VIENNA, July 21 (Sputnik) - Face covering will once again become mandatory in supermarkets, as well as banks and post offices across Austria starting at the end of this week, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday.
The decision comes amid the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
"We decided to reintroduce the mandatory wearing of masks in supermarkets, banking and post offices, in all areas of daily life", Kurz said at a press conference, adding that the measure would be effective from Friday onward.
Meanwhile, Hans-Peter Hutter, a deputy head of the department for environmental hygiene and environmental medicine at the Medical University of Vienna, told Sputnik that it would be safe to cancel the mask requirement in supermarkets only after all restrictions are lifted, including the freedom of movement, and provided that the return to normal life does not induce a new surge of infections.
Starting 14 April, Austria began to weaken its restrictive measures imposed due to the coronavirus in two-week increments. Since June 15, wearing masks was only mandatory in public transport, pharmacies, and in service industries where a minimum distance could not be observed.
Austria has so far confirmed 19,805 cases, including 17,704 recoveries and 710 deaths.