Austria to allow bars and restaurants to reopen on May 15

Austria, which took early action to curb spread of coronavirus, to further loosen its lockdown.

Ben Ariel ,

Austria
Austria
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Austria will allow bars, restaurants and churches to reopen on May 15 in a further loosening of its coronavirus lockdown provided infections do not surge again, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

The country acted early in its outbreak to close restaurants, bars, theaters, non-essential shops and other gathering places more than a month ago. It has told the public to stay at home and work from there if possible.

Last week, Austria became one of the first to loosen its lockdown, allowing DIY stores, garden centers and shops of less than 400 square meters to reopen. Shopping centers, larger shops, hairdressers and other service providers will follow from May 1.

“The (new infection) numbers are developing very well, the numbers are going down, we are one of the best countries internationally and we are on the right track,” Kurz told a news conference on Tuesday.

“We are going faster here than other countries towards something like a new normality,” he added.

According to the new guidelines, restaurants, cafes and bars will be allowed to reopen from May 15 and stay open until 11:00 p.m. Religious services can resume from the same day, a Friday.

Shops must limit the number of customers they let in, and shoppers must cover their mouth and nose with a mask or fabric. Kurz said wearing a face mask would be part of the “new normality”.

Austria has reported 491 deaths so far, fewer than some larger countries have suffered daily. Its confirmed infections are increasing by less than 2% daily.

Kurz recently said that it was a phone call from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that made him act to curb the virus.

“I contacted Bibi Netanyahu and he told me his opinion, that several countries in Europe aren’t doing enough and that he is concerned that Europe isn’t treating the problem as it should,” he told Israel’s Kan 11 News in an interview two weeks ago.

“This, of course, caused us to treat the issue more firmly and quickly make decisions. I thank Bibi Netanyahu for the conversation we held a few weeks ago which led to the fact that we were the first to respond in Europe,” added the Chancellor.



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