WARSAW, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced on Wednesday that his government will lift additional restrictions next Monday which were put in place to contain the COVID-19 epidemic.
Starting from Monday, malls will be allowed to function again, with cinemas and gyms as exceptions. Businesses are, however, required to follow strict sanitary and distancing rules. The same goes for cultural institutions, including libraries and museums, which are allowed to open to the public from Monday.
Hotels and hostels are also included in the businesses which are allowed to operate in what is the second stage of gradual opening of the Polish economy and society. The first stage, which went in effect on April 20, saw parks open for the public again, as well as increases in the number of customers retailers could allow on their premises at one time.
In addition, preschools and nurseries are allowed to function again from May 6 under strict sanitary rules, with local authorities allowed to put additional restrictions in place on the number of children in a room at one time. As not all facilities will be able to be opened because of this, parents that cannot go to work will still be eligible for government aid.
Poland has been in lockdown since March 13, with borders closed to foreigners.
Morawiecki appealed to Poles not to get complacent in the face of the pandemic. "We are opening up the economy, but we are not relaxing our safety measures by one inch," he said during a press conference on Wednesday. He added that they waited to open hotels and hostels until after May Day on purpose to discourage Poles to travel during the May Day weekend.
Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski added that the requirement to cover nose and mouth in public spaces will remain in place. "I cycled to work yesterday, and I saw an enormous amount of people on the street who were either not wearing a mask at all, or wore it below their mouths," he said. "That is not courage, nor showing defiance in face of the virus. That is underestimating the risk of infecting others."
The Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that 12,415 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 so far in Poland, of whom 606 patients died. Enditem