New COVID rules in the Austrian cultural sector

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Beginning June 10, 75 percent occupancy is possible in the cultural sector, and the square meter limit drops to ten square meters per person. These limits will then be completely lifted from July 1.

All relaxations in detail
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (both Greens) announced new relaxations on Friday. These will be implemented on June 10, 2021. The maximum attendance of 1,500 indoor and 3,000 outdoor will remain, but 75 percent of the seats may now be occupied. The curfew moved back to midnight should also please cultural operators.

Music rehearsals permitted for all
In the future, ten square meters (instead of 20) are prescribed per guest, music rehearsals in the amateur area are now possible – as with professional groups – under the 3-G rule, no distance or square meter rules have to be observed here. The new square meter rule also applies to museums; as of June 1, it will be dropped altogether.

There will be a major relaxation step on July 1: There are no longer any upper limits for events, but from 100 people there is an obligation to notify, from 500 people there is an obligation to obtain a permit; only the 3-G rules apply. This is likely to affect both the Vienna Festival, the first installment of which runs until mid-July, and the ImPulsTanz Festival (July 15 to August 15). Open-air concerts with standing room will also be able to take place again, which would mean the green light for the “Frequency Festival” (August 19-21) in particular. “Of course there will be standing events,” Kurz said when asked if there will be standing events such as concerts or festivals.

No mask requirement in theaters
Entry regulations will also be relaxed, bringing great relief in the cultural sector. The mask requirement will also be dropped indoors, which will make theater visits much more enjoyable. “Major events” will be possible again as of July 1, according to Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (ÖVP). In this context, she also referred to the “protective umbrella” for event organizers.

Secretary of State for the Arts and Culture Andrea Mayer (Greens) expressed relief in view of the opening steps in the field of arts and culture. “The arts and culture sector has suffered greatly from this pandemic, but it has also shown resilience and creativity in dealing with the crisis,” the state secretary said in a statement. Regarding the major summer festivals, Mayer now sees “a planning perspective.”

— sources: press conference of federal government on May 28 via Austrian Television (ORF), vienna.at and APA/picture: pixabay.com

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