Epidemic restrictions in force till Feb. 14, shops in malls to open on Feb. 1

Shopping malls and cultural institutions will be able to open again from February 1, the health minister has announced.

But Adam Niedzielski added that most of the current restrictions will be extended until February 14.

"The reopening of retail trade, which means that we are opening shops in malls, will be carried out under a sanitary regime," Niedzielski told reporters on Thursday.

"We are returning to the regulations which were binding in December," he continued, adding that the hour reserved for senior shopping will be lifted.

Restaurants and bars will remain closed and will only be allowed takeaway or home delivery sales.

Shoppers will be restricted to one person per 10 sqm in shops of up to 100 sqm, and to one person per 15 sqm in shops with the floor space above 100 sqm.

Wearing face masks will continue to be obligatory in all public spaces, including streets, buses, shops, or church buildings.

Hotels, theatres, cinemas, discotheques and night clubs will continue to be closed as well as gyms, fitness clubs and aqua-parks.

Church services are limited to one person per 15 sqm, with a distance between churchgoers not smaller than 1.5 metres, while public gatherings will be limited to five people. The ban on weddings and funeral receptions will also continue.

Children from grades one to three will continue to attend regular classes at school but older children will continue with e-learning.

Restrictions regarding border crossing and international passenger traffic will also remain in force.

In mid-January, the government decided to extend all coronavirus-related restrictions until January 31.

Jaroslaw Gowin, a deputy prime minister and the development minister, described the government's decision to reopen retail trade as "a bold step, since, at the same time, stricter economic restrictions are being introduced in most EU countries."

Referring to the decision to not reopen restaurants, hotels and sporting facilities, Gowin said that, "unfortunately, these sectors have to be patient."