Poland tightens coronavirus restrictions for citizens

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Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced yesterday a new set of restrictions in Poland for the next phase of fighting the coronavirus outbreak.

The decision to introduce new regulations concerning the coronavirus epidemic was made during the Government Crisis Management Team’s deliberations.

The major new restrictions include:

  • Closing of hotels, parks, beaches and other areas of recreation.
  • Only the elderly aged 65 and above may enter shops and pharmacies between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.
  • Minors below the age of 18 can be outside only while accompanied by an adult.
  • Citizens are mandated to wear disposable gloves while shopping.
  • Mandatory disinfection of devices and areas where clients type in their PIN codes in shops.
  • A 2-meter distance must be maintained between pedestrians, which includes families but not parents with children aged 13 and below and disabled people with their carers.

The prime minister stated at a press conference that the police will be working to ensure that these new restrictions are abided by. The military will also be in a state of preparation.

“We want to be prepared for the rising number of infections, but we also want to limit and flatten the curve, so we do not encounter a situation like in Italy or Spain where the ill are segregated and there is a selection of those who can still be treated by a ventilator,” he explained.

Morawiecki added that the new restrictions are necessary for social and economic life to return to normal in a few months, as there is still too much contact between people, too much walking and too much spending time in public spaces.

The prime minister also said that the government wants to return to a “quasi-normal” economic life as early as April but that depends on whether Poles will dutifully follow the new restrictions over the next two to three weeks.

Morawiecki warned that the restrictions can be extended if data shows that they are not satisfactorily slowing the outbreak. He also underlined that “with each reckless departure from home, each unnecessary departure from home, the pandemic spreads.”

During the press conference, he declared that there will be new penalties and fines involved that range between €1,100 and €6,575 for breaking the regulations. In some cases, prison time can also be imposed on those who violate certain government restrictions.

He also announced the introduction of an app, which will be mandatory for people under quarantine. The app will allow the government to know whether these quarantined individuals are adhering to the new restrictions.

The prime minister also explained that the government has all the tools it needs to act given the current state of epidemic and does not need to introduce a state of emergency.

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