From our correspondent
Clemens Hohenwarter says he’s sad rather than angry. This restaurateur runs a brasserie in the Austrian capital, Vienna, a few meters from the town hall. However, since Monday, November 22, his establishment has been closed for three weeks. Until December 13, the whole country is once again confined. A first in Europe since spring. Austrians, regardless of their health status, can no longer frequent restaurants, bars, museums, sports halls, go to the hairdresser or to the beauty institute. They can still get some fresh air, do their essential shopping, work, but preferably at home.
While hotels can no longer accommodate tourists, schools remain open. After isolating the unvaccinated, then the entire population of two regions, this generalized confinement was decided to break the violent fourth wave of the pandemic. In Salzburg, hospitals have already confirmed that they are screening patients for intensive care wards. “Until now, I checked the health pass in my restaurant. Customers who did not have it had to test negative and it worked ”, says Clemens Hohenwarter, a bit disillusioned. “The factories keep running, but we have to stop working. And that, overnight. We learned about it on Friday “, recalls this Viennese, in a conversation on the phone. “I don’t know how we’re going to be compensated. Another lost winter for me and my three employees. “
Father of a 4-year-old girl, Philipp Wörndle, thinks he is rather lucky. “My daughter can still go to kindergarten, luckily. I alternate with my colleague to go to the office. However, I suspended my sports subscription for a month. Nothing serious “, considers this Viennese, nevertheless ” disappointed “. “This confinement could have been avoided. This summer, we were told that the pandemic was over for those vaccinated and here is the result ”, he recalls in reference to the little sentence launched at the beginning of September by Sebastian Kurz, then still chancellor. “We wasted time because the political class looked at each other in the navel”, estime Philipp Wörndle.
Political scientist Reinhard Heinisch of the University of Salzburg confirms certain political failings. “The federal government (made up of the conservatives of the ÖVP and the Greens, editor’s note) has been divided on the subject in recent months. He let himself be carried away by opinion polls ahead of regional elections in September. He did not want to scare the voters. The vaccination campaign has been put on hold. Then the fall of Sebastian Kurz, in October, was another waste of time while the figures of the pandemic exploded “, summary by Reinhard Heinisch.
For him, the current crisis and the country’s low vaccination rate (66% against 75% in France) can also be explained by a cultural aspect: “In Austria, as in Germany and Switzerland, the alternative medicine movement is powerful. Paradoxically, the protests against health measures unite both right-wing circles and supporters of the FPÖ (far right party, Editor’s note) only people who claim to be anti-authoritarian. For the first time, these two groups demonstrate side by side. »
This weekend, in fact, several tens of thousands of people marched in the streets of Vienna to denounce the new confinement as well as the compulsory vaccination, which will come into force on 1is February. “I am against this obligation, says Anita, a 55-year-old Viennese woman. Because we see that the vaccination has brought nothing. Hospitals are crowded again, but there is no evidence that this is because of unvaccinated people. » In a few weeks, Anita should receive a letter of convocation from the health authorities to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. She does not intend to go there, even if she incurs a fine of up to € 3,600.