Vienna has also been in lockdown again since Monday – even if this is not yet clearly noticeable everywhere. While there were only a few people in the city center during the first curfew in 2020, the picture was different today. There was brisk delivery activity everywhere, and there were not so few passers-by. The subway was also well frequented.
On the platforms and public transport, unlike the first lockdown – when the trains were often almost empty – there was hardly any difference to the previous weeks. Only at the transfer hubs and the associated shopping malls were there significantly fewer people due to the closed shops.
According to the office of City Councilor Peter Hanke (SPÖ) responsible for Wiener Linien, figures on the possible decline in frequency will only be available in a few days. According to a spokesman, however, the past exit restrictions have shown that fewer and fewer passengers have stayed at home. While 80 fewer customers took up the offer at the first lockdown in spring 2020, the decrease in November of the previous year was only 60 percent.
For the time being, the night subway will also remain, it was emphasized. It had been discontinued during the earlier, longer lockdown phases. On the other hand, there is a temporary end to the Twin City Liner, the high-speed catamaran that commutes between Vienna and Bratislava. Some advent trips to the Slovak capital and a trip to Budapest were planned. Now it should not be filed again until March, i.e. at the next regular start of the season.
There was a lot going on not only in public transport, but also on the city’s promenade. Many shops on Kärntner Strasse, for example, received deliveries – just like every Monday morning. Despite the uncomfortable autumn weather, numerous passers-by could be seen, including a few remaining tourists. However, there were significantly fewer than usual in the run-up to Christmas.
Quite a few of them were asked for interviews by the camera teams posted in the city that morning. Understanding for the measure was often to be heard. “It’s certainly not funny for business people, but it is probably absolutely necessary. That it could have been prevented is another matter,” said a man who was with his wife in the pharmacy for PCR testing.
A doctor reported that she expected to meet a relatively large number of people – and that she was now happy about the step: “I hoped every day that the lockdown would come, I’m a doctor. I also bathe it out.” could not imagine any other measures: “Actually, the lockdown should have taken place much earlier.”
One of the shops that are allowed to keep open in the city is Meinl am Graben, which recently completed its general renovation. Anyone who suspected that all Christmas shoppers would now crowd there was at least wrong for the time being. In fact, there was still little activity in the luxury department store on Monday morning.
Some Christmas market areas can now be visited without any access restrictions – for example on Rathausplatz. 2G proof is no longer necessary, but there are no more stands open either. At least the Christmas world in the Rathauspark will continue to shine. Only the rides set up there, such as the Ferris wheel, will no longer be available for the next three weeks.