Poland Opens Malls But Keeps Schools Closed on Wait for Vaccine

Poland will allow shopping malls to reopen, while keeping restaurants, cinemas and schools closed as Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked for more patience until a virus vaccine arrives.

“We need 100 more days of solidarity,” Morawiecki told reporters on Saturday. “Now we need to ask of ourselves more than ever.”

Poland introduced a near-full lockdown earlier this month after Covid-19 infections surged in October, with daily deaths climbing to a record 637 earlier this week. Schools will remain closed until at least mid-January, while gyms, cinemas, theaters and restaurants won’t reopen before Dec. 27.

Shopping malls and furniture stores can reopen from Nov. 28, including on at least two Sundays in December. The Polish cabinet will decide in three weeks whether to lift other restrictions. If the seven-day average of daily cases -- currently at 21,765 -- falls below 19,000, there will be room for further easing, Health Minister Adam Niedzielski said. The next threshold is at 9,400.

Morawiecki asked Poles to stay at home for Christmas, adding that the government is working on legal ways to limit travel during that period.

Poland, which is spending as much as 10 billion zloty ($2.65 billion) to support restriction-hit industries in November and December, is working on new measures to help save jobs, Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Gowin said.

  • Separately, the Health Ministry said Covid-19 cases rose by 24,213 to 843,475 on Saturday, compared with 22,464 on Friday and 25,571 a week earlier
  • Deaths rose by 574 to a total of 13,288

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