Published 11 April 2020
As the coronavirus continues its grip on countries around the world, one country is taking a stand on rules for donning personal protective equipment (PPE) while shopping.
April 9, 2020 — Many countries are still trying to decide whether or not masks should be simply a recommendation or a requirement when going to stores. For Austria,the decision has been made — it is now compulsory for shopper to wear masks when going grocery shopping or visiting drug stores. The masks that that the Austrian government is requiring people to wear are basic nose and mouth coverings, not medical masks. This has prompted some locals to being sewing their own cloth masks in order to follow the new requirements and keep themselves and other protected from the virus.
The new rule comes with added expectations on the already overburdened food retail businesses. Supermarkets and grocery chains must provide shoppers with a face mask if they do not bring one of their own. How this will be maintained by all levels of food retailers remains to be seen as the new requirements come into effect.
The general public is still adjusting to the new idea, with some people expressing confusion over the change of requirements as Austria continues to navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Initially, masks were only recommended for those displaying symptoms of COVID-19 or for medical personnel. Now, the requirement to wear them while shopping is being met with some resistance as the public questions why the rules are constantly changing. The Austrian Government asserts that this requirement is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and keep the rate of infection low.