Shopping malls and hotels reopened in Poland on Monday as the country’s government lifted additional restrictions put in place in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus. After closing for seven weeks due to the COVID-19, Austrian schools reopened to graduating classes on Monday, with teachers and students trying to adapt to the new routine of wearing masks, washing hands frequently and keeping social distance.
Malls are required to enforce hand sanitation and give out disposable gloves to shoppers.
Stores reported high numbers of customers as many retailers were allowed to open their doors for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Besides malls, hotels, libraries and cultural institutions are allowed to open again, as well as some art galleries and other museums.
Among them is the Royal Castle in the center of the capital, Warsaw, which was officially reopened by deputy prime minister Piotr Glinski.
“Institutes such as these, which will operate under a new sanitary regime, will be reopened systematically,” Glinski said in his ceremonial speech.
“The final decision lies with their boards and will always be coordinated with the sanitary inspections.”
So far, the Polish government has reported 14,006 coronavirus cases, with 698 deaths. The spread of the epidemic has been steady, with typically between 200 and 400 new cases reported daily.
Austrian schools reopen with masks, distancing and disinfectants as new routine
In many schools, to guarantee social distancing, lessons were not held in the normal classroom, but in the gymnasium – for example in the Goethe Gymnasium, a general high school in Vienna, according to local media.
There, among other things, handrails on the stairs were glued with barrier tape, and strips for distance control were found on the floor. The hygiene rules and instructions for correct movement in the school building were clearly visible at the entrance.
“Today we only had two classes with 48 pupils, and two colleagues agreed to act as hygiene teachers to monitor hand washing,” director Hubert Kopeszki told the Austria Press Agency (APA).
In two weeks it would be much more difficult with the return of the younger students, he said.
From May 15, all pupils in the six to 14 age group will return to school, followed by the remaining pupils from June 3, the government announced in late April.
Apart from the lack of physical space, there is also the problem of personnel bottlenecks. Kopeszki said that 22 percent of the teachers would not be able to show up because they belong to the risk group or have someone to look after at home.
In an interview with the Swiss daily Blick, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said that
a second coronavirus wave could occur in Austria as a “realistic scenario.”
“The question is whether it will be possible to keep the situation under control, in other words, to limit the contagion regionally and isolate infected people quickly, or whether there will be an exponential increase again,” Kurz told the Blick in a telephone interview on Sunday. “In between there is a full grayscale range that makes a big difference.”
So far, the reopening of stores has not increased the number of infections in the Alpine country, according to the chancellor, as the daily number of new cases reported has still been under 100.
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