The European nation Austria is further loosening the coronavirus or COVID-19 lockdown on May 15 as they will be allowing restaurants and cafes to reopen and also religious services to resume, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz stated on Tuesday.
The Alpine republic did act early in its response to the outbreak by closing restaurants, bars, theatres, non-essential shops and also places where potential gatherings can happen, more than a month ago. It told the public to remain at home and work from there if possible.
Coronavirus locked on to get relaxed in Austria
It has also been among the first to loosen its lockdown, allowing DIY stores, garden centres and shops of less than 400 square metres - roughly twice the area of a singles tennis court - to reopen a week ago. Shopping centres, larger shops and hairdressers are due to follow from May 1.
"We are going faster here than other countries towards something like a new normality," Kurz told a news conference, adding that "gastronomy businesses", a term that often includes bars, will be allowed to reopen from May 15 and stay open until 11 p.m. Religious services can resume from the same day. Shops that have reopened must limit the number of customers they let in and shoppers must cover their mouths and noses with a mask or fabric.
Kurz said that wearing a face mask would be part of the "new normality". Face masks are already compulsory on public transport. As previously announced, secondary schools are due to reopen in early May for students in their final year. Kurz said schools would reopen for pupils in lower years in an unspecified step-by-step process beginning on May 15.
(With agency inputs)