Government discusses opening steps tonight

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The ÖVP-Green federal government will discuss the upcoming loosening after the hard lockdown in the late afternoon. These will be decided tomorrow in the ministerial meeting and presented to the public around noon.

In view of the still too high number of infections, only very small opening steps can be expected. The first step would be to open schools and the retail sector, announced Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP) a week ago.

It is not yet known in detail in which form the attendance classes will be resumed. There are discussions about masks in the classroom, shift work and smaller groups, partly in outsourced rooms outside the schools. It is fixed that all 200,000 teachers, teachers and kindergarten teachers will be called upon to take the coronavirus rapid test at the weekend.

Restrictions on the number of people in stores
From today’s point of view, stores will also be allowed to open from December 7, but with restrictions on the number of people in the stores. There are hardly any alternatives to unlocking the stores, otherwise domestic retailers would miss out on the entire Christmas business, as online shopping is largely intercepted by US corporations.

Even the “Kaufhaus Österreich” (Department Store Austria) presented yesterday by Minister of Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck (ÖVP) after half a year of development time does not help here, because online sales are not even offered via this platform.

Catering trade might remain closed
Restaurants and cultural institutions, on the other hand, are likely to remain closed. Sports facilities will also have to wait. In the foreseeable future, however, more sports should be possible again, especially if they take place outdoors and as individual sports, Kurz recently announced. This is likely to mean skiing, which is currently being fought over. A possible compromise here would be to open the ski slopes only for day guests.

The government held a video conference with the state governors last night, which, according to the Chancellor’s Office, was held in a very constructive and good mood. In addition to Chancellor Kurz and Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens), today’s meeting was attended by Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens), Finance Minister Gernot Blümel and Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger (both ÖVP).

Rendi-Wagner for openings only with “utmost caution”
SPÖ leader Pamela Rendi-Wagner warned against a hasty lifting of the measures after the end of the lockdown. An opening should only be done with “utmost caution”, she said at a press conference today. She called for schools to make masks mandatory for teachers and students. She also pleaded for weekly quick tests for teachers as well as for employees in nursing homes.

“Central” for Rendi-Wagner is the school sector: There, he says, “very clear safety rules” are needed. Teachers and educators must also be equipped with FFP2 masks for teaching – “to protect teachers and students”. In addition, from the beginning of the lower school, children must wear masks during lessons. “It is important to make schools a safe place, it is important that schools are never closed again”.

hp, Source: ORF.at/agencies. Picture: pixabay.com

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