2. Covid-19 Act: Amendments to specific administrative laws in the COVID-19 crisis
Only a few days after the COVID-19 Act of Measures comes into force (16 March 2020), the first rectification is already underway:
The authorization for the responsible Federal Minister to issue prohibitions to enter certain business premises and places when COVID-19 occurs is being expanded: In the future, it will also be possible to prohibit entering workplaces as defined in Section 2 para 3 of the Employee Protection Act (ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz). According to the legal definition referred to, workplaces are
"workplaces inside buildings and workplaces outside. Several buildings of an employer located on the same premises or otherwise spatially connected to each other count together as one workplace. Construction sites within the meaning of this Federal Act are temporary or mobile construction sites where structural and civil engineering work is carried out. This includes in particular the following work: excavation, earthwork, actual building work, assembly and dismantling of prefabricated building elements, fitting out or installation, alterations, renovation, repairs, dismantling, demolition, maintenance, upkeep, painting and cleaning work, improvements. Foreign workplaces within the meaning of this Federal Act are all places outside workplaces where work other than construction work is carried out, in particular also the places in means of transport where work is carried out.
In addition, the legislator now expressly clarifies the relationship between prohibitions of entry on the basis of the COVID-19-Measures Act and the closure of establishments on the basis of the Epidemic Act 1959.
- Prohibition of entry does not constitute a closure of a business under the Epidemic Act 1959, but it also means that those companies affected by a prohibition of entry are not entitled to compensation for loss of earnings under Section 32 of the Epidemic Act 1959.
- Prohibitions to enter and closures are not mutually exclusive. In particular, a closure of business can also be issued after the ordering of entry prohibitions.
The amendment will enter into force retroactively from 16 March 2020. This is to underline that closures of business based on the Epidemic Law 1950, which will be issued after the entry into force of the ordinances under the COVID-19 Measures Act on 16 March 2020 (see in detail), are lawful.
Epidemic Act 1950
The Epidemic Act 1950 is supplemented by two paragraphs on "measures in the context of a pandemic":
- In accordance with the International Health Regulations, the Federal Minister responsible for health affairs will become the IGV contact point in Austria and has to decide on the following,
- what information is forwarded to the World Health Organisation (hereinafter referred to as the WHO), and
- to which authorities an information, which is transmitted by the WHO to the national IGV contact point, is forwarded.
In order to ensure the flow of information within Austria, the district administrative authorities and provincial governors are obliged to forward the necessary (personal) data to the Federal Minister.
- In addition, resources will be strengthened to the extent that, in times of a pandemic, scientific institutions, especially veterinary institutions, will be allowed to provide services for humans. However, such conduct has to be notified to the competent Ministry.
Please note: This newsletter merely provides general information and does not constitute legal advice of any kind from Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH. The newsletter cannot replace individual legal consultation. Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH assumes no liability whatsoever for the content and correctness of the newsletter.
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