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Austrian restaurants, churches and some schools to reopen

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Austria will further loosen its coronavirus lockdown on May 15 by allowing restaurants and cafes to reopen and religious services to resume, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Tuesday.

The Alpine republic acted early in its outbreak to close restaurants, bars, theatres, non-essential shops and other potential gathering places more than a month ago. It has told the public to stay at home and work from there if possible.

It has also been among the first to loosen its lockdown, allowing DIY stores, garden centres and shops of less than 400 square metres – roughly twice the area of a singles tennis court – to reopen a week ago. Shopping centres, larger shops and hairdressers are due to follow from May 1.

“We are going faster here than other countries towards something like a new normality,” Kurz told a news conference, adding that “gastronomy businesses”, a term that often includes bars, will be allowed to reopen from May 15 and stay open until 11 p.m. Religious services can resume from the same day.

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