If we take it very seriously, the second lockdown is not over yet. It is currently the light version. But the second will seamlessly merge into the third after Christmas. And because not only we are a little confused about the different rules, regulations and recommendations, let’s try to explain the facts and see things in order.
But first let’s define the status quo based on the bare numbers: The previous high of new infections was reached on November 13 with 9586, by December 18, 5127 people in Austria had died of the coronavirus. On Friday there were already 297,424 people in Austria who have demonstrably survived a Covid 19 infection since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and are considered to have recovered.
What is actually true for Christmas now?
What the federal government announced for Christmas a few days ago continues to apply. That means, on December 24th and 25th are allowed in small groups. The government has defined a maximum of ten people from an unlimited number of households as a small group. So you could celebrate Christmas with up to new people from nine different households. At this point, however, it should be noted that just because something is allowed, it is not necessarily wise. Because the number of infections is still very high – hence the third lockdown.
What am I allowed to do in the third lockdown? And what not?
The third lockdown is from December 26th, January 18th. And even longer – namely until January 24th – the lockdown is to apply to everyone who does not take part in the second round of the mass tests in mid-January – more on this under “How about the freest one?” From the 26th the exit restrictions will apply again around the clock and not between 8:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. The known exceptions remain. You can leave your own four walls to go to work, to meet your basic needs, to get some fresh air.
Bars, cafes and restaurants remain closed except for “To go” or delivery services. Hotels also remain closed. Shops will not open after the Christmas holidays, with a few exceptions such as supermarkets or pharmacies. The so-called “body-hugging services”, i.e. hairdressing shops and co.
From January 18th on, it should be back Cultural events to be possible. A maximum of 500 people are admitted indoors and a maximum of 750 outdoors. But only if the visitors took part in the mass tests.
In principle, larger gatherings are not allowed. Several people from one household may only meet one person from another household.
And how about now with the freest?
For From January 15th to 17th, mass tests are planned again. If you do not take part, it has unpleasant consequences. Because the facilities, which will be reopened on January 18th, may only be used by those who can show a negative test. And the all-day exit restrictions, which will apply again on December 26, will only be relaxed from January 18 for those people who can show a negative test.
And what about New Year’s Eve now?
“On New Year’s Eve, so that is clarified: It is clear that you can celebrate Christmas, with the appropriate conditions. And from December 26th, the exit restrictions will apply again. So: there is no New Year’s Eve party at the turn of the year.„ Interior Minister Karl Nehammer said on Friday. This means that the same exit restrictions apply on New Year’s Eve as on “normal” lockdown days. A celebration with several people from different households is therefore not allowed.
Public Fireworks will not take place. The use of pyrotechnic articles of category F2, including rockets, firecrackers or lightning firecrackers in the local area is generally prohibited. Mayors could grant exceptions, but this is considered unlikely.
Is skiing allowed?
Short answer: Yes, but subject to conditions. Lifts and Co. will open from Christmas. Cross-country ski trails also remain open and ice skating is allowed. Gondolas and lifts may only be used with FFP2 masks.
Schools and universities – there was something else, wasn’t there?
While skiing is a long and widespread discussion, schools and universities are still a marginal issue, it seems. But there are also new regulations here. The Extension of the Christmas holidays is canceled, classes start on January 7th. However, again in distance learning, this applies to all school levels. It will start again with face-to-face classes on January 18th. Those who cannot produce a negative test must wear an FFP2 mask.
Universities were not explicitly mentioned, but they will probably continue to – as before – mainly remain in distance learning mode.
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