ZURICH - Austria should expect further heavy restrictions when its current lockdown measures expire in just over a week, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz told Austrian paper Kleine Zeitung. Austria's nationwide lockdown is due to be lifted on Dec. 7, but it is not yet clear what that will mean for the ski industry - cornerstone of a tourism sector which accounts for some 15% of economic output - or overall life in Austria. Speaking to Kleine Zeitung, Kurz said Austrians would need to contend with further restrictions for weeks and months, adding new measures to be announced on Wednesday depended on COVID-19 case developments. "The higher the infection numbers, the harder it will be to introduce steps for reopening," Kurz said in the interview published on Sunday. "We will have to live with further massive restrictions after December 7." The government aims to begin reopening with trade and schools, he said, while establishing cautious steps towards easing. Asked about the potential for a ski season, Kurz told the paper sports and leisure facilities would not be part of the first easing measures, but the government intended to enable more outdoor and individual sports in the foreseeable future. "Separate from that is the question of tourism," he said. "What's already clear, apres-ski will happen at the earliest in one year," he said, referring to the tradition of a post-ski drink in mountain bars and restaurants. France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered even the high-altitude lifts that could be running this early in the winter to remain closed for now in the hope that all resorts can benefit at peak season, if and when the infection rate slows. REUTERS
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