The lockdown in Austria will de facto be extended by one week. Because the possibility of Friday testing no longer applies in view of the opposition blockade announced on Sunday, as the APA learned from government circles. This means that trade, gastronomy, tourism and schools will not be able to open until January 24th.
Originally it was planned that those who undergo a test would be able to gain advantages a week earlier – such as visiting cultural and sporting events or purchasing goods that are not needed every day, such as clothes or books. In addition, personal service providers such as hairdressers should be able to receive customers again on January 17th and schools should start classroom teaching.
A corresponding amendment, which would have made it possible for the freedom to work, was sent for assessment shortly before the turn of the year. On Sunday, however, the opposition announced for various reasons that it would refuse to approve the law. This means that the bill could pass the National Council, but would be put on hold by the Federal Council for around two months thanks to the narrow majority of the SPÖ, FPÖ and NEOS (31:30).
It is so clear to the coalition that the lockdown must be extended by a week. Government circles told the APA that their plan to open up trade, schools and culture by means of free tests on January 18 would no longer be feasible due to the attitude of the opposition. The lockdown will now apply to everyone in Austria until January 24th.
It was initially unclear whether there could be any changes here. Talks between the Ministry of Health and the opposition as well as between the federal government and the states were scheduled for Monday. As of Sunday evening, however, it did not look like an agreement between the coalition and the SPÖ or NEOS. A relent of the FPÖ can be ruled out in view of its course.