Tag Archives: coronavirus

The gloves are off – but the masks are on (we hope)

18 Oct

For months the public transportation authority in Vienna has been making an announcement in its vehicles along the lines of “Dear passengers, please cover your nose and mouth when in underground stations and using public transport.” (An aside: I imagined the pleasure of the translator that they were proficient enough to know that “nose and mouth” sounds more natural in English even though in German it is “Mund-Nasen-Schutz” or “mouth-nose protection / covering”.)

A day or two ago I realized that this announcement has been shortened and is now delivered in a more peremptory tone compared to the rather mellifluous earlier version. The current version: “Dear passengers, please cover your mouth and nose.”

What’s next? No “please”?

NYTimes: My Lockdown Diary, From a Small, Old Town in Italy

15 Mar

My Lockdown Diary, From a Small, Old Town in Italy https://nyti.ms/2IJA34u

I read this an hour or two ago and now the ORF (Austrian broadcasting) has just announced that Tyrol is being locked down along these lines.

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!