Vienna. Austria is heading for a second lockdown. However, the government has not (yet) agreed when this will happen. ÖVP Chancellor Sebastian Kurz considers a lockdown from 6,000 new infections per day to be without alternative. The Green Minister of Health, Rudolf Anschober, however, has his eyes on the hospitals – with intensive care beds at 60 to 70 percent capacity, the time for a lockdown has come.
But what does the law say? The amendment to the Covid Measures Act passed by the Austrian Parliament at the end of September provides that a lockdown can be ordered “if it is essential to prevent the spread of Covid-19, in order to prevent an imminent collapse of medical care (…)”.
How long may this take? Such a lockdown would require the approval of the main committee of the National Parliament. The new law initially limits the duration to a maximum of ten days. However: an extension is possible.
What is then prohibited? In concrete terms, Anschober could then issue a decree prohibiting the leaving of private homes – in other words, an exit restriction. An exception are the five well-known reasons: Averting an immediate danger, assistance, coverage of necessary basic needs, professional purposes and outdoor recreation.
“Lockdown light”? According to information published by dily newspaper “Österreich”, however, the government should discuss a “lockdown light” – similar to the one currently being considered in Germany. With (temporary?) exit restrictions, closed gastronomy, ban on events, but partly open stores. This could be the end of November.
— hp, with reports from oe24.at. Picture: stockilyapp.com
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