Vienna / Paris / Rome (dpa) – In the context of significantly declining corona numbers, public life is returning to Austria. Now, after several months of lockdown, bars and hotels are opening, theaters and cinemas are once again allowed to receive visitors and customers can also visit sports facilities and fitness studios.
The condition for the use of all these facilities is that the guests have either been tested negative for the coronavirus, have recovered from Covid’s disease or have received a vaccination. France is also loosening its corona measures considerably. “From May 19, we have to rediscover our French way of life,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) described the day as the “starting point for our struggle to return to normal”. The starting position for the openings is even better than expected. “The curve of those infected with corona points steeply down, the curve of those vaccinated steeply up,” said Kurz of the current development.
When entering Austria, Germans do not have to go into quarantine, but at least one test with negative result must have been carried out. In Austria, retailers and many service providers have been open in most Länder since the beginning of February.
Ghost matches in the Bundesliga are over now, at least for now. Up to 3,000 people can congregate outside for approved seating events. Inside there are up to 1,500. Large gatherings such as weddings or club parties are also initially prohibited. The night time gastronomy is also initially closed due to the curfew at 10 PM. Kurz announced further opening steps in the near future. “We will be able to get back to normal in the summer.”
The number of new corona infections had fallen sharply in recent weeks – contrary to some warnings from virologists. With an incidence of about 65 days, the situation in Austria has recently been better than in Germany (79 years).
The move is a prerequisite for relaunching tourism in Austria. The country is highly dependent on the income from this industry. Tourists can be tested for free in many places. Hotels and restaurants can also take self-tests to look after their guests.
The second major step in the relaxation of corona measures is also starting today in France. It is meant to mark the return to normal life. A big relaxation now is the postponement of the curfew from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
As of today, the outdoor areas of the restaurants, but also the shops and cultural institutions across the country may reopen. Strict hygiene regulations must apply on the terraces of the restaurant. They can only be half used and can seat up to six people at one table. The restaurants in France have been closed since the end of October.
In the stores that buy non-essential products, eight square meters must be available per customer. Restrictions also apply in cinemas, theaters and museums.
France is badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. About 108,000 official corona deaths have been counted since the start of the crisis. However, the situation had deteriorated significantly in recent weeks. Recently, nearly 150 new corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants were counted nationwide within a week. France also wants to use a kind of emergency brake for the relaxation. A guide value, which is also taken into account for other factors, is an incidence of 400 or more.
In Italy, people are looking forward to a slight relaxation of the overnight travel ban. The day before yesterday, the government in Rome decided that the curfew would be delayed by one hour, from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. The measure will enter into force after the official publication of the decision. Italian media assumed that citizens would be outside longer in the evening. In a next step from June 7, the travel ban will be postponed until midnight. You can leave the house in Italy from 5 a.m.