Austria plans to lift almost all Corona measures on March 5. The mask requirement is to remain in place. This was announced by Chancellor Karl Nehammer after the opening summit between the federal government, the provinces and the expert committee "Gecko". The opening is to take place in two steps, he said.
On February 19, the 2-G rule is to be replaced with the 3-G rule in ski resorts and sports facilities, for bus travel, services close to the body and at events. In a second step, the current 24-hour curfew is to be abolished on March 5 and night catering is also to be allowed to reopen. Events are to be allowed again with no limit on attendees. "We have not yet overcome the pandemic. But as it stands now, we decide that people should now be freed from restrictions as much as possible," Nehammer said. Entry is also to be made much easier with the 3-G rule then in effect for those vaccinated, recovered and tested.
The current infection situation allows "a dignified spring awakening from an entrenched crisis mode," said Austria's Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein. However, the situation could worsen again in the fall, the minister warned. Therefore, the summer must be used for vaccination. The vaccination obligation is not up for discussion, said Mückstein. Currently, the rate of those with basic protection, which usually requires two shots, is 70 percent. With a seven-day incidence of around 2,500 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, Austria has a much higher rate than Germany.
In the run-up to the opening summit, the "Gecko" Commission had already published a report in which the experts involved had expressed cautious optimism. It would be possible to take the first steps toward easing the restrictions - but only on condition that the peak of the current omicron wave is passed, they said. All forecast scenarios would show that after the peak of the wave, easing would no longer have a significant impact on the course of the pandemic.
Image by Gerd Altmann