Austria will enact a gradual easing of its coronavirus lockdown measures next week, which would make it the first EU country to take steps toward normalization, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz announced Monday.
At a government press conference, Kurz said the country could expect some sort of “resurrection after Easter,” with non-essential shops allowed to reopen under strict hygiene measures starting on April 14.
Wearing face masks in public — especially in supermarkets — has been made mandatory as of Monday. The measure is expected to be expanded to public transportation next week.
From May 1, all stores, shopping malls and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen — but other services, as well as restaurants and hotels, must stay shuttered until mid-May, with a final decision to be taken in mid-April, he added.
While exams will go ahead, classes in schools will remain suspended until at least mid-May. Events will be banned until at least the end of June.
The government will still extend restrictions on movement until end of April, which means Austrians can only leave their homes to work, shop, help vulnerable people, or exercise.
As of today, Austria has 12,008 confirmed cases, based on 111,296 tests. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that the country’s doubling rate of confirmed cases fell from 3.6 days in mid-March to 16.5 days last week.