A city in corona mode (and I don’t mean beer)

14 Mar

Greetings from Vienna in an “Ausnahmesituation”. (I’ve just realized I am not sure of the English for that. “Ausnahme” is not as strong as “emergency” but it does tell us that it is certainly not business as usual. LEO tells me it means “exceptional circumstances”.)

So how has the coronavirus so far changed how we live and do business?

One of the biggest changes I see at the moment (other than the fairly empty trams ;-)) is that, as the ORF website put it this morning, “Nichts mehr ist selbstverstaendlich” or “We can’t take anything for granted anymore.” The ORF has been sending out updates every hour or so instead of every few days. From hour to hour the situation changes.

Yesterday St. Anton and Panzauntal were put under quarantine. This morning a ski resort in Carinthia, Heiligenblut, was added to the list.

The universities switched to online learning last Wednesday. As of Monday, schools will be closed.

A few days ago, indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people (and outdoor gatherings of more than 500) were banned. (Vienna without concerts–otherwise unimaginable!) Yesterday we heard that as of next week restaurants and so on will only be open until 3 p.m. and night spots will be closed until further notice. Most stores will be closed as of Monday, although (luckily) for the time-being supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks, among other exceptions, will stay open as usual. (More about the supermarkets in another post.)

Many employees have already started working from home. As of next week it will be more. (I’m wondering how well that will work with the schools closing and am glad that I “only” have a dog.)

Of course, all of these measures are being imposed by the government. I will say openly that I am not a fan of the current chancellor in general, but I feel the Austrian government under his guidance (as well as the City of Vienna government) is responding well–clearly, calmly, unequivocally, and willing to make what could be unpopular decisions.

There have been calls for solidarity, a very special word in European politics, not just because of the Solidarity movement in Poland, and apparently people are responding. In a city where, in many cases, people are only on nodding terms with their neighbors, we are being encouraged to look out for older people and others who are especially at risk, and offer to run errands for them. Exceptional circumstances, indeed!

This will not be my only post on the subject, I’m sure. In fact, I’m creating a special coronavirus tag. But I need to go now. I got my groceries at 8:00 this morning but have realized that I need more paper for the printer if I’m going to be working from home, and Libro (office supply store) is presumably one of the ones that will be closed after today.

May my readers be of good health and cheer through these exceptional circumstances!

3 Responses to “A city in corona mode (and I don’t mean beer)”

  1. janisgibbs March 14, 2020 at 4:56 pm #

    Thank you, Elisabeth. This is wonderful. Well, not the virus, but your story of Vienna in exceptional circumstances. I will be following you!

  2. esauboeck March 14, 2020 at 5:29 pm #

    Thanks so much for this! Ausnahmesituationen indeed! I will have to write one about how crazy things are here in California as well. But I have been wondering how Vienna was coping. Have there been many cases yet? Danke vielmals schon wieder!

    • ecbinvienna March 15, 2020 at 11:48 am #

      I’ll be interested to read about what’s going on in southern California. I’ve just looked for current statistics. As far as I can tell, there has so far only been the one death I read about three days ago–an older man with several of the complicating medical conditions who had just returned from Italy. As I was typing this the news came in that Tirol has implemented a curfew (Ausgangssperre). Changes every practically hour …

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