Linz (Austria) – The Austrian state of Upper Austria on Tuesday said it would become the first region to re-introduce mandatory face covering in some public places after a spike in new coronavirus infections.
According to the Governor of the state, Thomas Stelzer, from Thursday residents must cover their mouth and nose when entering shops as well as in bars and restaurants when not sitting at a table.
Stelzer added that customers would also be asked to leave their contact information on a voluntary basis.
Currently there are 427 active infections and 3,000 people in quarantine in Upper Austria, the country’s third largest Federal State with 1.5 million inhabitants.
The state’s reproduction number, indicating how many people each coronavirus patient could infect, currently stands at 2.0, compared to 1.37 for the rest of the country.
“It is an increase that worries us and of course we cannot watch in idle.
“The aim of the re-imposed regulation, which has no time limit at present, is to avoid having to return to a full lockdown. “We hope that it will work,” Stelzer added.
Earlier, schools and kindergartens were closed again. After several infections through travellers returning from the West Balkans, the state imposed high travel warnings for that region.