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CULTURE
Vienna State Opera cancels all shows to January 6th due to Omicron
The Vienna State Opera has cancelled all performances up to and including January 5th, 2022 due to several cases of Omicron among staff and performers and the resulting number of contacts needing to quarantine.
Published: 1 January 2022 17:57 CET
Excluding lockdowns, Vienna's State Opera has not cancelled a single performance since the pandemic began. JOE KLAMAR / AFP
 
The first affected performance is the 6.30pm show of Strauss’ Die Fledermaus on January 1st.
 
“We will do all we can to resume performances on January 6th, said State Opera director Bogdan Rošcic, Standard reported.
 
“The State Opera has been battling with Covid-19 for almost two years and outside of lockdowns, has not cancelled a single performance to date,” Rošcic said, explaining that the situation had become increasingly difficult over the last few weeks.
 
More than 85 percent of the opera company have had three vaccinations against Covid-19 and they also take PCR tests at least three times a week.
 
“But the working conditions, especially among the artists, playing, singing, dancing and playing music together, make complete protection impossible,” the director said.
 
 
The highly contagious Omicron variant had led to a dramatic increase in infection rates and the company now hoped that by having a break and toughening up safety measures, they would be able to resume performances in a few days’ time, Rošcic said, apologising to all visitors for the inconvenience.
 
All tickets would be refunded, the State Opera said.
 
People who have been in contact with someone who tests positive for Omicron are considered Category 1 (K1) contacts. This means that even vaccinated people who have been in contact with a person infected with Omicron need to self-isolate for ten days, although they can take a PCR test to end the quarantine early after five days if they test negative. 
 
Contacts of people with previous variants are considered Category 2 (K2) and do not have to self-isolate
 
On Saturday, Austria reported 3,608 new Covid-19 infections and 16 Covid-related deaths.
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Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?
VIENNA
Why does Vienna’s waste department have a helicopter and a military plane?
Not every waste management department in the world gets a helicopter or military aircraft, but Austria's MA 48 isn't every waste management department. Here's why you may have seen the familiar orange colours on helicopters and military planes.
Published: 12 May 2022 13:16 CEST
The Viennese municipal waste department, known as MA48, is undoubtedly a big part of daily life in the Austrian capital – and not only for practical reasons.
Every Viennese will be familiar with the department’s extensive public relations campaigns, from contests for choosing funny one-liners for its trash cans to weekend-long outdoor events showing kids (and grownups) the importance of the proper waste collection and circular economy.
READ ALSO: Hasta la mista, baby? How to vote for your favourite Vienna trash can joke
But some of these public relations expenses might be harder to swipe under the carpet as the City of Vienna Court of Audit shone a light on the high costs of some of these actions, according to the daily newspaper Der Standard.
Most impressively, the audit made by request of opposition party FPÖ showed high expenses, including hiring a military aircraft and a helicopter – quite uncommon for a municipal waste department.
The MA 48 justifies the expenses by saying the aircraft served to attract apprentices and for public relations.
The SPÖ party, which governs Vienna, said that the department achieved “a maximum effect with a minimum budget with its public relations work” and “the advertising measures served to educate citizens and thus protect the environment.”, according to a press release.
READ ALSO: Why Vienna is a haven for wild animals – and where you can find them
The apprentices during one of Ma 48’s events in Vienna (Copyright: Christian Houdek/PID)
Vienna’s audit court partially understands but still recommended some measures to improve transparency. The PR department of MA 48 will set up a cost centre to improve those issues, according to Der Standard.
The City Audit Office Committee will meet for its periodical review of public expenses on May 19th, when the subject should be further debated.
Amanda Previdelli
news@thelocal.at
@aprevidelliEN
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