Austria to introduce new COVID rules at work

“The employers, as well as the employees, are responsible for the implementation of the measures,” Mückstein said on Wednesday. [EPA-EFE / CHRISTIAN BRUNA]

From 1 November, everybody who has physical contact with other people in their workplace needs proof that they are either vaccinated, recovered, or tested negative for COVID-19, Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein announced in a press conference on Wednesday.

Until 14 November a grace period will be in place, where everybody who does not fulfil these criteria will have to wear an FFP-2 mask at work.

“The employers, as well as the employees, are responsible for the implementation of the measures,” Mückstein said on Wednesday.

Similar measures have already been adopted by some private companies to ensure the safety of their employees. With the new measures, the government is seeking to create legal certainty for the private sector and to ensure that people work in a safe environment.

“It is unacceptable that people are exposed to the risk of being infected in their working environment,” Mückstein said.

To enforce the new measures, employers will be required to check the adherence of their employees to the new measures on a random basis. Violations of the new measures will result in fines of €500 for employees and up to €3,600 for employers.

To ensure that companies and their employees are not burdened with additional costs, coronavirus tests will continue to be free and expenses will be covered by the government.

Austria witnessed a rise in infection rates in recent weeks. The vaccination rate on the other hand is stagnating for months and currently stands at around 62%.

(Oliver Noyan | EURACTIV.de)

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