Austria is the only country in Europe that (outside of medical and nursing facilities) still adheres to the mask requirement – and while experts such as eXXpressTV-Medicus Dr. Marcus Franz emphasize that there is “no medical basis whatsoever” for this if the government does not deviate from maintaining it. At least until July 8th, according to Health Minister Johannes Rauch – and if you ask the chairwoman of the Gecko Crisis Commission, Katharina Reich, then you should wear them well beyond that. In a recent interview, she is already looking forward to next fall – and thus to a possible next wave and the associated renewed contact restrictions.
Katharina Reich tells the “Kleine Zeitung” about herself that she always carries a mask with her and puts it on wherever people are close together or in closed rooms. Accordingly, she wishes “that we come to a self-understanding of where a mask is necessary and where it is not”.
For Reich, the mask requirement is “definitely necessary” in supermarkets, public transport and other places with large numbers of people. It is already certain that this will remain the case until July 8th – the Gecko boss leaves open whether it will be extended: “That is a question that only politics can decide.” She makes no secret of her personal opinion: “I think that for several reasons – psychological, social habituation – in essential retail it should stay with the mask over the summer.” Addendum: “We must not forget about the people at risk.”
Reich is already looking forward to autumn and wants to start preparing for the next wave right now. The top priority now is “to make it clear to everyone when the time is right for the next vaccination”. She warns that if we are “not through with it by the beginning or end of October at the latest”, we will be “caught again by the next wave”.
At the same time, Reich also actively takes on the responsibility of the people. She warns the Austrians to prepare themselves for the fall and “don’t just wait for the political regulations”. Safety precautions and protective measures such as wearing a mask, distancing and ventilation are “always important and necessary” here, but only the beginning – employees should prepare themselves for a possible home office scenario, and private individuals should be prepared for renewed contact restrictions and adapt accordingly. agree in the family and in the circle of relatives”. Reich’s suggestion: “Are we going to celebrate a birthday that would be in November in September?” The Gecko boss advises preparing “mentally and organizationally” for a “possibly socially reduced setting”. Reich did not make it clear whether this is only aimed at voluntarily restricting social contacts, or even indicates that the expert is expecting a new lockdown.