After Austrian media reported that a new set of coronavirus measures could require people to wear masks at home during Christmas gatherings, the government has clarified that nobody will be forced to wear a mask around the tree while at home.
Politician Herbert Kickl (FPÖ) criticised the government for an “outrageous attack on the privacy of Austrians” after media reports suggested Austrians would be required to wear masks at home during Christmas celebrations.
“Stay away from the Christmas holidays” the former Minister of the Interior said, reported Kronen Zeitung.
In the initial draft plan, which was leaked to Austrian media this week, said that masks should be worn in private gatherings in the “extended private living area” over the Christmas period.
However, in a clarification issued on December 16th, the government confirmed that there would be “no compulsory distance and mask” required at private gatherings on the 24th and 25th of December.
The government confirmed that the “extended private living area” does not include lounge rooms, kitchens, dining rooms and bedrooms, meaning masks are not required at all in these areas.
Instead, the extended private living area includes “garages, garden sheds and barns”, Kronen Zeitung reports, with masks required in these areas if people not from the household are in attendance.
Where are masks required?
Under the extended mask rules, masks will also be required in the workplace, provided more than one person is in a room at one time without a partition (i.e. plexiglas barrier).
While this will apply in offices, etc, there are some exceptions if it would make the work impossible to carry out. The one example given by the government is for actors.