Published: 2021-04-23 21:43
Last Updated: 2021-05-16 21:36
Friday, the Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, announced that Austria hopes to reopen restaurants and hotels by the middle of May, following six months of closures due to COVID-19.
Kurz added that by then, a third of Austria's population of nine million would have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, adding that this would allow or a "careful" reopening of gastronomy, tourism, culture and sports sectors.
But, this will be up to each province to take the final decisions what to open based on local coronavirus indicators closer to the date, he said, urging people to remain vigilant to stop further transmission of the virus.
"We are on the final stretch in our fight against the pandemic," the Kurz told reporters.
Beginning May 19, restaurants and hotels can reopen under strict precautionary measures, said Kurz, adding that these establishments will only allow in those who show negative PCR tests, have been vaccinated, or who have recovered from infections.
Public events can also resume for this group of people under safety measures. Numbers will be capped at 1,500 people for indoor and 3,000 people for outdoor events, he said.
The Mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, said it remains to be seen whether the capital -- which is currently under a strict lockdown with movement restrictions and only essential shops open -- will be able to reopen.
"May 19 is still far away," said Ludwig to reporters shortly before Kurz spoke.
The Alpine EU member has so far recorded more than 604,000 coronavirus infections with 10,055 deaths. Vienna and two other eastern provinces tightened restrictions this month as their intensive care units filled up with COVID-19 patients.