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Austria will become the first country in the European Union (EU) to gradually reverse restrictions on population and economic activity to contain the spread of the coronavirus, even as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc in neighboring countries.

As announced on Monday by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the exit strategy will begin to apply from next day 14 with the opening of shops of less than 400 square meters and provided that minimum control measures are respected, including that only there is one client for every 20 square meters and that all, without exception, wear masks.

If the rule works, the rest of the shops will be able to open their doors from May 1. Hotels, restaurants and beauty salons, among other businesses, should wait in the middle of the month. Cinemas, theaters and any event that gathers a significant number of people will remain closed , at least until the end of June.

Kurz, announcing at a press conference the road map that the Government will follow to gradually reactivate the activity, announced that the lifting of certain restrictions will not mean a return to normality , as long as the pandemic remains active.

Austria has computed 12,000 coronavirus cases and 220 deaths so far, but the curve has shown a marked downward trend, hence the government has decided to loosen the confinement decreed on March 16. Even so, Kurz has asked the population to limit the movement to what is strictly necessary and to reduce social contact as much as possible, especially on these Easter days.

" I want to ask Austrians and Austrians to respect these measures in a disciplined way . If we do not do it, then it will be impossible to put this ambitious plan out of the crisis into action," Kurz said at a press conference, which he attended without mask, although protected by a protection screen.

"We have saved lives together, and we have created the conditions to revive the economy faster and better than other countries . We have the opportunity to continue on this path, but only if we continue to act together," said Kurz to anticipate that the "exit "towards normality it will be carried out under strict control, in order to safeguard the effort made.

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  • Austria
  • European Union
  • Coronavirus
  • Covid 19