Austria has decided to progressively lift its lockdown on May 1, almost seven weeks after the restrictions were put in place to deal with the coronavirus crisis, the health minister said on Tuesday.
The strict lockdown will be lifted at midnight April 30, Rudolf Anschober said at a press conference held here on Tuesday.
It will be replaced by new rules: going out is generally allowed again, but it is still important to keep a minimum distance of one meter from each other, he said.
Since mid-March, Austrians have only been allowed to leave their house if with good reasons, including doing essential errands. However, outdoor exercise — walking and cycling, for example — has not been restricted.
According to Anschober, the decrease in the number of infections justifies the government’s move. For the first time, the effective reproduction number is now 0.59, said the minister.
He thanked the public for making this possible, warning at the same time that
“unfortunately it is not over yet” and that “we can say stop at any time.”
Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger presented the timetable for the reopening of the catering trade and the hotel industry. Accommodation establishments and other tourist and leisure facilities, such as zoos, sights and swimming pools, may also reopen on May 29, but the social distancing rule will continue to apply.
In restaurants, a maximum of four adults and their children will be allowed at one table, and service personnel will have to wear face masks.