In Austria, retailers face the “lockdown for unvaccinated people aged 12 and older” that the government has just enforced. The new regulation states that unvaccinated individuals or those who have not yet contracted Covid-19 and recovered from it are not allowed to shop at non-food retailers (so-called “2G rule”). Furthermore, they will only be allowed to leave their home “under exceptional circumstances” (grocery shopping, work, medical treatments, physical exercise, psychological recreation, or “satisfaction of basic religious needs”). The lockdown started on Monday and will last for ten days. Even with a negative PCR test, shopping at non-essential stores is no longer allowed for this group.

The Austrian Retail Association (Handelsverband Österreich) suspects that the nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated will result in up to €350 million in lost sales per week. With infection numbers rising alarmingly of late (more than 13,000 registered Austria-wide last Saturday), the association says the industry understands the need for stricter measures to contain the pandemic, “however, in the 20th month of the crisis, policy should start with those factors that can actually make a difference to the incidence of infection.” According to the association, only 0.1 percent of all infections have been attributable to shopping.

Austrian police forces are entitled to ensure compliance with the new lockdown. Violators will be fined up to €1,450. The vaccination rate in Austria is currently at around 65 percent. 

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