Austria is the first European country to relax its strict coronavirus lockdown measures, reopening small shops, public parks, and DIY and gardening centers on Tuesday after being closed for nearly a month.
The country hopes to gradually go back to normal, while still abiding by strict social distancing measures like wearing masks in supermarkets, on public transportation, and in taxis.
Austria’s quick and decisive handling of the crisis has drawn praise from the rest of Europe, particularly Germany, which is weighing the decision of relaxing its own restrictions.
Indeed, all eyes are on Austria right now, as a bellwether example of how a reopening might look. Currently, Austria will allow shops smaller than 4,300 square feet to open, but only with one customer at a time for every 215 square foot. And shops will only be open between 7:40 AM and 7:00 PM. Violating these rules could result in a fine of up to $4,500.
In addition to small shops and parks, gas station shops, car washes, and bicycle repair shops will also be allowed to open. In May, this will extend to hairdressers and cosmetic salons. Restaurants, however, are not scheduled to open until at least mid-May.