Less than two weeks after the March 5 lifting of the mask mandate, the Austrian government announced that it would re-establish the requirement for masks and vaccines, as well as additional COVID-19 restrictions beginning March 23. The government has noted a growing number of cases in decision-making.
On March 5, an average of 29,000 new Covid-19 cases were reported in Austria in the previous seven days. By March 18, that number had risen to over 45,000, according to the report Forbes. Pointing to the rate of lawsuits, Austrian Health Minister Johannes Rauch has announced that the Alpine nation will re-establish its inner mask mandate.
Austrians have to wear masks to enter hotels, sports events and dozens of other places. Affected areas will have a choice between establishing a mask mandate or reintroducing a vaccine passport system. Restaurants and bars will be subject to stricter guidelines and will only have the option of checking for vaccination evidence.
The mask mandate will also apply to indoor gatherings of 25 people or more. For schools, the government plans to give an update on their plans after consulting the Ministry of Education.
Earlier this month, Austria repealed legislation that would make the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory in its adult population. From mid-March, Austrian police officers will check for vaccinations during traffic stops and other interactions with citizens. Austrians must show proof of vaccination or face heavy fines. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
The country’s decision to reintroduce the Kovid ban is not unexpected. When the mandate was suspended just two weeks ago, the government warned of the possibility. “I don’t think I need a crystal ball to tell you that today is the last chapter we will write about the vaccination order,” said Minister Caroline Edstadler at the time.
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