Austria: What is (not) allowed on New Year’s Eve this year

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The mood could be better. Shortly before the turn of the year, not only is celebration severely restricted by law, but exuberance also has no place in the minds of Austrians due to the pandemic. The Gallup Institute conducted an online survey of 1000 people on behalf of Wiener Städtische. According to the survey, 60 percent of respondents plan to celebrate the New Year as a couple or with their families. Only three percent plan to attend a party with more than ten people.

With a quarter of the Austrians the attitude to New Year’s Eve changed by the Pandemie very well, is called it in a transmission. Especially among younger people up to 30 and people with a higher level of education, the turn of the year no longer plays such a big role. They want to celebrate with far fewer people than usual or spend New Year’s Eve at home rather than in a larger public setting.

Because of high infection rates, nearly one-third of respondents require 2-G proof at private parties. According to the survey, however, this varies by region. For example, of those surveyed, 38 percent of Salzburgers wanted to adhere to the 2-G rule (recovered or vaccinated), but only 28 percent of Tyroleans did.

There are also cuts in fireworks. 80 percent of all Austrians do not or rather do not plan to shoot off fireworks on New Year’s Eve this year. Others generally reject private fireworks anyway because of the risk of accidents or for animal protection reasons. The police will supervise to the turn of the year the adherence to the regulations of the pyrotechnics law particularly exactly, announced Minister of the Interior Gerhard Karner in any case already on Monday.

New Year’s Eve is regularly by far the most damaging night of the entire year, Wiener Städtische reminded. The insurance pays for all New Year’s Eve damage – accidents, liability, building, motor vehicle and fire damage – an average of 5 to 5.5 million euros per year. Last year’s Corona New Year’s Eve was no exception.

Perhaps this time – and given the current mood in the country – it will be different. In any case, the Corona rules have been relaxed somewhat for New Year’s Eve – even for the unvaccinated.

What is now allowed on New Year’s Eve
So while the lockdown for the unvaccinated remains in place, there is an exception for New Year’s Eve. Even unvaccinated people are allowed to celebrate in a small circle, i.e. leave their homes for a party. The maximum number of visitors for such small celebrations is ten people

One change has been in force since yesterday, Monday: the closing time has been brought forward from 11 p.m. to 10 p.m. – throughout Austria, and not only in the catering industry, but also in tourism businesses, at events and cultural events. Galas or similar events must also end at 10 p.m. at the latest. Depending on the size of the event, access restrictions (such as booster requirements and PCR testing for up to 2,000 people) will become stricter.

The curfew has been met with sometimes fierce criticism in the social media. The fear is that it would motivate people to continue partying afterwards. The tenor is that people don’t seriously believe that every innkeeper or pub operator would close the door on his guests at 10 p.m. sharp – two hours before midnight. Many could then probably continue to celebrate in back rooms, even if probably more quietly than otherwise, so the criticism. It doesn’t help much when the national Covid crisis coordination (Gecko) advises against New Year’s Eve celebrations in principle – and if so, then recommends celebrations in small circles including pre-testing.

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