Austria’s latest efforts to curb the coronavirus pandemic may cost as much as 1.2 billion euros ($1.35 billion) a week and force some 400,000 workers onto a government-subsidized job program.
Government officials said they’re assessing the fallout after the 380-billion-euro economy becoming the first country in western Europe to reimpose lockdown measures. Restaurants, museums and shops selling non-essential goods were forced to close on Monday for an initial three-week period.
The full economic hit could rise by as much as 50% due to lost sales during the typically busy period before the Christmas holidays. Projected participation in the federal jobs program, under which Austria pays part of the wages of workers forced by the pandemic to reduce their hours, represents a four- to fivefold increase from the pre-lockdown situation, Minister of Labor Martin Kocher told reporters Tuesday.