Austria will begin progressively lifting its lockdown from 1 May, Public Health Minister Rudolf Anschober announced on Tuesday.
Anschober put forward several key dates in May which will see the gradual easing of the country's measures to curb the new coronavirus (Covid-19). Throughout the month, shops will reopen, as will hairdressers and the hospitality industry. Hotels will be allowed to reopen at the end of May.
From 1 May, Austrians will once again be able to leave their homes, all the while keeping a one-metre distance from each other.
"We can abandon the restrictions on movement," Anschober said. However, easing the measures does not mean that the crisis is over. Austria could stop the easing of the measures to avoid a second wave of infections, he warned.
Since the middle of March, people in Austria have only been allowed to leave their homes for essential journeys, or to go cycling or walking.
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By 15 May, cafés and restaurants will be able to welcome customers again. A maximum of four adults per table will be imposed in restaurants, and each table must be at least one metre apart. Eating in a restaurant will only be possible by reservation and restaurant staff must wear a face mask.
Hotels can reopen on 29 May. However, the Austrian borders will remain closed. "For the time being, we can only partially open the borders to countries where the number of infections is low and where the situation is similar to that in Austria," said Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger.
The number of new coronavirus infections in Austria has been below 100 per day for several days now, while the virus' infection rate (how many new people one infected person is likely to infect) has fallen to 0.59. In addition, many beds are still available in the coronavirus units of Austrian hospitals.
As of 27 April, Austria has counted 15,189 cases since the start of the pandemic and 542 Austrians have died from the virus, according to the WHO.
The Brussels Times