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Austrian shops to re-open from 14 April; entire retail sector back in business from May 1

Photo: Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a press conference on Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Austrian Federal Chancellery in Vienna.


By Hector Pascua, Austria

Vienna - Austria is slowly getting out of lockdown as Chancellor Sebastian Kurz presented the next steps in the fight against the corona crisis and a first roadmap back to normality for the country in a press conference conducted Monday, April 6, 2020 at the Austrian Federal Chancellery in Vienna.

Initially, small shops are to reopen from 14 April, while the entire retail sector will re-open on May 1. However, the obligatory wearing of protective masks are still in place and will be extend as are other initial restrictions announced earlier.

Small shops in trade and services that are allowed to open will have the following restictions: 400 square meters of sales area (for shopping centers) only one customer per 20 square meters; customers and employees must wear a mouth and nose protector and regular disinfection must be ensured.

Megastores with garden centers can also open their doors from April 14, irrespective of the size of the sales area and should follow the restrictions that cover other shops.

From 1 May, all shops selling goods as well as hairdressers can open under strict conditions.

All other service areas including hotels and restaurants will be evaluated by the end of April, with the aim of allowing gradual opening from mid-May.

For now, restaurants, hotels and schools will remain closed until mid-May and any changes will be evaluated by the end of April.

It is also expected that Austrian Education Minister Heinz Faßmann (ÖVP) will come up with his own announcement on the education sector in the coming days. Also, matura can be completed under strict conditions. Children will be taken care of in kindergartens or schools if they cannot be looked after at home.

At the universities, courses are to be held digitally until further notice – exams can therefore be held if the relevant requirements are met.

Public Events are still prohibited until the end of June and a decision to be made by the end of April on what will be possible over the summer.

It was also announced that the Federal Gardens will reopen on the Tuesday after Easter but there will be strict admission controls and he police will check whether social distancing rules are observed.

In addition to supermarkets, compulsory masks will be implemented in all shops and on public transportation after they re-open from April 14. A shawl or a scarf can also be allowed to replace masks, if they are not available for use.

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