Ulrike Lunacek, a Green Party member, has been in the office for four months

Ulrike Lunacek. Source: European Parliament audiovisual

Austria’s minister of culture Ulrike Lunacek tendered her resignation on May 15 following criticism and frustration over her response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Artforum learnt from the Austria Press Agency.

Theatre directors have been criticising the government for failing to propose plans on reopening and clear rules for safe performances. Musicians and film producers complained that the government ignores their financial needs amid the pandemic.

Commenting on her decision in a televised broadcast, Lunacek said: “I am making way for someone else who can hopefully achieve more than I have in this crisis situation.”

According to Reuters, cultural events with up to 100 people will be allowed in June and events with up to 1000 people will be permitted from August 1.

Healthcare minister Rudolf Anschober called the move a “very big step” for Austria. The country successfully flattened the curve of the virus by implementing lockdown measures during the early stages of the crisis.

Some shops, restaurants, bars, churches and museums are allowed to reopen in mid-May.

Such institutions as the Belvedere will reopen cautiously. The museum has been welcoming visitors to the Lower Belvedere since May 15, but other buildings remain closed. The Upper Belvedere and Belvedere 21 will reopen on June 1 and July 1 respectively.  

Theatres and cinemas will reopen July 1 if they limit the number of visitors and follow additional social distancing restrictions.

Borders with Germany and Switzerland will open on June 15.

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