Minister 'terrified' as number of restaurants reopen illegally

Grzegorz Momot/PAP

A deputy minister has described as “terrifying” the news that as many as 20,000 restaurants, bars and cafes opened for business at the weekend.

Olga Semeniuk, a deputy development, labour and technology minister, told public TV broadcaster TVP1 that her ministry had only thought 70-80 premises had opened.

"The aid that we are channelling to entrepreneurs (...) must be distributed in a way so that regulations are observed," she said.

The government is working on a sanitary regime that could be implemented by entrepreneurs, she added. "I hope that such a decision will be presented this week by Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki."

Given the epidemic situation in Europe, the Polish government can be only moderately optimistic about unfreezing the country's economy, said Semeniuk.

"Any time frame that we can present will be very often commented on due the possibility that the European situation and other mutations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus could affect it."

She also said that only mass vaccination offered the chance to lift restrictions placed on the economy, and that Poland has been in talks with its foreign partners to increase the supplies of vaccines.