of a corona test.

Visitors to the hospital, on the other hand, only have to comply with the usual distance and mask rules. The suggestion is to “minimize the risk of infection through appropriate protective measures, as far as this is technically possible and reasonable”.

May I go to church or to a funeral?

The religious communities make their own rules to minimize the risk of infection. Indoors, a mouth and nose protector must be worn in any case. A maximum of 50 people may attend funerals, but the minimum distance rule and MNS obligation apply.

? What about weddings?

Wedding ceremonies are prohibited, but it is allowed to get married at the registry office.

? Are carpools and cab rides allowed?

Carpools and cabs are only allowed if there are no more than two people per row of seats (including the driver). Exceptions are made for transportation of kindergarten children or people with disabilities.

?️ May I stay overnight in a hotel?

All hotels and lodging establishments are closed for tourist purposes. There are exceptions for business travelers. Those vacationers who have already begun their vacation before the coming Tuesday may still complete it until the end.

?️ And what about boarding schools and dormitories?

Boarding schools, dormitories for apprentices and student residences remain open.

-hector pascua, source: APA and sozialministerium.at

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