Restriction of personal freedom of movement
On 1 May 2020, the COVID-19 Relaxation Ordinance (Ordinance of the Federal Minister of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection on Relaxation of Measures taken to Combat the Dissemination of COVID-19) entered into force.
The Ordinance will expire at the end of 30 June 2020.
The COVID-19 Relaxation Ordinance repealed the Ordinance on Temporary Measures to Prevent the Dissemination of COVID-19, Federal Law Gazette II No. 96/2020, and 2. the Ordinance under section 2(1) of the COVID-19 Measures Act, Federal Law Gazette II No. 98/2020.
Under the COVID-19 Relaxation Ordinance, the following measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 will apply from now on:
When entering public places in the open air, a distance of at least one metre must be maintained from persons not living in the common household.
When entering public places in closed rooms, in addition to maintaining a distance of at least one metre, the wearing of a face mask is mandatory.
The same applies in public transport, although it is possible to deviate from maintaining a distance of at least one metre in exceptional cases if this is not possible due to the number of passengers and when boarding and alighting.
Entering the customer area of business premises is permitted under the following conditions:
- To persons not living in the same household, a distance of at least one meter must be maintained.
- Customers must wear a face mask.
- The operator must ensure that he and his employees wear a face mask when in contact with customers, unless there is no other suitable protective device for physical separation between the persons that guarantees the same level of protection.
- The operator must take suitable measures to ensure that a maximum number of customers are present in the customer area at the same time so that 10 m2 are available per customer. If the customer area is smaller than 10 m2 , only one customer at a time may enter the premises. In the case of business premises without personnel, this requirement must be pointed out in an appropriate manner.
- This also applies to structurally connected business premises (e.g. shopping centres, market halls) with the proviso that the areas of the customer areas of the business premises and the connecting structure are to be added together and that a maximum number of customers may be present at the same time both on the area thus determined and in the customer area of the respective business premises so that 10 m2 of the area thus determined or of the customer area of the business premises are available per customer.
These requirements also apply to facilities for the practice of religion.
If, due to the nature of the service, the minimum distance of one metre between the customer and the service provider and/or the customer's wearing of a face mask cannot be complied with, this is only permissible if the risk of infection can be minimised by other suitable protective measures.
A minimum distance of one metre and the wearing of a face mask is also to be applied at outdoor markets.
Place of professional activity:
At the workplace, a distance of at least one metre must be maintained between persons unless the risk of infection can be minimised by other suitable protective measures.
The obligation to wear a face mask in areas where it is not already mandatory under other legislation is only permitted by agreement between employer and employee.
If the distance of at least one metre between persons cannot be maintained due to the nature of the occupational activity, the risk of infection must be minimised by other suitable protective measures.
These regulations must also be applied to the employer's vehicles if they are used for professional purposes during working hours.
Carpooling of persons not living in the same household is only permitted if a face mask is worn and only two persons are transported in each row of seats including the driver.
The same applies to taxis and taxi-like businesses.
It is still forbidden to enter the premises of all types of catering establishments.
The collection of pre-ordered food is permitted, provided that it is not consumed on site, that a distance of at least one metre is maintained from persons not living in the same household and that a face mask is worn.
The ban on entering the premises does not apply to professionally necessary purposes and to delivery services.
Entering accommodation establishments for the purpose of recreation and leisure is prohibited.
The Ordinance defines accommodation establishments as places of accommodation which are under the management or supervision of the accommodation provider or a person authorised by the latter and which are intended to accommodate guests for a temporary stay, whether for payment or free of charge. Supervised camping or caravan sites, unless they are permanent sites, and refuges are considered to be accommodation establishments.
Sports and other facilities:
It is forbidden to enter sports facilities for the practice of sports. Exceptions to this rule are access to non-public sports facilities by professional athletes and access to non-public sports facilities for outdoor sports by athletes who are able to maintain a distance of at least two metres between all athletes during the typical practice of this type of sport. This distance must be maintained when practising this sport. Enclosed areas of the sports facility may only be entered if this is necessary for the practice of sports in the open air. The time spent in the sports facility is limited to the duration of the sport.
Furthermore, it is prohibited to enter museums and exhibitions, libraries and archives, leisure facilities except in private homes, as well as cable cars and cogwheel railways.
Leisure facilities within the meaning of the Ordinance are deemed to be establishments and facilities which serve the purpose of entertainment, amusement or recreation. These are, for example, leisure and amusement parks, baths, dance schools, betting shops and casinos, animal parks and zoos, show mines, facilities for the practice of prostitution, theatres, concert halls, cinemas, variety and cabaret theatres, indoor playgrounds, paintball facilities, museum railways and excursion boats.
Events with more than 10 persons are prohibited.
In particular, planned meetings and undertakings for entertainment, amusement, physical and mental training and edification are considered events. These include in any case cultural events, sporting events, weddings, film screenings, exhibitions, congresses.
For funerals, the maximum number of participants is 30.
When entering venues with persons not living in the same household, a distance of at least one meter must be maintained. Furthermore, a face mask must be worn in closed rooms. For events in closed rooms an area of 10 m2 per person must also be available.
The ban on events does not apply to events held in private homes, assemblies under the Assembly Act 1953, Federal Law Gazette No. 98/1953 (these are permitted under the conditions of this Federal Act), meetings for professional purposes if they are absolutely necessary to maintain professional activity, and entering educational institutions.
Prohibitions on entering and conditions and requirements under this Ordinance shall not apply
- to avert an immediate danger to life, limb and property,
- for the care and assistance of persons in need of support or
- for the supervision of underage children.
The obligation to wear a face mask does not apply to children up to the age of 6 years and to persons who cannot be expected to wear the device for health reasons.
The obligation to maintain the distance does not apply between persons with disabilities and their accompanying persons who provide personal assistance or care services.
If suitable protective devices are available between the persons to separate them, a distance of one meter does not have to be maintained.
For the purposes of the Regulation, persons who live in the same household only temporarily are treated equally to persons who live in the same household.
In the case of checks by public security bodies, the reasons for invoking the exception must be substantiated.
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