During difficult times like these, it’s understandably easy to feel like everything sucks – the virus sucks, all this staying at home sucks, that guy that just walked too close to you on the street during your morning walk sucks, and life sucks in general, at the moment. That’s why we thought we’d shine a light on the less suck-y, but, rather inspiring acts of kindness that have been happening around Vienna over the last couple of weeks.
As soon as the shutdown was announced, there has been many examples of humans, being human, and rising to the challenge to help each other during these difficult times. Here are 13 inspiring signs of kindness that have been seen throughout the Coronavirus shutdown:
1. People offering to help out their neighbours
This started happening directly after the announcement that Vienna would shutdown to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19. People began hanging notes in their buildings in which they offered to go shopping, or run errands for anybody who was worried about going outdoors, because they were part of the risk group. We’re not sure who began this trend in Vienna, but we thank you sincerely for it. It set a tone early on for how we were going to be there for each other throughout the shutdown.
2. The city breaking out into applause at 6pm most nights
— sori1982 (@sori_1982) March 19, 2020
You may have already heard it, or have been part of it – early on in the shutdown, somebody organised a flash mob type of thing inviting the people of the city to open their windows at 6pm on a specified day and simply clap. It was meant as a simple gesture to express the city’s gratitude towards the medical staff, and all the people who are still working in sectors that keep the essentials of our system running. It’s now done as a daily ritual in many of the districts of Vienna and it gives us goosebumps every time.
3. The Fensterchor (translation: the window choir)
— Johannes Fleischmann (@JohFleischmann) March 16, 2020
As we’re all stuck inside, it seems many of us are having this automatic impulse to share messages with each other and communicate more than usual. We’re doing this in different ways – through social media, over video calls – but one common old-school way we’re connecting with other humans is through our apartment windows.
The ‘Fensterchor’ is another kind of flash mob that has been organised on Facebook various times throughout the shutdown during which people go to their window and play a tune on an instrument, or sing. You may have seen the viral video in which some guy is beautifully singing an opera ballad out of his window and a women yells out ‘RUHE!!’ Ahhh, Vienna.
4. People being there as an online support group for each other
This is obviously a time to pay attention to your own mental well-being and to the mental health of others. There has been loads of articles and other content being shared on social media channels over the last couple of weeks that feature helpful tips on how to look after yourself during these times of being cooped up inside your home.
5. The cultural institutions that have opened up their archives & are providing culture online for free
So many of the city’s cultural institutions have jumped in to help solve the potential problem of boredom seeping in when people have so much time on their hands while staying at home. The Vienna Staatsoper is streaming archived performances, while galleries all around the city have put virtual tours of their exhibitions online. You can check out a list of these free cultural offerings in our guide covering what you can do during the Coronavirus shutdown.
6. Some cafes & restaurants are delivering free lunches to those working in supermarkets and hospitals etc.
Despite the gastronomy industry being one of the hardest hit by the shutdown, some restaurants and cafes are rising to the occasion and doing acts of extreme kindness themselves. The 8th district eatery, Cafe Hildebrandt, for example, is delivering free lunches to supermarket workers in their district.
7. Some yoga studios are offering free online classes
Yoga studios have also obviously been forced to close due to the shutdown, however, this hasn’t stopped them from spreading their yogi brand of zen. There are some studios around town who are offering free classes online. For example, Sivananda in the 4th district is currently offering their courses in meditation and yoga, for free, in Zoom video chats. Let us know if you’re a yoga studio doing the same and we’ll gladly spread the word!
We also asked our audience on Instagram to tell us what acts of kindness they’ve witnessed in these challenging times. Here’s what they said:
8. People are friendlier on the streets
9. Neighbours that have never spoken to you before are now acting…neighbourly
10. The volunteers that have appeared and are busy helping out those in need!
11. Stuff like this is happening!
12. The cashiers must be so relieved!!
13. Courtesy is generally on the rise!