Tourists who roam Austria’s alpine pastures will have to adhere to a code of conduct in the future, the government said on Monday.
“If they don’t follow the code, they face legal consequences,’’ Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told a press conference in Vienna.
Austria’s farmers have been up in arms since February, when an Innsbruck court ruled that a mountain farmer neglected to fence in his cows, which were so irritated by a German tourist’s dog in 2014 that they killed the woman.
“We don’t want mountain pastures to be completely fenced off or closed. We therefore have to inform people about the behaviour of wild and farm animals,’’ Sustainability and Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger said.
The code of conduct will especially tell hikers how to handle their dogs.
Mother cows with calves sometimes feel they have to defend their calves against dogs.
Although owners should keep them on a leash, they must let them loose if cows come charging, according to the Austrian Alpine Club.
Austria to loosen face-mask requirement, scrap table-size limit in bars
Austria will no longer require shoppers to wear face masks and scrap a limit of four adults at a table in bars and restaurants, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Friday, outlining the next loosening of the country’s coronavirus restrictions.
Austria introduced a lockdown early in its outbreak and had far fewer deaths per capita than many of its neighbours. It was one of the first countries in Europe able to loosen restrictions, beginning on April 14.
Shops, restaurants, bars, schools and hotels have all since reopened.
Authorities have required people to wear masks or alternative cloth face coverings in shops and on public transport, a move aimed at preventing the wearer from infecting others.
“Face masks will no longer be compulsory in shops or in school,” Kurz told a news conference, saying the changes would take effect on June 15.
Masks will continue to be compulsory on public transport, in health facilities including pharmacies, and at service providers where social distancing cannot be ensured, such as at hairdressers, he added.
A limit allowing bars and restaurants to seat no more than four adults at a table will be lifted, and a mandatory closing time of 11:00 p.m. will be extended for two more hours.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Robot delivers meals to customer at Asian restaurant in Vienna, Austria
Austria to pay artists 1,000 euros a month to weather Covid-19 crisis
Self-employed artists in Austria are eligible for monthly pay-outs of 1,000 euros ($1,100) to protect their livelihoods in the current COVID-19 crisis, the government announced on Thursday, responding to pressure from the cultural sector.
The government set up a 90-million-euro fund to help around 15,000 artists during the second half of this year.
“We are acknowledging that the disruption of cultural life will last more than just one or two months,’’ Culture Minister and Vice-Chancellor, Werner Kogler, told a press conference in Vienna.
The announcement came one day after Finance Minister, Gernot Bluemel, said that he had earmarked 25 million euros to cover losses for film productions that were stopped because of the pandemic.
The government is also planning to aid larger cultural institutions.
The coalition between conservatives and Greens has drawn up schemes in recent days to ramp up cultural life after the lockdown period after numerous artists protested that they were being forgotten while other sectors of the economy reopened.
The Green Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs, Ulrike Lunacek, stepped down amid the criticism and was replaced last week by Andrea Mayer, a former senior official in the Culture Ministry.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Austrian Airlines set to resume flights from June 15
Austrian Airlines (AUA) announced on Thursday that it will start to resume its regular flights from June 15 after a break of almost 90 days due to the coronavirus crisis.
In the first week of resuming its services, AUA will offer flights to more than 20 destinations including Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Geneva, London and the central Israeli city of Tel Aviv, the Lufthansa subsidiary said in a press release.
In the following week, namely from June 22 to June 28, the airlines will operate flights to additional destinations including Belgrade, Milan, Nice, Prague and Warsaw.
Accordingly, AUA will fly to 37 destinations in the first two weeks of resuming services, subject to new official restrictions, and offer an average of 5 percent capacity compared to the previous year, it said.
“We are all delighted that Austrian Airlines is finally taking off again,” said Chief Commercial Officer Andreas Otto, adding “As soon as we have built up enough feeder traffic on the short and medium-haul routes, we will again offer long-haul flights. That could be the case in July.”
Passengers will be required to wear masks inside airports and aboard aircraft, said AUA in the statement. At Vienna Airport the so-called “Sneeze Guards” (plexiglass panels) will be attached to the check-in, boarding and information desks. There will also be floor markings to help customers keep the safety distance.
It emphasized that special filters will ensure the air on board is constantly cleaned during the flight. The standard of these devices corresponds to those in clinical operating rooms, which means that the air on board will be cleaner than that which a person breathes on earth.
Czech Republic lifts more restrictions, opens borders with Austria, Germany
The Czech Republic on Monday lifted more restrictions, including those on hotels, swimming pools, castles and chateaus, and the indoor sections of restaurants, in a bid to further reopen the economy.
Elementary school children are also allowed to return to school in small groups. Minister of Education Robert Plaga proposed that secondary school, vocational, and conservatory school students be able to return to classes on a voluntary basis beginning June 8.
A mandatory requirement for covering the nose and mouth in public has also been lifted. Wearing face mask is only required in enclosed spaces.
The Karvina region of the country will still undergo restrictive measures for at least another 14 days following a large outbreak of COVID-19 amongst workers in the Darkov Mine, according to Health Minister Adam Vojtech. A blanket test revealed that 212 miners and their close contacts tested positive for the disease.
“From Tuesday, we are opening all railway and road crossings with Germany and Austria, as well as the Hrensko river crossing, and we are abolishing comprehensive border controls. We negotiated with our German and Austrian colleagues so that the conditions would be similar for them as well,” said Interior Minister Jan Hamacek in a press release, adding that a proof for a negative COVID-19 test will still be mandatory and border checks will be random.
The country is also opening up international flights again at major airports on Tuesday.
Crossing borders in non-designated areas will still be prohibited until June 13, and the external borders of the Schengen area will be closed until at least June 15.
Czech Republic mulls “mini-Schengen” with Austria, Slovakia set for mid-June
The Czech Republic will open its borders to Austria and Slovakia by mid-June, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry.
“We are returning to normal and this also applies to tourism. Our goal is to open the borders between the Czech Republic, Austria, and Slovakia by mid-June, moreover, without the need to submit negative tests or quarantine,” Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said in a press release on Tuesday.
The foreign minister described the model as a “mini-Schengen” zone without the need for inspections, tests, or quarantines.
On the same day, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said he would like to see the country’s borders all open on June 15.
The prime minister made the remark after a conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel following a virtual meeting of the Visegrad Group (V4) prime ministers.
According to Babis, Poland has not set its sights on the same goal as the rest of the neighboring states. However, Petricek said he believes it could happen at the end of June at the latest.
The ministry said that negotiations with Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Croatia concerning travel from the Czech Republic will take place by the end of the week.
People dine in Cafe Landtmann in Vienna, Austria
A waiter wearing a face mask greets customers in the Cafe Landtmann in Vienna, Austria, May 15, 2020. As part of the federal government’s phased plan, bars and restaurants in Austria are allowed to open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. from May 15, with restrictions such as wearing face masks by employees and a maximum of four adult guests per table. (Photo by Georges Schneider/Xinhua)
Austrian gov’t outlines step-by-step plan to resume cultural activities
The Austrian government on Friday outlined a step-by-step plan for the resumption of cultural activities in the Alpine country.
From May 29 indoor and outdoor events with up to 100 spectators will be allowed, said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober at a press conference here on Friday.
From July 1 events with up to 250 spectators will be possible and cinemas are also due to open, he said.
The one-meter social distancing rule will have to be observed at all events, and there should be one representative responsible for coronavirus issues at each event, he added.
“A very big step” should take place on Aug. 1, when events with up to 500 visitors will be permitted, while events with up to 1,000 visitors will be allowed if a special security concept is available, said the minister.
Anschober was pleased with the latest coronavirus figures, saying that there are just over 1,000 active cases and only 212 patients in hospital at present.
“Austria is on a positive path,” he said.
The step-by-step plan, completed after a week of dialogue with cultural workers and politicians, is to be put into a regulation on May 25 and is to be carried out on May 29, the minister added.
Austria’s Linz accused by rivals of breaking coronavirus rules
Austrian league leaders LASK Linz have been accused by their rivals of holding training sessions which break coronavirus rules but have themselves complained that they have been victims of industrial espionage.
Eleven of the 12 teams in the Austrian Bundesliga, which is due to re-start in June, said they had been presented with “clear video material” that showed Linz had ignored guidelines which restrict training to small groups of players.
“These videos clearly show that the league leaders have disregarded the guidelines for small group training set by the ministry (of sports),” a joint statement from the other teams said on Thursday.
The clubs said they “dissociated ourselves from this behaviour and will continue to adhere strictly to the government’s guidelines. The responsible and safe continuation of the Bundesliga competition remains a top priority”.
Austria Vienna made their own statement.
“We are really very disappointed, because in the past few weeks we have done everything we could for the resumption of training and matches under an extreme commitment for the Bundesliga and for all the clubs,” they said.
“Everything is then torpedoed with such fatal actions.”
Champions Salzburg said they were “shocked and stunned” by the approach of the LASK.
“For many months we have been working so hard together. Obviously, not all clubs and individuals are aware of this great responsibility,” Salzburg added.
Linz managing director Andreas Protil told the APA news agency that two men had broken into the club’s training ground overnight and installed video surveillance cameras, adding that the incident had been reported to the police.
“We are shocked that there are obviously third parties who are willing to break into our club premises with criminal energy in order to carry out industrial espionage,” Protil said.
“The perpetrators were filmed and are now being investigated.”
APA said the Bundesliga was investigating the incident.
The Austrian government allowed teams to begin training on April 20 under strict rules which restricted them to groups of six. Full training sessions will be permitted from Friday.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo/Ali Baba-Inuwa (NAN)
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