Lockdown: Austria to announce first opening steps today

Lockdown: Austria to announce first opening steps today
Photo: ALEX HALADA / AFP
Austria's lockdown is set to end on December 7th with the government due to meet on Wednesday to discuss what restrictions and closures to extend and which ones to relax. Here's what to expect from what we know so far.

Currently, Austria’s strict lockdown, which has barred people from leaving their homes unless for essential reasons, is in place until December 7th.

But while infection rates are falling it is unlikely the government will decide to end all of the tight restrictions put in place.

READ: Everything you need to know about Austria's coronavirus lockdown

Here's what we can expect.

Will lockdown end on December 7th?

Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) is dampening expectations of a return to normality from the 7th. Although some measures may be ended, such as school closures, the chancellor warned the public that many rules would remain in place.

“We will have to live with further massive restrictions after December 7th,” Kurz told Austrian media. 

In any case, even if certain measures are wound back, the Chancellor promised there will be no “hasty steps”.

Kurz is set to meet with government and health officials on Wednesday, December 2nd to discuss the next move.

What can we expect?

Schools

Der Standard reports that schools look set to reopen on Monday, December 7th. 

According to Der Standard, “lessons in compulsory schools should start again on Monday in a week (December 7th).”

Schools are unlikely to resemble those of the pre-lockdown days however, with mask restrictions, teaching in shifts and alternative classrooms – gyms and venues where greater social distance can be maintained – likely to be implemented. 

Events and sports

The closure of fitness studios, gyms and other indoor sports facilities is likely to be extended beyond December 7th. 

Outdoor sports – including skiing and other winter sports – may be allowed to take place in December, although this is not yet confirmed. 

Hospitality and gastronomy 

Kurier reports that bars, restaurants, cafes and clubs are likely to remain closed beyond December 7th

Indeed, some in the sector are hoping that the closure requirement will be extended, given the relatively generous government support made available to those in the sector. 

Austrian gastronomy spokesman Mario Pulker told Der Standard that it would make more sense for the government to extend the lockdown of the sector – and continue to pay the 80 percent revenue payments that have been made available through November. 

Shops

The prognosis looks a little better for non-essential shops, which should be allowed to open again from Monday – albeit subject to major restrictions. 

Der Standard reports that shops will be opened, but with the numbers of customers limited. 

Only one customer will be allowed per ten square metres, the newspaper reports. 

Admission restrictions are likely to come into place, along with restrictions in parking spots outside major shopping centres to avoid a crush.

 


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