The Austrian government announced during a recent conference in Vienna that it will be ending most of the country’s COVID-19 restrictions beginning March 5. Officials said the stabilization of new infections allows the country to open slowly.
The first step started as early as Saturday, February 19, with proof of vaccination or recent recovery from the coronavirus no longer required to attend events, go to restaurants or bars or participate in various activities. Proof of a negative test is sufficient for entry.
Chancellor Karl Nehammer said the bulk of the restrictions will end on March 5, with entry requirements and other restrictions being dropped altogether. Night clubs can also be reopened, while restaurants and bars can stay open past midnight.
The requirement to wear protective FFP2 masks will remain in place where absolutely necessary, Nehammer said, “to protect vulnerable groups.” Wearing of such masks will be necessary for public transport, essential shops and pharmacies. Proof of at least one negative test will also be necessary or will continue to be required for staff and visitors of hospitals and nursing homes.
Tourism will also open. At present, travelers need to provide proof of vaccination or recent recovery, plus a booster shot or a negative test. From March 5, a negative test will suffice.
Long-term outlook unclear
Health Minister Wolfgang Mueckstein, however, stressed that the long-term outlook remains unclear, saying they can’t promise there will no longer be a need for stricter measures in the coming months. “The virus has taught us that often.” (Related: Austria has practically made it ILLEGAL for people to exist without getting COVID-19 vaccines.)
“We must use the summer to vaccinate so that we are not surprised by a new variant in the fall. And the general COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which we as the government are of course standing by, will give us this safeguard,” he said.
A requirement for most adults in Austria to be vaccinated became mandatory earlier this month and the country was the first to create such a rule in Europe. However, enforcement by the police isn’t due to start until mid-March, when authorities, together with a commission of experts, will decide if further steps will take effect.
This new expert commission will advise the government regarding compulsory vaccination and has been set up to ensure that any actions regarding the law will be supported by science.
Austria’s compulsory vaccination law will come into effect on March 16, and will begin the second phase of the country’s pandemic efforts. This means the police can check for vaccination certificates and report violations to the district administration authorities. Those who are caught still not having their shots will face fines of up to 3,600 euros. (Related: Austria first Western country to force covid “vaccines” on all citizens … dissent will not be tolerated.)
Health Minister Wolfgang Muckstein pointed out that the vaccination law was drawn up in a joint process by the federal government with the help of experts and some members of the opposition.
Still, the law is under increasing doubt due to the stabilizing COVID situation and the relaxation of most measures beginning early March. Almost 100,000 Austrians have also registered their opposition, with some arguing that the mandate could violate the fundamental rights of its citizens.
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