Coronavirus cases are in
Europe now begins taking masks seriously to fight coronavirus pandemic
Bulgaria, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have all made masks obligatory in public spaces
Austria is preparing to join neighbouring states in turning to mask wearing as a further weapon to fight the coronavirus, presenting citizens under lockdown with another challenge to cultural norms due to the pandemic.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz had said he wanted larger supermarkets to start providing shoppers with masks on Wednesday, but a tour of several Vienna supermarkets showed that not all of them had masks ready to hand out.
One chain said it was “taken unawares” by the government’s announcement while others have raised concerns over the cost of the new measure and possible supply problems.
The measure will only come into full force on Monday.Nonetheless, some Austrians have taken to the new rule with gusto.”We have to do all we can to slow down infections and lots of people say that wearing a mask helps, so I think it’s right,” 42-year-old Vienna resident Stephan Hofmann told media through a mask.
But he admits that “you have to learn to use it, how to put it on and take it off”.
While Kurz has as yet not publicly donned a mask himself, leaders in neighbouring countries have been trying to set a good example.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has begun sporting one in public but is still struggling to adapt, having to wear his only over his mouth and not his nose.”My head is too big for this mask! It is too small for my muzzle,” he exclaimed during one appearance on Monday.
Meanwhile, the recent swearing-in of the new Slovakian government took place with all participants wearing face masks and gloves.
Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have all made masks obligatory in public spaces and the Czech zeal for the new practice is such that when a group of nudists gathered at a lake during last weekend’s unusually warm weather, police ordered them to cover up— their mouths.
“Citizens can be without clothes in places where this is allowed, but they must have their mouths covered,” police spokeswoman Marketa Janovska told the Police Weekly newspaper.