Austria is becoming a nightmare for the unvaccinated

Across Austria, the streets are alive with the sounds of drums and cow bells. Ever since the Austrian government announced a vaccine mandate in November 2021, with vaccine refuseniks set to face fines, potential bankruptcies and possible prison sentences from February this year, demonstrations against the proposed measures have not ceased.

While the ‘vaccine mandate’ sword hangs precariously over their heads before the measure is introduced in February, Austria’s large minority of unvaccinated people are essentially unable to participate in society. While the vaccinated are free to roam as they please, albeit with the proper paperwork, the only physical businesses the unvaccinated can visit are banks, food shops and pharmacies.

They barred from all other shops, businesses, theatres, restaurants, bar, museums. The list as long as it is depressing. Every shop window now has a sign warning those who haven’t had the jab to stay out. Some shops redouble the humiliation by inviting ‘unvaccinated’ clients to ring a bell and wait until they can be served – outside – in Austria, in winter. …

Perhaps to make the whole thing less distasteful, the administration is promising that at the moment ‘physical coercion is not envisaged’, and that the fines will not ‘be converted into a custodial sentence’, having said the opposite just a few weeks ago.

But in a surprising escalation, the Socialist Party of Austria (SPO), one of the country’s two major parties, is calling for the unvaccinated to lose their jobs as well as their entitlement to unemployment benefits and social assistance in Vienna. In short, there are plenty of calls for the government to revisit the idea of imprisoning those unable or unwilling to pay.