Furlough 2020: USA, Austria, and COVID-19

Well, friends. My mind is blank.

I had a few thoughts regarding our experience in the US that I figured I’d tell you about— like how biting into a legitimate pepperoni pizza or smash burger will never get old, or how Target’s attempt at becoming fancy-shmancy has only resulted in unnecessary stress in the shampoo aisle, or how my kids are obsessed with this Mickey Mouse show that features a small canary who sounds like a smoker from New Jersey who’s “seen a lot of things” in her time and it weirds me out.

IttyBittyItineraries: An excellent resource for weary, quarantined parents

But I can’t help but look at my calendar which says we’re on Furlough Day 33 of 47 and wonder, if not assume, that that’s no longer an accurate timeframe for our travel plans home.

According to the latest Austrian news, the government is taking the following precautions to slow climbing COVID-19 numbers, predicted to soon reach 1,000 confirmed cases:

  • No more than five people gathered in one place, including homes
  • Schools are closed until further notice
  • Employees are strongly encouraged to work from home
  • Restaurants, cafes, and bars will close tomorrow (March 17th)
  • Heavily infected states, such as Tyrol, have enacted a curfew
  • Playgrounds, parks, and other public outdoor sites are closed
  • Those who have served in Austria’s social service within the last five years are called to active duty
  • The Austrian Federal Army will be mobilized
  • People are strongly encouraged to not used any form of public transportation
  • Fines are in place should anyone break the government’s procedures; those who walk alone or live with five or more people will not be fined
  • Grocery stores, banks, pharmacies and post offices are still open
  • Austrian borders are heavily controlled; flights from surrounding infected countries are not possible

(Source: https://metropole.at/coronavirus-updates-in-english/)

Minutes it takes to walk between Vienna’s U-Bahn stations

We’ve been in regular contact with friends and teammates to best determine our next steps. But honestly, there’s really no good way to know what those steps should be. The news out of both Austria and the U.S. changes by the day – by the hour – making it a challenge to know whether or not we’ll board a plane on the 28th.

At this moment, we don’t know about the plane. We don’t know when we’ll go home. We do know we’ll do whatever is necessary to keep our family and others around us, both near and afar, healthy and safe.

If that means remaining in Oklahoma for a while longer, well— we’ve done it twice already, we can do it again.

Stay healthy! Bleibt gesund!

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