Bare-faced cheek: Salzburg drops masks

Bare-faced cheek: Salzburg drops masks


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2020

As of this morning, Austria no longer requires anyone wear mouth-nose protection in public places.

The only exceptions appear to be hairdressers and restaurant waiters.

There is no longer a restriction to four adults per table. Prescribed distance between individuals has been slashed to one metre.

Rehearsals are starting in Salzburg.

It’s a semi-calculated risk.



  • inaustria says:

    Not quite accurate: masks are still required in taxis, public transport, doctors offices, pharmacies, and anywhere where it isnt possible to maintain a distance of less than a meter. Rehearsals at the Staatsoper and Volksoper have been going on since June 1, however masks are required, your temperature is taken upon entering the building, disinfectant dispensers are everywhere and at least at the Volksoper the staff is tested frequently for Coronavirus.

  • Dalledu Alletre says:

    Is that Esa-Pekka?

  • Hilary says:

    Can you imagine how many lives would have been saved/ lockdowns less drastic had the advice on masks been less ambivalent from the outset? Not ironclad protection but a pretty good way of diminishing transmission.

    I suspect that should we be faced with a second wave things will be done differently in most of the non-Asian countries.

    • Dennis says:

      There is no actual evidence lockdowns “worked” at all, other than to destroy far more live and livelihoods that the virus itself. The virus has an IFR of about .016. Wake up.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Wake up…you number is incorrect. Read the data.

          Sweden, which didn’t impose a lockdown but went for herd immunity/social distancing, has a lower mortality rate than the UK, Spain, Italy and is only a little above France, all of whom imposed very severe lockdowns. And Sweden presumably didn’t suffer the increase in non-Covid-19 deaths as a result of lockdowns evidenced in the data for the above countries. Interestingly, polls show considerable backing by Swedish voters for their government’s Covid-19 strategy, whereas there is considerable distrust/dissatisfaction in the lockdown countries. And before anybody says it, the Swedish economy has been damaged but not through their own actions but because lockdown economies to whom they export goods have collapsed.

          Personally, I thought that the UK should have followed the Swedish model. I changed my mind and supported lockdown when the epidemiological modelling by Prof Neil Ferguson showed that between 250,000 – 500,000 would die without one. Later, when those figures were questioned – understatement – & after the so-called ‘spike’ when there was still spare intensive bed capacity in the NHS & when it became obvious that the overwhelming number of deaths were occurring amongst the very old & already very sick & when the evidence showed that lockdown also kills I thought that the UK lockdown should end. And that is still my view. As Dr Fauci, quoted in an interview in Sunday’s ‘Times’, says : ‘There are no instances of the body completely clearing HIV of its own accord. Then you come to the coronavirus and the vast majority of people who get infected ultimately clear the infection, which means that the body is capable of making a good response.’ He was discussing why he believes a vaccine likely early next year.

      • Hilary says:

        I’m actually suggesting that lockdowns can be less drastic if other things (masks are effective) are in place at the outset. Hesitation doesn’t play out well in a pandemic.

        An alternative is taking it on the chin/herd immunity which I personally think is too risky.

  • I am curious about the next new year concert it would be very strange to see the Musikverein half empty and only one half of the orchestra.

    • John Rook says:

      The BS should be finished by then.

      • MezzoLover says:

        Anyone who thinks 100% of the ticket lottery winners for the 2021 New Year’s Concert will show up, including those from Asian countries, is simply naive.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      The transmission rate in Austria is very low now, but if they don’t monitor international arrivals, concerts might still be transmission sites (in the audience, at any rate), especially for a popular event like the New Year concert.

      Has Austria instituted any restrictions on foreign arrivals, e.g. requiring self-quarantine for a specified duration after entry?

      • inaustria says:

        To my knowledge, yes, although things change almost daily. I believe that most European borders are now open, (no quarantine necessary) with exception of the UK, Spain and Portugal, though I know someone who arrived from Portugal without any checks whatsoever. Theoretically one is obligated to adhere to a 14 day self quarantine following arrival in Austria. However, there is a Covid test available at the airport for (last I heard) €190. A negative result negates the need for quarantine. There are still very few flights coming or going, compared to pre-Covid.

  • Maria says:

    Only 8.8 million people in the whole of Austria, and we have more than that in the city of London with a UK population of 67 million, of which 56 million of that is in England and 6 million in Yorkshire – more than the population of Ireland. A bit different to deal with when the numbers are poles apart.