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Austrian president apologizes for breaking coronavirus restaurant rules


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Austria President Alexander Van der Bellen says he’s “sorry” for breaking pandemic-related rules by staying at a restaurant past curfew.

The leader came under fire after he was spotted at an Italian restaurant in Vienna after midnight Saturday — despite eateries being required to close at 11 p.m. as part of measures to ease lockdowns, BBC reported.

“I’m sincerely sorry. It was a mistake,” Van der Bellen wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

He claimed he was unaware at the time that he had lingered at the restaurant past closing time.

“I went out for the first time since the lockdown with two friends and my wife,” he wrote. “We then lost track of the time while chatting.”

The restaurant could be fined for staying open, but the president said he would “take responsibility” for any losses suffered, the report said.

“We closed after a last round of drinks on time at [11 p.m.], as required by law,” the owner told German newspaper Krone, according to the BBC.

Austria was among the first countries in Europe to announce in April that it was easing restrictions to restart the economy.

Austria has seen more than 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 641 deaths, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

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