Corona Crisis

Austria introduces 2G rule nationwide

Austria's Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein announce new measures.
Austria's Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg and Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein announce new measures.

The Austrian government is ramping up pressure on the unvaccinated in the Corona crisis, introducing the 2G rule nationwide. As of November 8, only the vaccinated and recovered will have access to a variety of establishments, including hotels and restaurants.

Anyone who cannot prove vaccination or convalescent status will no longer be allowed into a restaurant, barber shop or event (25 or more people). Tourism facilities will then also only have access according to the 2G rule. "We will have to tighten the reins on the unvaccinated," Austrian Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg (ÖVP) said.

To encourage more people to get vaccinated for the first time, a four-week transition period will initially apply. During this period, the first vaccination in conjunction with a PCR test is considered as an access authorization analogous to 2G. After that, people must be fully vaccinated or have recovered in the past six months. In addition, in order to encourage citizens to have a booster vaccination, proof of vaccination is only valid for nine months after the second vaccination.

In Austria, an FFP2 mask must also be worn from 8 November in all retail outlets, as well as in libraries and museums, among other places.

Infections approach record high

The Austrian Ministry of Health recently reported 9,388 new infections in one day, approaching a new high in the pandemic. As of Nov. 5, 1,831 covid patients were hospitalized, 356 of them in intensive care units. "The momentum is extraordinary, and occupancy rates in intensive care beds are rising much faster than expected," Schallenberg said.

On Monday, the government already expects more than 400 patients in intensive care. That's 20 percent of Austria's capacity. Originally, the government wanted to introduce tougher measures only when the number of intensive care beds reached 500. Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) said that this threshold would also soon be exceeded.

Saxon government also confirms 2G rule

In Germany, the Saxon government also confirmed on 5 November the previously announced mandatory 2G rule for the entire state. From 8 November, unvaccinated people will not have access to indoor areas of restaurants and other indoor events.

To that end, the state cabinet approved a new Corona ordinance that will be in effect until Nov. 25. Children and adolescents, as well as people who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, will continue to be exempt from a stricter regulation.