Austrian president apologizes after breaking coronavirus curfew

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen | Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife were found by police at a restaurant after cut-off time.

Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen apologized Sunday after he and his wife were caught by police breaking curfew rules at a restaurant.

The country has mandated that restaurants and bars shut down by 11 p.m. as a coronavirus prevention measure, but police told the Kronen Zeitung that the couple still had drinks at their table after midnight on Saturday night. The restaurant — which was officially shut down at the time, according to the newspaper — could face a fine of up to €30,000 for breaking the rules.

Van der Bellen said in a statement on Twitter that he had gone out to eat for the first time since lockdown began with his wife and two friends.

“We lost track of the time while chatting and unfortunately overlooked the hour,” he wrote. “I am sincerely sorry. It was a mistake. If the restaurant host suffers any damage from this, I will take responsibility for it.”

Municipal authorities must now decide whether the restaurant faces a penalty.



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