Retail trade first to be released from Covid-19 restrictions - minister

Asked what sectors of the economy are to be unfrozen first, Niedzielski answered that "it will surely be retail trade, due to both economic and pandemic reasons." Paweł Supernak/PAP

The Polish health minister has announced that the retail trade sector will likely be the first to be released from the binding coronavirus restrictions, which will probably be lifted after the first quarter of the year.

"If, by the end of the first quarter, we manage to vaccinate those who are most threatened by the effects of Covid-19, then we will be able to take braver steps, even with some stabilisation in the number of cases," Minister Niedzielski told the Tlit programme on the WP platform on Friday.

"(...) It is highly probable that we will be able to start lifting the binding restrictions after the end of the first quarter," Niedzielski said.

Asked what sectors of the economy are to be unfrozen first, Niedzielski answered that "it will surely be retail trade, due to both economic and pandemic reasons."

Having admitted that restaurants and fitness clubs are in a worse position, the official repeated that retail trade would be the first.

In December, the government announced that Poland would enter a 'national quarantine' from December 28 to January 17. The restrictions have since been extended to January 31.

Hotels and ski slopes as well as all shopping centres have been closed, as have been gyms, fitness clubs and aquaparks. The closedown does not include grocery stores, book and press shops, or pharmacies. Remaining open are large free-standing furniture stores. Restaurants are only allowed takeaway or home delivery sales.