Austria lifted its lockdown on Sunday for people with a "2G" pass, meaning they were vaccinated against COVID-19 or recently recovered from the illness. People without the certificate are only allowed to leave their homes to go to work or for other essential purposes. There is an 11pm curfew for restaurants and an FFP2 mask is required on public transport and in indoor spaces.
Many cultural venues will be able to reopen on Sunday although some of the rules depend on the region.
For cultural gatherings or events, there are caps on the number of people depending on whether it is indoors or outdoors.
Austria imposed a national lockdown in late November shortly after placing restrictions on the unvaccinated. Since then, daily infections have come down significantly as the chart below shows.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands gathered in Austria's capital Vienna on Saturday to protest mandatory Covid vaccines and home confinement orders for those who have not yet received the jabs, The Local reported. Police said an estimated 44,000 people attended the demonstration, the latest in a string of huge weekend protests since Austria last month became the first EU country to say it would make Covid vaccinations mandatory in February.
A partial confinement since last month ends on Sunday for the vaccinated, but those who have not received the required doses will have to remain at home.
“No to vaccine fascism,” read one protest sign. “I’m not a neo-Nazi or a hooligan,” said another, “I’m fighting for freedom and against the vaccine.”
Vienna... pic.twitter.com/zooKzUQLgT— Popper (@Kukicat7) December 11, 2021
Vaccination is to be obligatory from February for all residents older than 14, except in the case of a dispensation for health reasons.
Nobody will be vaccinated by force, the government has said, but those who refuse the shot will have to pay a initial fine of 600 euros ($670), which can then increase to 3,600 euros ($4,000) if not settled.
Vienna 🔥✊ pic.twitter.com/TQb5VDXhWO— Elisa 🇬🇧🩸 (@JustLaElisa17) December 11, 2021
Why “exclude those who aren’t vaccinated, especially children?” asked the working mother who said she was vaccinated, but did not want to give her surname.
“It’s incredible discrimination not to be able to send a kid to dancing, tennis or swimming lessons.”
Analea, a 44-year-old violin teacher who also refused to give her family name, said this was “not the direction a democracy should be taking. We can have different opinions and values, but still live together freely,” she said.