Vienna Finally Lifts Mask Mandate – and Bans Masks from Public Transport

TOPSHOT - A commuter wears an FFP2 protective face mask on a public transport underground
ALEX HALADA/AFP via Getty Images

The city of Vienna has finally lifted its long-standing masking requirement on public transport – and now those who still wear masks are banned from doing so, and could even face fines.

Vienna lifted its mandatory mask policy on public transportation on March 1st, after the rest of Austria had lifted similar requirements months prior.

Now, while those who do not wish to wear a mask are able to once again travel Vienna’s public transport mask-free, those who do wish to wear a mask could face fines of up to 150 euros, Austrian newspaper Kurier reports.

Previously, those with a medical exemption could get around the mandatory mask requirement. Now, thanks to an anti-masking law passed by the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) and its populist Freedom Party (FPÖ) coalition allies in 2017, those who wish to keep wearing masks will need a medical note.

The law, which is named the AGesVG, was initially proposed in order to stop the wearing of full-face Islamic veils, such as the niqab and the burqa, but it encompasses all masks that cover the face of a wearer.

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Austrian government is looking for a way around the current problem for those who wish to keep wearing masks on public transportation, and the Interior Ministry has asked police to show leeway to those wearing masks.

“In the application of the AGesVG, the police will intervene proportionately, especially in the coming months. If the person can make a health justification credible, there is no administrative offence,” the ministry said.

Since it was enacted in 2017, the anti-masking law has been broken several times, often by Muslims protesting against it.

Swiss Islamist activist Nora Illi was one of those who purposely violated the law in November of 2017, being briefly detained by Austrian police while walking in the central Stephanplatz square in Vienna.

The end of the mask mandate in Vienna marks the death of one of the last remaining coronavirus restrictions in place in Austria, a European Union member-state once attempted to make coronavirus vaccines mandatory for all Austrians over the age of 18, threatening those who did not comply with fines and possible prison sentences.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)



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