To address the increasing COVID-19 cases, Austria started imposing a nationwide lockdown on Monday, a move being monitored by some governments in Europe which also struggles with national outbreaks causing a strain on health care systems.
Austria’s lockdown is expected to be in place for 20 days, but it will undergo a reevaluation process after 10 days. Under the measure, people are mandated to remain at home but can also go out for grocery trips, as well as doctor visits and exercising purposes. Dining establishments and several stores are required to shit and huge gatherings will be called off. Educational institutions will stay open but parents are urged to have their children stay at home, ABC News reported.
The country hopes for the measures to be removed on Dec. 13. However, the unvaccinated will be subject to more lockdowns.
The anti-virus measures started after several locals went out to enjoy the last day at cafes and Christmas shopping centers nationwide.
On Sunday, people flocked the Christmas markets across central Vienna for last-minute Christmans shopping.
“It’s the last chance to feel the Christmas time and vibes,” Alexandra Ljesevic, who was with her sister at the Freyung Christmas market, said. The two said they are considered fortunate as they can continue working despite the lockdown.
They also expressed positivity that the lockdown will be lifted very soon.
“It would be weird if in 20 days they said, ‘Okay, for vaccinated people, you’re free to go,’ if the hospitals are still overwhelmed,” said Anna Ljesevic. “That’s the only reason why we even need the lockdown.”
Austria will also unveil a vaccine mandate as of Feb. 1, as announced by Chancellor Alexander Schellenberg, although the clear details on the mandate were not released yet.