All eyes are on Austria as it eases corona virus restrictions and reopens stores and small businesses from beginning of May, hotels and restaurants by end of May.
Austria’s government had words of encouragement and caution for the population, as the country set out to ease its lockdown little by little. “We are on course,” said Austrias Chancellor Sebastian Kurz after praising citizens for sticking to the restrictions also over the Easter weekend.
The next phase, as pointed out by Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober may be the even harder part and the greater challenge to come. With the planned reopening of stores and public life, wearing masks in public transport and all public places as well as stores are essential and even more difficult to maintain.
What does this lifting of restricitons mean for hotels and the tourisme industry in general? If everything goes according to plan, from mid-May, restaurants and hotels should start operating again. The goal is clear, and that is to get out of the crisis faster than the others, but keeping the population safe and healthy at the same time. Furthermore the young chancellor promised to fight for every job in Austria.
Tourisme income contributing a large part to Austrias BIP, this means that a lot depends on how quickly hotels can be up and running again and on how quickly borders to neighboring countries will reopen.
The way it is planned, by the end of May all Hotels and Restaurants will be fully opened and ready for operations. Workers and hotel employees will return to their jobs and prepare for the summer season. Although strict health standarts and safety regulations will be kept in place, this means that the industry is returning to a certain normality. Although business might be less and starting up slower then in other years, the season can be safed and income from tourisme secured. Also, since travel restricitons to many foreign destinations will stay in place, Austrians are more likely to spend their summer vacation at home, thus contributing to the revocery of the sector.
Experts such as Dr. Peter Dobrac, a global health expert, find praise for the steps Austria has taken, explaining that they had these things in place and as a result they are already past the peak of infections there. The numbers of coronavirus-related deaths in these nations are in the tens or hundreds, rather than the thousands, and Austrians are in a much better place because of proactive action. What they’ve announced about how they plan gradually to relax restrictions looks reasonable and it looks smart, Dr. Drobac said.