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Austrians trickling back to shops

Bethany Bell

News Correspondent

Shoppers in Vienna, 17 Apr 20
Getty Images
Shoppers in Vienna

It has been about a week since the Austrian government began easing restrictions.

There were long queues at some DIY stores, as people went out to buy home improvement supplies and plants for their gardens. But many other little shops reported a slower start to business. Some customers are afraid of infection; others have lost their jobs and are worried about money.

Strict social distancing measures remain in place and face masks are mandatory in all shops.

Peter Buchmüller from the Austrian Chamber of Commerce says many small shops are achieving just “10 to 20 percent of their normal turnover”.

Covid-19 infections in Austria are increasing at a rate of less than 1% daily.

But Austria’s Health Minister Rudi Anschober has warned against complacency, and urged Austrians to heed the lockdown rules.

Researchers in Vienna have found that Austrians’ average range of movement is now back to more than 12km (7.5 miles) a day – near the pre-crisis level.