Austria Extends Hard Lockdown

By Dejan Vukosavljevic
(Credit: Christian Thür)

The Austrian government has announced the extension of its hard nationwide lockdown for an initial period of 14 days, until Feb. 7, 2021.

The cabinet of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also decided to impose more drastic measures, such as mandatory FFP2 face masks in supermarkets, pharmacies, and post offices; meanwhile, hotels, restaurants, bars, cafees, gyms, indoor sports and culture venues will remain closed. Strict curfews will also remain in place.

Restaurants, hotels, bars and events will not be opened until March 2021. The situation is to be reassessed in mid-February.

Per sources of the Vienna online portal, Vice-Chancellor Werner Kogler and Minister for Culture Andrea Mayer told the directors of biggest theaters, concert halls, and opera houses that they will not be reopened anytime soon.

Schools will remain closed. Working from home will not be mandatory for the time being, but is strongly recommended.

Health authorities are worried because of the appearance of the SARS-CoV-2 novel variant in Austria, which has been detected throughout the whole territory. The country has stabilized the number of new daily COVID-19 infections on a relatively high level, with 3,510 new cases on Jan. 14, 2021.