Government announces extension of lockdown – with no easing up of restrictions.
Extention from 11 a.m. Sunday 17th January.
Austria will remain in lockdown for even longer: as the government confirmed at a press conference on Sunday morning, the lockdown will remain in place until at least February 7
It will not end on January 24 as originally planned. Also come further tightening, such as a FFP2 mask obligation.
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) argued the extension was necessary with the spread of the British variant of the virus, which is likely to be much more contagious than the previous form.
FFP2 masks in shops and public transport from 25.1.21
Even during the lockdown, the rules will be tightened:
as of Jan. 25, FFP2 masks will be mandatory in stores and on public transportation, and the distance rule will be extended to two metres. “The mouth-nose protection is good, but the FFP2 mask is massively better,” explained Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens).
The FFP2 masks are to be offered at cost price in food retail stores. For those on low incomes, they are to be made available free of charge.
Retail, service providers and museums open from 8 February – restaurants remain closed
The federal government and state governors now want to evaluate the development of the pandemic together on a weekly basis and decide on the necessary next steps.
The goal is to set the first opening steps from February 8, said Kurz. According to the scientists, the target should be a seven-day incidence of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, which would correspond to nearly 700 new infections per day.
From today’s perspective, the goal is to allow all stores, body-related service providers such as hairdressers and museums to re-open under strict conditions as of February 8.
Tourism and gastronomy are to remain closed until the end of February in any case, mid-February is to be evaluated and a decision made as to whether an opening in March is possible.
Staggered opening of schools
Students will also have to stay at home, the start of face-to-face classes will be postponed: Distance Learning will remain until the semester break, after which there will be shift work.
Vienna and Lower Austria will start face-to-face classes on February 8. Upper Austria and Styria are moving the semester break forward by one week. All remaining provinces will start on-site classes on February 15.
Skiing and ice skating remain permitted
Skiing and ice skating will remain allowed, according to a decision by the states. According to Styrian Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer (ÖVP), the issue was not without controversy, but it was decided not to change the current rules again for the remaining lockdown weeks.
The government’s decision to extend the lockdown and even tighten some measures was not a party-political issue. But “a question of facts and responsibility,” Kurz explained. “We still have two to three tough months ahead of us,”