Austria plans to reopen stores next week


People wearing protective masks walk past closed stores in Vienna, Austria, April 6, 2020. REUTERS / Leonhard Foeger

VIENNA (Reuters) – Conservative-led Austrian government plans to start reopening stores next week as part of its first loosening of its coronavirus lock-up after it said the country was running a corner, while expanding the requirement to wear face masks.

Austria has been stranded for three weeks, closing schools, bars, restaurants, theaters, non-essential stores and other gathering places. The public was told to stay at home and work from there if possible.

The lockout brought the daily increase in infections to a percentage figure and the number of people hospitalized has stabilized. But conservative chancellor Sebastian Kurz said last week that the capacity for intensive care could be exceeded by mid-April.

“There will be a step-by-step reopening,” Kurz said at a press conference, adding that the fact that Austria acted faster than the other countries meant that it was now able to start the reopening. earlier stores. It would act with caution, possibly delaying movements in the event of a return of infections.

If all goes well, it will reopen non-essential stores under 400 square meters and DIY stores on April 14, followed by all stores, malls and hairdressers on May 1, he said. The masks must be worn when the stores are reopened and on public transport.

François Murphy’s report; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Peter Graff

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