By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
VIENNA (Worthy News) – Tensions are rising in Austria, which this week became Europe’s first country to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for adults.
Anyone over-18 refusing to get the jab faces massive fines of up to 14,400 euros ($16,280) annually.
Under the law, approved by Parliament last month, police will perform routine checks for people’s vaccination status vaccination.
If they do not comply, they could initially receive fines of up to 600 euros ($678). Residents persisting in refusing to get vaccinated will get a mandatory vaccine appointment.
Those who fail to show up face further sanctions, authorities warned. Austrians who complain in court could be fined 3,600 euros ($4070) up to four times per year, or 14,400 euros ($16,280).
Several countries have introduced mandates for the elderly or medical staff, but Austria is the first nation in Europe to adopt such sweeping measures.
About 72 percent of adult Austrians are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Authorities say the law provides exceptions for those who cannot get vaccinated for medical reasons or are pregnant.
It comes despite a debate within the EU about the proportionality of COVID restrictions, including a controversial health pass required to enter venues.
With protests mounting across Europe, Denmark this week lifted all of its domestic COVID-19 restrictions, making it the first EU member state to do so.
Nightclubs reopened, late-night alcohol sales resumed, and the Danish coronavirus application showing proof of vaccination or recovery is no longer needed to enter venues.
Additionally, people are no longer required to wear face masks, which critics say have become a symbol of fear and keeping distance between people.
Britain, which is not an EU member, has also lifted face masks requirements in public places while COVID health passes will be dropped for significant events.
Other governments are also under pressure to ease restrictions, including in the Netherlands, where restaurants and bars have only gradually been allowed to reopen after one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns.
Nightclubs in several Dutch cities plan to reopen on February 12 in protest against the two years of closures they have endured saying “people need to dance again.”
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