Lockdown starts for unvaccinated people: Austria is considering night curfew

Lockdown starts for the unvaccinated
Austria is considering night curfew

Since midnight there has been a lockdown for unvaccinated people in Austria. Those who have not been vaccinated or have recovered in the past 180 days are only allowed to leave their homes for compelling reasons. In the most important weeks just before Christmas, this is a heavy burden for retailers.

The Austrian government is thinking of night exit restrictions for all citizens to combat the fourth corona wave. This proposal is on the table and will be decided next Wednesday, said Health Minister Wolfgang Mückstein (Greens) on Sunday evening in the ORF news program “ZiB2”.

“We’re all in the same boat,” said Mückstein. If a general lockdown is to be prevented, a reduction in contact between people is imperative, the minister added. The restrictions would apply from 10 p.m. and would also mean that night restaurants would be closed again.

Mückstein emphasized again that the extent of the fourth corona wave was mainly due to the unvaccinated. A partial lockdown will apply to this group starting today, Monday. Until November 24th they are only allowed to leave their home for compelling reasons such as going to work, for daily shopping or for recreation. Around two million of the approximately nine million citizens in Austria are affected.

The lockdown for anyone who has neither been vaccinated nor recovered in the past 180 days is a heavy burden from a retailer’s perspective. Nationwide, a drop in sales of up to 350 million euros per week is feared due to the exit restrictions, said the managing director of the trade association, Rainer Will. “The purchasing power of large parts of the population is shifted towards digital giants in the most important time of the year for retailers.”

It has been proven that hardly anyone in shops is infected with the corona virus, it said. The move is intended to further increase the willingness to be vaccinated. Previous tightening, such as the 3G rule at work and the 2G rule in large parts of public life, had significantly increased the number of vaccinations. The vaccination rate is currently around 65 percent, slightly below the German value.

FPÖ calls for demonstrations

According to Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg, the steps decided by the federal and state governments are only the “lower edge” of the possibilities. The individual countries are free to enact even stricter rules. For example, the capital Vienna has already announced that it will require a PCR test from vaccinated and convalescents in night restaurants and at all events for more than 25 people. The metropolis is also starting the Covid vaccination for children between the ages of five and eleven.

The approach of the right-wing FPÖ met with sharp criticism. The right-wing populists immediately called for a demonstration in Vienna next Saturday. The country now has a “corona apartheid system”, wrote FPÖ boss Herbert Kickl on Facebook. In addition, he announced a lawsuit at the Constitutional Court for disregard of fundamental rights and freedoms. On Sunday, with 11,552 cases, a very high number of new corona infections was recorded within 24 hours. The seven-day incidence per 100,000 population climbed to just under 850.

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