While people and daily life still seemed very normal at the beginning of this week, this has now changed, almost overnight.
Yesterday, everything started changing throughout the day. It’s hard to describe, but the mood is very subdued and strange.
While more new measures and restrictions were being planned by our government yesterday, rumours started spreading.
It started yesterday morning. Rumours that were saying that absolutely everything, including supermarkets, pharmacies and all government offices (including social welfare, national health, health department etc) will close down next week. I knew right away it wasn’t true and I tried my best to keep telling people it’s not true.
The government gave a press conference, announcing that more restrictions are being planned, but that the rumours floating around are false.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, government offices, post/mail and basically everything that is important for the country, daily life, the infrastructure and it’s people will remain open they say. Closures and restrictions will be implemented on businesses and services that people can live without for a few weeks.
Yesterday, a pharmacy in the city was already limiting the amount of people who were able to enter at the same time. Only 3 people were allowed in the pharmacy at once.
Today, that same pharmacy was serving people only through the hatch in the door.
Then this morning, more rumours were spreading which caused widespread panic buying
Early this morning, some more rumours were floating around and spreading like wildfire. Some rumours were still the same as yesterday, while others were new. Today the rumours had it, that absolutely all stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will close down by midday today and that a curfew will be implemented for the night-time starting Monday.
People started panic buying in such numbers, that people were waiting for an hour or longer at supermarkets. It kept getting progressively worse all day. The shelves are now empty pretty much. Even shortly after the supermarkets had opened for the day, shelves were emptied within a short time. Some stores were hit worse than others, depending on their location.
I heard from my friend, who lives just a block away from us, that she saw people ripping food out of each others hands at the store. Then we heard that one Aldi store (called Hofer in Austria), located in a rather bad area, had been pretty much wrecked by people ripping open packages and simply being rowdy and selfish.
Mostly it was long long lines in front of grocery stores. People were running into banks and building lines in front of ATMs. In turn, many ATMs were out of order by the early afternoon.
What also did not help was that nothing was being done about people taking way too much at once for themselves in the grocery stores (for example one person/family buying up all the milk).
Basically, people were panic buying and going crazy all day.
My Dad said that all of the bread was gone within a short time after the stores opened in the morning. I hope the panic buying will calm down again over the course of next week.
The new measures that were announced by the government today
- All schools, including high schools, elementary schools and kindergartens, as well as universities and any education facilities will close by Wednesday. Universities and higher education will be closed on Monday already. But students can stay home already if they can.
- Restaurants, pubs, cafés etc, have to close by 3pm in the afternoon. So nightclubs and anything else that would be open all night, will stay closed completely. They want to avoid all those many people coming together every night, especially during the weekends, while going out.
- All sports events are cancelled
- Some areas in Tyrol, which is especially badly hit by the outbreak in Austria, will be put under quarantine.
- Supermarkets, banks, pet supply stores, pharmacies, tobacconists, public transport, post and mail services and other essential parts of society, like all facilities and companies that are important for all the infrastructure in Austria (including Telephone and Internet), will not be closed at any point
- Public transport: Trams and Busses will automatically open the doors for entry and exit at every stop, so people won’t have to use the buttons to open them. Only the trams and busses will be used that have a separate cabin for the drivers to protect them
- People are asked to stay home, unless it is absolutely necessary and can’t be avoided. People should gather with friends and family for now and instead use other means (internet, phone) to stay in contact.
Some news regarding my medication supply
I had put in a request to get my pain medication supply home with me for the next 3 1/2 weeks.
Though I got a call this morning from my doctors office, informing me that the health department has said, that nobody is getting their medicine home for a longer period of time, even if they have plenty of their time allowance left, which I did. No exceptions.
On the other hand, I also got some reassuring news. Apparently, my pharmacy will not close down. In the worst case they said, they will serve everyone through the little hatch. Those hatches exist for the night shifts, where people are being served through those hatches as well.
Our plan for the next month (or beyond if it’s neccessary)
Since I expected panic buying, I had ordered a bunch of food in time. So our supplies last for about two months, including the supplies for the cats. The only thing I can’t get more of in advance is my medicine.
It’s now eerily quiet and empty in the streets
I was out at about 4pm, which is normally very busy on Friday. But even the busiest street was very empty. Hardly any cars. Hardly any people. And now at night, nobody is out. It’s totally quiet and empty in the street as far as I can see.
One supermarket I passed earlier was dark for some reason. Looked like they had to close down for some reason. I also saw people with loads of boxes of groceries, and big bags full of the same, entering their apartment buildings, or carrying the shopping home. I also saw long lines in front of Tobacconists in the city centre. Our area wasn’t like that thankfully.
It was already very weird and quiet everywhere. Even our building is quiet. Normally you would hear people getting ready to go out on a Friday night, but there is no one going now. There is no music being heard from anywhere, no friends coming over. People are just in their homes.
I would not be surprised if some rather bad people will try to use the emptiness of city streets for bad things. We are thankfully in a safe area anyway, but I still closed down the shutters in front of our street facing window. I’m always rather safe.
I’ll keep you all updated anyway. Ralph, the cats and I are still perfectly fine ❤ I’m now off to bed, as it’s way past midnight and I’m tired.
Love from us and the cats to all of you!