Austria has reportedly started executing its ‘step-by-step plan’ to relax lockdown measures in the country with the reopening of several shops.

The country has become one of the first nations in Europe to partially lift the restrictions that were in place to help fight the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Reuters reported the government has indicated to the public that the decision could be reversed if the number of positive cases increases. The country reported a total of 368 deaths.

As part of the government’s plan to reopen the economy, shops measuring up to 400m² in area, do-it-yourself (DIY) hardware stores and garden centres will be back into business as of today.

Mandatory safety measures such as maintaining social distancing and the use of face masks in shops and transport facilities will continue to be in force.

Chancellor Sebastian Kurz was quoted by Bloomberg as saying: “This is a first step in the direction of opening that’s become possible.

“We want to give as much freedom as possible and as much restriction as necessary. We’re following our schedule, but if the numbers go into the wrong direction again, we’ll use the emergency brake.”

Moreover, the government’s plan will allow malls and other stores to reopen on 2 May, whereas schools, restaurants and hotels are expected to start functioning from mid-May.

Besides Austria, other European countries such as Spain and Demark are also easing their lockdown measures.

Global coronavirus cases are now close to two million at 1,920,918 while the death toll stands at 119,686.