Restaurants and hair salons return. Third stage of lifting restrictions

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TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters
Polish entrepreneurs protest at Warsaw's Old Town surrounded by the police
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Polish entrepreneurs protest at Warsaw's Old Town surrounded by the police

Open hairdresser salons, restaurants, as well as mall kiosks are on the list of changes introduced on Monday under the third stage of economy "unfreezing" in Poland. However, Polish business owners staged a protest on Saturday, saying the restrictions should have already been lifted further. Warsaw police used force and tear gas against the protestors.

The first set of coronavirus restriction became effective on April 20, when forests and parks have been reopened, children aged 13+ have been allowed to go outside on their own, and more people have been allowed inside shops.

The key changes introduced in the second stage of easing restrictions on May 4 included opening stores in shopping malls, hotels, and cancelling of the so-called senior hours (from 10-12 all businesses were only allowed to serve the elderly).

The prime minister announced new set of changes on May 13. Below is a list of those changes.

- "unfreezing" of hairdresser and beauty salons

- reopening of restaurants and casinos

- reopening of shopping mall kiosks

- reopening of some sport facilities, such as tennis and golf courts, and paintball arenas

- outdoor cinemas may now be opened

- actors and film set crews may resume work and rehearsals

- more people are allowed in churches and at funerals

- reopening of public offices

- more people are in public transport - up to half of available seats

Next stage on the horizon

PM Morawiecki has informed earlier on that the successive stages of economy "unfreezing" would be announced every second week. Furthermore, the government has said that full a reopening of the economy and everyday life of Poles would depend on the epidemiological assessment of the situation in the country.

The fourth stage of lifting restrictions is to include reopening of massage parlours, solariums, gyms and fitness clubs, as well as of cinemas and theatres - all under new sanitary regime.

As of Monday (May 18) morning, Poland has reported 18,746 coronavirus infection cases, of which 929 were fatal.

Tear gas against business owners

Police in Warsaw used tear gas on Saturday against protestors demanding the government act faster to allow businesses to reopen following a coronavirus shutdown. Hundreds of protestors gathered in Warsaw's Old Town in the early afternoon, carrying signs saying "Work and bread" and "It will be normal again."

Poland has been steadily loosening coronavirus restrictions in recent weeks in an effort to cushion the economy. Although hair salons and restaurants have been allowed to reopen with new safety measures in place on Monday, the protestors, who have gathered in Warsaw repeatedly in recent weeks, say restrictions need to be lifted further in order for them to sustain their livelihoods.

Police blocked the planned march, saying in a statement published on Twitter that public gatherings are still banned under the government restrictions. "Unfortunately we are dealing with cases of aggression towards police. Due to the attacks on civil servants, we used methods of direct confrontation such as physical force and (tear) gas," the Warsaw police said in a tweet.

Jacek Bury, a senator and member of Poland's main opposition grouping, the Civic Coalition, said he was detained by police during the protest and that they used force against him. As a senator, Bury would have immunity from being prosecuted for taking part in the protest and breaking coronavirus restrictions.

The police said on Twitter that they did not detain anyone who held state immunity, arguing the senator had entered a police vehicle himself and refused to leave it. Borys Budka, the head of the Civic Coalition, said on Twitter that he expected the interior minister and the head of Warsaw's police service to explain the use of force during Saturday's protest.

Police have used force against the protestorsPAP/Marcin Obara


Źródło: TVN24 News in English, PAP, Reuters

Źródło zdjęcia głównego: EPA/LUKAS BARTH-TUTTAS