Austria to end latest lockdown, keep restrictions for unvaccinated

Austria’s government has announced the country's fourth COVID-19 lockdown will end Sunday, while unvaccinated residents will still face restrictions, The Associated Press reported

Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer said Wednesday that some measures including a mask mandate for public transportation, inside stores and public spaces will remain in place for those who are vaccinated and those who have recovered from the virus.

Restaurants will also have to follow an 11 p.m. curfew, and there will be limits on the number of people who can attend cultural events.

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Under the previous lockdown that started last month, residents were prohibited from leaving their homes unless for work purposes, grocery shopping, physical activities or getting vaccinated.

Nehammer also said stricter measures could be implemented for regions that are heavily impacted by the pandemic, according to the AP.

“The lockdown for the unvaccinated continues. I also understand that the people who are affected by it feel aggrieved,” Nehammer said. “At the same time, there is the offer of science, that by getting vaccinated these troubles can be quickly put aside and that then common freedom can actually be lived together.”

Nehammer maintained that unvaccinated people could get their shots to end the restrictions, adding “it still takes a lot of convincing to get those who haven’t even been vaccinated yet,” the AP reported.

This comes as the government announced last month it would implement a vaccine mandate in early 2022.

About 67 percent of residents are fully vaccinated against the virus, which is a relatively low rate for the Western European country, the AP noted.