Lockdown in Austria is extended with loosening until 6 January

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The government announces the opening plan after the lockdown. What may open and when.

The Trade and services will be allowed to open on Monday, 7. December 2020. Schools and kindergartens, too. Upper schools and universities will remain in Distance Learning – with the exception of Matura students. The exit restrictions apply again from Monday, 7 December from 20.00 to 6.00 hours. There are exceptions for the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve, when ten people are allowed to meet, the government announced on Wednesday.

Hotels and restaurants remain closed
From Monday onwards, museums and libraries in Austria will also be allowed to open again. Cultural events remain prohibited, cinemas also remain closed. Indoor sports are still not allowed, and fitness studios may not be entered. From 24 December onwards, individual outdoor sports such as skiing or ice skating will be permitted.

The loosening of restrictions will be effective from 7 December. From then on, two households are allowed to meet, with the exception of the Christmas holidays and New Year’s Eve. For children over ten years of age, masks are compulsory in class from Monday. Retailers are allowed to unlock their masks again from Monday, as are services – including those close to the body such as hairdressers or masseurs. There is a limit of one customer per ten square meters.

Restaurants and hotels must remain closed until 6 January. Christmas markets are not permitted, and the new regulations also mean the end of punch stands. No open alcoholic beverages may be sold by pickup.

The hard lockdown, which has been in effect for about two weeks, has shown its effect, said Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. This is shown by the 7-day incidence. This was around 600 weeks ago, and will most likely be 250 by the end of this week. That would be 3,500 newly infected persons per day. The excessive demand on intensive care capacities has been averted. Therefore there could now be cautious opening steps. “The pandemic is not over”, the Chancellor stated. He also expects that the number of infections around Christmas and New Year’s Eve will rise again.

Theaters and cinemas until 6 January closed
The loosening of the lockdown in Austria, which comes into force on Monday, affects museums and libraries in the cultural sector. These will be able to reopen on 7 December. Each visitor must have at least ten square meters of space available, and there is also an obligation to wear a mouth and nose protector. However, events are still prohibited until 6 January inclusive. This is “painful”, so Federal Chancellor Sebastian short (ÖVP).

Bookstores as well as galleries are allowed to open again from Monday onwards – with the restrictions that apply to the rest of the trade. Cultural institutions and cinemas can only reopen from 7 January. “We know that this is hard”, said Werner Kogler (Greens), the Vice-Chancellor responsible for culture, at the press conference, and thanked the cultural workers for their understanding. “We do not want to let it be forgotten that art and culture are also an essential part of life.

The reopening of cinemas, theaters, opera houses and concert halls should be “restricted depending on the occurrence of infection”. An interim evaluation of these is to take place in mid-December, during which further details will be determined. As already allowed, “rehearsals and artistic performances without an audience, which are for professional purposes” will remain permitted.

These are the new rules in detail

Restrictions:
In the time from 20.00 to 06.00 o’clock you may leave the house only for the following reasons:

  • Work
  • Necessary basic needs of daily life
  • Help/care for other people
  • Exercise in the fresh air
  • Continue to avoid social contacts if they are not absolutely necessary.
  • During the day (06.00-20.00) it is possible that people living together in one household may meet with another household (up to 6 adults and 6 children)
  • On December 24/25/26/31, it is possible for a total of 10 people to meet, regardless of the number of households involved

(The initial restrictions must be renewed every 10 days in the main committee)

Borders
By 10 January, the classification of risk areas is to be based on the 14-day incidence of positive corona cases. All countries with a value higher than 100 will be classified as risk areas. Persons entering the country from a risk area have to go into quarantine for 10 days. After 5 days a PCR test can be done to end the quarantine in case of a negative test result. Commuters, etc. there will be exceptions.

Public places
The basic rule is: In public places, all persons not living in their own household must be kept at a distance of one meter. When meeting in closed public places, keep one meter distance and wear a mouth and nose protector.

Birthday celebrations, anniversary celebrations are prohibited.

Schools
Compulsory schools and kindergartens resume regular operations. From the age of 10 years on, the wearing of masks is also compulsory in class.
High schools and universities will continue to offer distance learning. For high school graduates, regular operations will be resumed.

Trade
The trade has opened again. There is an obligation to wear a mouth and nose protector. For customer areas there is a limit of 10 m2 per customer. In shopping centers, only those of stores are counted as areas.

Services
All services, including those close to the body, are open. It is compulsory to wear a mouth and nose protector. For customer areas there is a limit of 10 m2 per customer. In the case of services close to the body, no food or drinks may be given to customers.

Workstation
Wherever possible, work should be done in the home office.
At the workplace, a distance of one meter must be kept between people, unless there are other protective measures (plexiglass walls, etc.) If it is not possible to keep the distance and there are no other protective measures (partitions, plexiglass walls, fixed teams, etc.), it is necessary to wear a mouth and nose protector.

Retirement Homes
– Employees must be tested weekly. If no tests are available, an FFP2 mask must be worn.

  • Newly admitted residents must show a negative result of a corona test.
  • Visitors must present a negative test result. Only one visitor per resident per week is allowed.
  • Minor residents of homes for the disabled and residents in need of support may be visited by two persons (e.g. parents).
  • Excluded from the one person/week rule is e.g. palliative or hospice care.
  • The operators must also draw up a COVID-19 prevention concept to minimize the risk of infection.

Hospitals
Employees must be tested weekly. If no tests are available, an FFP2 mask must be worn. Only one visitor per patient, per week is allowed, provided the stay is longer than one week.

Minors and patients in need of support may be accompanied or visited by two persons (e.g. parents).
Excluded from the one person/week rule is e.g. accompaniment to pregnancy examinations before, during and after delivery or palliative or hospice accompaniment.

The operators must also draw up a COVID-19 prevention concept to minimize the risk of infection.

Gastronomy
Catering establishments are closed. Pick up is possible in the period from 06:00-19:00 o’clock. No open alcoholic beverages may be sold by pickup. Delivery services are allowed without time limit. From January 7th the gastronomy can reopen under restrictions depending on the occurrence of infection.

Hotels
Closed. There are exceptions, e.g. for business trips that cannot be postponed.
From 7 January onwards, accommodation facilities can reopen with restrictions depending on the occurrence of infection.

Events are prohibited (this includes cultural events, sports events, wedding celebrations, birthday parties).

  • hp, deduced from Press Conference conducted today via Austrian Television, orf. Picture: orf.at

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