Poland’s government today announced a series of further restrictions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. The measures are necessary because Poles have “unfortunately not maintained social discipline as much as we should”, said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.
The new measures go into force over the next two days and the penalty for violating them is a fine up to a maximum of 30,000 zloty (€6,600). They include:
- Those aged under 18 can only leave the home under the supervision of an adult guardian
- Pedestrians must remain 2 metres apart from one another, even if they are walking together. This includes members of the same family. Exceptions are made for children under 13 or people with disabilities
- Shops can only admit 3 customers at the same time for each cash register they have (for example, a shop with 3 cash registers can admit 9 customers)
- Outdoor markets and post offices will have similar restrictions on customer numbers
- Customers in all shops must wear disposable gloves
- Workplaces must separate work stations by at least 1.5 metres and employees must wear gloves
- Parks, beaches and various other public recreation spaces to be closed
- Hotels and other short-term rental accommodation to be closed (apart from those for use in quarantine or isolation, or for medical personnel)
- Grocery shops and pharmacies to only serve customers over 65 years old between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. every day
- Hair and beauty salons, tattoo parlours to be closed (and home visits not permitted either)
- Bike rental services to be closed
- Anyone living with a person under a legal quarantine order must also be quarantined
“Examples from other countries show that the key to reducing infection is to limit contact as much as possible,” reads the government’s justifications for the new restrictions.
“We currently have two [possible] scenarios,” explained Morawiecki. “Either the situation will get drastically worse, or it will be bad but manageable through a number of rules, procedures and quarantine.”
Premier @MorawieckiM w #KPRM: Docierają do nas informacje z krajów Europy Zachodniej, od naszych partnerów. Sytuacja tam jest trudna i chcemy za wszelką cenę tego uniknąć. Chcemy być przygotowani na rosnącą liczbę zarażeń i jednocześnie wypłaszczać krzywą zakażeń. pic.twitter.com/rHz1lLzmST
— Kancelaria Premiera (@PremierRP) March 31, 2020
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases passed 2,000 yesterday. Nine new deaths of people infected with the COV-19 were also announced, the highest daily total so far. This is, however, “only the start” of the epidemic in Poland, warned the health minister, Łukasz Szumowski.
“This is perhaps the most difficult moment in the development of the epidemic,” said the prime minister, “because we see large increases and we know that these increases will be even higher.”
For all of our coverage of the coronavirus epidemic in Poland, see our constantly updated archive of stories here.
Main image credit: Slawomir Kaminski/Agencja Gazeta
Daniel Tilles is editor-in-chief of Notes from Poland and assistant professor of history at the Pedagogical University of Krakow. He has written on Polish affairs for a wide range of publications, including Foreign Policy, POLITICO Europe, The Independent and Dziennik Gazeta Prawna.