Coronavirus in Poland. What’s allowed and what’s not? The government is introducing further restrictions
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and the Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski have announced the introduction of new restrictions at a joint press conference. The fight against the coronavirus epidemic is entering its next phase.
‘The current situation requires a great deal of discipline from us,’ stressed the Prime Minister.
All of us will be affected by the new regulation. It introduces a temporary ban on meetings with friends on the boulevards, on taking children to the playgrounds and barbecues in the parks. What is prohibited?
- A total ban on gatherings of more than two people has been introduced. But this does not apply to families living together.
- It is forbidden to leave the house. You can only go out to run essential errands, such as the necessary shopping or going to work.
- The restrictions apply to public transport. Half of the seats in buses and trams must remain unoccupied.
- All restrictions currently in place still apply. People violating them can be fined.
Ban on leaving the house
The slogan “stay at home” will not be a recommendation, but an obligation. The Prime Minister informed that there would be a ban on leaving the house, except for going out in really urgent matters. These include doing the necessary shopping, going to work if the employer cannot organise remote work, or visiting a doctor.
‘Certainly, we also understand things like walking the dog, but do not gather in parks or playgrounds. I think this is what we can do to help the services taking care of us,’ said Łukasz Szumowski, Minister of Health.
Apart from walking the dog, the ban allows us to go out to help our family members. Also, if someone is working to fight the coronavirus as a volunteer, they can move around.
The police are supposed to check whether these rules are observed and assess whether someone is just going for a walk or if this is an essential matter. Violations of these provisions will be fined.
Ban on gatherings
A total ban on gatherings will be introduced. The new regulations prohibit the organisation of any meetings, events or gatherings. The exceptions include events in which only family members participate.
‘If we do not restrict our contacts to a minimum, we will not reduce the number of the infected, and consequently, we will not save more human lives. I am aware that the situation is difficult, but still I am asking for even greater restrictions,’ emphasized Łukasz Szumowski.
No more than two people can walk on the street next to each other; however, this restriction does not apply to families living together. And a maximum of five people can attend masses and funerals. This number does not include those who conduct the ceremony, for example employees of funeral homes.
So you cannot go into the woods and meet your friends there for a barbecue. This was the case in the last few days, when the woods, parks and boulevards were full of people walking and gathering in groups.
A fine of up to PLN 5,000.00 can be imposed for violating these regulations. The restrictions on the number of people do not apply to workplaces. However, the recommendations provided by the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) on keeping distance between staff members and the application of disinfectants should be applied.
Restrictions in public transport
The restrictions apply also to public transport. Buses and trams will continue to run, but the number of commuters is limited. Only half of the seats can be taken. This is to keep the necessary distance between passengers.
‘We urge the city authorities to organise public transport in a manner where only every second seat is occupied. The bigger the distance between people, the safer they are,’ said the Minister of Health.
Mateusz Morawiecki stressed that buses and trams cannot be overcrowded. They must be safe for the commuters.
‘Let’s leave public transport for those who must go to work, to the pharmacy, shop or for those who cannot work remotely,’ said the Prime Minister.
Closed shopping centres, restaurants and pubs
All restrictions currently in place have been maintained. Shopping centres, cinemas, pubs and restaurants are closed. Restaurants may only provide food for takeout. Border controls still apply, flights and mass events have been cancelled. People returning from abroad will be quarantined.
‘We want Poles to come back to work after Easter and to organise high school matura exams this year,’ said Mateusz Morawiecki. ‘We will have to beware of several behaviours that used to be natural in the past.’
The Prime Minister also said that there were no plans to postpone the presidential election.
‘I see no reason why the presidential election or high school matura exams shouldn’t take place. Everything, of course, will have to take place with a number of applicable measures in mind,’ concluded Mateusz Morawiecki.
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