Austria’s President, Alexander Van der Bellen, issued an apology after he broke a coronavirus-related curfew.

He stayed at a restaurant in the capital, Vienna, beyond the closing time mandated under the country’s lockdown measures.

“I’m sincerely sorry. It was a mistake,” said Van der Bellen, 76.


He said he had lost track of the time while speaking with friends at the Italian restaurant.

“I went out for the first time since the lockdown with two friends and my wife,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We then lost track of the time while chatting.”

According to local media reports, the president was spotted by police on the outside dining area of the restaurant shortly after midnight on Sunday.

This happened after the government reopened restaurants and cafes last week, which are allowed to operate not later than 11:00 pm (local time).

The Italian restaurant could be fined for the violation.

But Van der Bellen said he would “take responsibility” if the owner suffers any losses due to the incident.

“We closed after a last round of drinks on time at 11:00 pm, as required by law,” the owner told the Krone newspaper.

He said he had thought that customers were allowed to stay on the terrace beyond that time if they wished.

Austria was one of the first countries in Europe to impose a strict lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


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