Austria re-introduces mandatory mask use in supermarkets

AFP/The Local
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Austria re-introduces mandatory mask use in supermarkets

Austria's government on Tuesday said it was re-introducing mandatory face mask use in supermarkets and several other places as the country fears a surge in new coronavirus cases.


Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said wearing masks would be mandatory from Friday in supermarkets, food stores, post offices and bank branches.

This is in addition to public transport and pharmacies, where the government had maintained mandatory mask use introduced during a strict lockdown earlier this year to curb coronavirus infections.

"We are experiencing that the numbers in Austria are rising again," Kurz told reporters.

He added re-introducing the wider mask use was aimed at "protecting people for one... and also because we know the mask has a symbolic effect: the less visible they are on a daily basis, the greater the lack of concern."

The Alpine EU member of some nine million people has reported less than 20,000 cases to date with 710 deaths, but the number of new daily infections has risen again in recent weeks. 

On Monday, those infected with the virus and hospitalised exceeded 100, the first time since May 29.


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