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'We’re on the right track': Chancellor Kurz reassures citizens as Austria to reopen schools, churches & restaurants in mid-May

'We’re on the right track': Chancellor Kurz reassures citizens as Austria to reopen schools, churches & restaurants in mid-May
Vienna has announced its plans to allow school classes and church services as well as to let restaurants reopen their doors for clients starting from May 15, as the nation returns to life following its Covid-19 outbreak.

“We are on the right track,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a press conference on Tuesday as he announced new steps in loosening the lockdown imposed over the epidemic. He said that there were “no reasons” not to continue with the “opening up” plans under the slogan “as much freedom as possible, as much restriction as necessary.” However, some restrictions will remain mandatory for the coming months.

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Under the schedule presented by the government, preparation for the final exams in Austrian schools would start from May 4 while regular classes would resume, starting from May 15.

Restaurants will be allowed reopen on the same date. Nonetheless, their employees will have to wear face masks while clients will have to follow “social distancing” rules. Church services will also resume in mid-May.

Austria’s borders will remain closed in the meantime, Kurz said, as he campaigned for domestic tourism instead. “Even more vacation opportunities will be open in Austria this summer,” he promised, apparently referring to the fact that the Alpine nation is unlikely to receive any foreign tourists anytime soon.

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The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Austria stood at 14,845 on Tuesday. However, the number of new cases continues to fall. Over the last 24 hours, 78 people were diagnosed with the disease, which the government in Vienna has described as one of the best situations in Europe.

Earlier, it also announced the lifting of some quarantine restrictions. Small shops as well as hairdressers and podiatrists are now scheduled to reopen their doors from May 1, followed by museums and some other cultural spaces. Large events involving massive gatherings of people would remain banned, however, at least until the end of August.

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