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Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure AT-2020-12/589 Updated – measures in Austria

Occupational safety measures concerning COVID-19

Arbeitnehmerschutzmaßnahmen aufgrund des Corona-Virus

Country Austria , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 16 March 2020 – 10 January 2022
Context COVID-19
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Occupational health and safety
Author Bernadette Allinger (Forba) and Eurofound
Measure added 14 April 2020 (updated 11 January 2022)

Background information

The Ordinance of the Federal Minister for Social Affairs, Health, Nursing and Consumer Protection in accordance with Section 2 No. 1 of the COVID-19 Measures Act (see sources), formulates the prohibition of entering public places in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. One of the exceptions to this prohibition is when it is required for professional purposes. Specific preventive measures in such cases are to be taken.

Content of measure

The prohibition to enter public places does not apply (among few other reasons) if it is required for professional purposes. In such a case, it is to be ensured that a distance of at least one metre can be maintained between people at the place of professional activity, unless the risk of infection can be minimised by taking appropriate protective measures. The mandatory wearing of a mechanical protective device that covers the mouth and nose area as a barrier against droplet infection in areas where this is not mandatory due to other legal provisions is only permitted if the employer and employee agree. It should be ensured that a professional activity should preferably take place outside the workplace, if this is possible and employers and employees agree on this.


The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

12 December 2021

On 12 December 2021, the Sixth COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance came into effect, awaiting that the Omicron wave would hit Austria strongly in late 2021/early 2022. It includes a recommendation for home office work, provided that this is possible and the employer and the employee agree. Furthermore, FFP-2 masks are to be worn when entering the place of work, unless physical contact with persons not living in the same household is excluded or the risk of infection can be minimised by other appropriate protective measures.

The ordinance shall remain in effect until 10 January 2022 (expected to be prolonged or replaced by a new ordinance).

15 November 2021

After another rise in infections (fourth wave), on 15 November 2021, the Fifth COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance came into effect, and thus, the Third COVID-19 Measures Ordinance ceased to be in force. It includes stricter regulations for employees and business owners/operators, as well as clients/customers. Employees, owners and operators may only enter work premises if they present a 3-G certificate (vaccinated, cured or tested). In night gastronomy, nursing homes and hospitals, a 2-G rule applies (vaccinated or cured). If such proof cannot be presented, proof of a negative result of a molecular biological test for SARS-CoV-2 must be presented. The test is only valid 72 hours. In addition, an FFP-2 mask must be worn in the case of direct contact with customers.

01 November 2021

On 1 November 2021, the Third COVID-19 Measures Ordinance came into effect. It states that workers, owners and operators may only enter workplaces where physical contact with other persons cannot be ruled out if they have a so-called "3-G certificate", which means they need to have proof of either being vaccinated, cured or tested, see [AT-2021-47/2082] ( Mobile care workers may only enter external places of work (i.e. mostly their clients' homes) if - in addition to presenting a 3-G certificate - they wear facial masks in closed rooms when in contact with clients. The same applies to workers in nursing homes and hospitals. Business owners of a place of work with more than 51 workers need to appoint a COVID-19 officer and prepare and implement a COVID-19 prevention concept.

01 July 2021

On 1 July 2021, the Second COVID-19 Measures Ordinance came into effect, stating that owners, operators and employees with direct customer contact may only enter places of work if they wear a mask when contacting customers and when dealing with parties in closed rooms, provided that the risk of infection is not minimised by other suitable protective measures. Vaccinated and cured persons are exempt from this. The Ordinance expired on 31 October 2021,

08 February 2021

On 8 February 2021, the Fourth COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance came into effect, increasing the minimum distance to be kept between people from one to two meters. Tests in nursing homes are now to be conducted every three days. Other professional groups with client contact are to be tested every seven days (e.g. teachers, kindergarten pedagogues, workers in logistics where the distance cannot be maintained) in order to be allowed to make entry into the place of work. In parallel to this legislation, the social partners have concluded a general collective agreement on Corona tests for employees AT-2021-5/1741 . If tests are not conducted, an FFP-2 mask is to be worn mandatory. The ordinance is to be in effect until 25 April 2021. With the tenth amendment to the Fourth COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance coming into effect, the end date was prolonged to 5 May 2021.

07 December 2020

On 7 December 2020, the Second COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance came into effect, adding that the work should preferentially take place outside of the regular place of work (i.e. recommending home office work). On 17 December 2020, this ordinance was replaced by the Third COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance, which did not bring about substantial changes for the area of work. However, for personnel in nursing homes, tests have become obligatory twice a week now. Employees in such homes with direct customer contact are now obliged to wear masks of a higher quality (FFP-2).

03 November 2020

On 3 November 2020, the First COVID-19 Protective Measures Ordinance came into effect, stating that at the place of work, a distance of one metre is to be maintained between people, unless the risk of infection can be minimised by means of suitable protective measures (i.e. facial masks). In nursing homes and hospitals, employees are obliged to take Corona tests once a week and wear facial masks.

09 July 2020

The original ordinance expired on 30 April 2020. A new ordinance (COVID-19 Relaxation ordinance, COVID-19 Lockerungsverordnung) came into force on 1 May 2020 and will expire on 31 August 2020. In principle, all aspects concerning health and safety of workers at the workplace remain in place with the exception of the recommendation to use home office.

Use of measure

The protective measures are widely adhered to.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Applies to all workers Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
Social insurance

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown


Involvement of social partners is unknown.

Views and reactions

Social partner views are unknown.



Eurofound (2020), Occupational safety measures concerning COVID-19, measure AT-2020-12/589 (measures in Austria), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.