The New Normal in Austria: 6 July 2020

Many of you will remember, casting your mind back to 23 March 2020, that Liz wrote a piece about Lockdown in Southern Austria.  I invited her to write a second piece about the changes that have been happening in Austria: this is it.  However, I’m sure you have also been following her on Twitter (@Love_Austria007), seeing her photos of the changes in weather, her cooking, craft work, the walks in the forest, where she lives with her husband.

Finding a tea towel for this Blog has been a challenge.  Liz originates from Norfolk; should it be Norfolk? You don’t get tea towels about self-isolation or face masks!  It’s to be Norfolk then!

“For several weeks over here in Austria things have started getting back to some degree of normality.   Cafes and restaurants have been open for a few weeks with customers maintaining social distancing.  No need to wear masks though.  In fact it is no longer a requirement to wear a mask in the supermarket or other shops.  Masks are mandatory on public transport and in medical establishments.
For us here in the forest in a very quiet, rural area, life is not really much different than before COVID.  We go out less and only shop once a week, which I have found to be a good thing as it reduces waste and saves money.
We weren’t sure if we would get any guests coming to our holiday apartment this summer but we are more or less fully booked in July and August.   I’ve had to introduce advance check-in procedures and revamp the guest welcome pack to include as much information as possible as I no longer provide a personal introduction to the apartment.  The first post COVID guests arrived this morning from Germany for a week.
We do not intend to take a holiday this year, we will spend a week in September going out for day trips locally.  It’s just not worth crossing borders, even though there are no checks at the moment.  Plenty of lovely scenery on our doorstep.
I do wonder if the influx of visitors to Austria from other European countries might lead to an increase in COVID cases and I really hope there will be no further big lockdown.  Numbers have increased a little since the relaxation.  Today there are 850 cases in the country (population 8.9 million).  In our area there are just 14 (population 400,000).  No point getting anxious though so we just wait and see and hope for the best.
Despite England including Austria on their list of destinations from which travellers will not need to self isolate, Austria has not reciprocated.  The rules are quite clear that visitors from the UK must have either a clear COVID test or self isolate for 14 days.  We do not expect to see any of our friends from home anytime soon!”
Maybe I should add one from the Florence Nightingale Museum, after all COVID-19 has challenged all health authorities, across the world.  Thank you Liz for another perspective on the pandemic.

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