Austria is to become the first country in Europe to ease the pandemic mobility ban. Small shops are to open again next week, as of 14 April; hairdressers as of 1 May; cafes and restaurants, possibly, in mid-May. Public events, however, will hardly be permitted to take place until July. Unfortunately, there is no date for reopening schools.
Austria will start normalising social and economic life while controlling the risk of new infections. In the battle against the virus, the next hardest challenge, right after keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, is to find a viable balance between public and economic health. This is what Chancellor Kurz’s government is determined to unravel.
While lifting the lockdown, Mr Kurz is urging the country to avoid social contacts, keep distance in public space. For more freedom, Austrians will have to wear masks not only in supermarkets but now also in public transport.
As of today, the country has 12,206 confirmed cases, and the rate of daily new infections is at 2.8 percent from more than 40 percent in mid-March. Officials in Italy, Spain and France suggested these countries may follow the suit, as their infection rates are also declining.