Austria: Restaurants may open again from May 15

Austria, which was one of the first countries in Europe to take strict measures to contain the coronavirus, is now also one of the first countries to ease the situation.The restrictions that have been in effect for seven weeks, will be gradually lifted.Elisabeth Köstinger, Austria’s Minister of Tourism announced today that restaurants may open again from May 15, subject to conditions.

A maximum of four adults and their children are allowed at one table in restaurants and other catering outlets. Bar operation at the counter is prohibited. The one-meter distance rule applies applies not only outside but also within the restaurants but not for guests at the table. Service personnel must wear mouth-nose protection. In addition, guests must reserve tables, group reservations are not possible. The opening times will be limited from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The restrictions and requirements apply at least until the end of June.

An end to the lockdown for hotels is also foreseeable. Köstinger announced today that hotels and other accommodation facilities may reopen from May 29.Nightclubs, bars and discos, however, remain closed.

"We will start a new normal - with as many freedoms as possible and as many restrictions as necessary," said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz in an interview with the US broadcaster CNN earlier last week.

The easing steps that have now been announced will be evaluated every two weeks, said Köstinger. The minister hopes, that the announcement and the timetable will help the hotels and restaurants to plan for the future. "The companies can now prepare for the opening," she said.

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