Austria Goes Into Lockdown Mode, Implements Border Checks

By Paul Riegler on 14 March 2020
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A Spar supermarket in Vienna last week

Austria went into lockdown mode Friday as it introduced border checks with Switzerland and Liechtenstein and banned flight connections for those traveling from France, Spain and Switzerland with an eye towards slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced restrictions on shop hours for banks and pharmacies as well as supermarkets and other stores selling essential goods, while other customer-facing stores will be required to remain closed starting Monday.  Restaurants, cafes, and bars will only be permitted to remain open until 3 p.m. local time.  Companies have been asked to have staff work from home to the extent possible.

“Everything that isn’t necessary shouldn’t take place,” the chancellor said.

In addition, two ski regions in the Tyrol, where there has been a spike in coronavirus cases – namely the Paznauntal and St. Anton am Arlberg – are to remain shuttered for two weeks. Ski resorts in the provinces of Salzburg, Steiermark or Styria, Oberösterreich or Upper Austria, and Kärnten or Carinthia will close for the season on Saturday, ahead of schedule.

No restrictions have been imposed on Germany’s border with Austria, however.

On Wednesday, Austria introduced border checks to prevent those coming from Italy from entering the country except for travelers who were in transit to other destinations. It also announced it would close schools through early April.

Earlier in the week, Austria banned indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Meanwhile, Germany on Saturday urged individuals returning from Austria, Italy, and Switzerland to self-isolate for up to two weeks to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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