While three Austrian federal states are extending the lockdown, Chancellor Kurz is already planning the first opening steps - and teasing the German neighbors.
Vienna - The Austrian Chancellor wanted a "resurrection after Easter" from the Corona crisis shortly before the holidays.
From May 1st, “all shops, shopping centers and hairdressers should be allowed to reopen”, all other “services, restaurants and hotels will be able to open gradually in mid-May at the earliest”, the Chancellor had announced at the time - now there has been renewed advice on further coronavirus Approach and possible openings take place.
Coronavirus pandemic in Austria: lockdown extended, openings planned
On the Tuesday after Easter, Kurz announced that the next steps would be prepared with the help of an opening commission made up of representatives from the federal, state and local governments.
Due to the particularly critical number of cases, Vienna, Lower Austria and Burgenland will extend their complete lockdown until at least April 18: A 24-hour exit restriction, distance teaching and the closure of all "non-essential" shops will remain everyday life here for the time being.
The other six federal states should initially get along with “the current measures”, which are somewhat more relaxed.
Corona in Austria: Chancellor Kurz relies on vaccinations
Kurz repeatedly invokes his most important strategic pillar: "The vaccinations are the way out," said the 34-year-old ÖVP politician at a press conference.
According to Kurz, all people over 65 nationwide should be vaccinated by the end of the month, and in May it will be the turn of people aged 50 and over, according to the promise.
The vaccinations are likely to have a decisive influence on the hoped-for openings, the Chancellor makes clear: "With the appropriate vaccination progress and warmer weather and hopefully the associated seasonal effects, we expect that we will be able to take appropriate opening steps in May . "
Corona pandemic: Relaxation in Austria - these are the plans
However, the announcements are not yet really concrete, after all, the opening commission that has been convened must first consult.
“The aim is to announce more details here in 14 days, including dates, because lead times are necessary in some areas so that this can be approached in a meaningful way,” explains Vice Chancellor Kogler to the press representatives.
But he also adds that in a pandemic, planning cannot be guaranteed immediately - but one will try.
“To survive the last tough weeks together and to be able to look into a different future from May”, that is Kogler's hope.
May should then be accompanied by openings in art and culture, sport, events and other areas - according to Chancellor Kurz, these could also be regionally different "if it is appropriate".
The news portal
states that it has a first draft of the planned opening steps: The first wave of opening is therefore to be expected on May 3, if the number of cases is appropriate.
“The gastronomy will definitely be there,” the medium quotes a government insider, and the first cultural events should be possible again.
The first openings in tourism are planned for mid-May, which are likely to be accompanied by a vaccination certificate, and the first sporting events could take place.
Corona virus: Austria's Chancellor taunts Germany
How the next steps of the Austrian government will ultimately affect the pandemic situation should be exciting again - after all, Kurz also admits in his press statement: "Every opening brings with it increasing numbers of infections".
Nevertheless, the Chancellor allowed himself a swipe at Germany during the conference: Austria was in a position to plan easing, at least through appropriate Covid-19 measures, while Germany was "still in lockdown" - like three Austrian federal states just now a little longer than planned.