Zero tolerance for flouting COVID-19 restrictions - health minister

Niedzielski (R) said that the Polish Police and the Health Ministry had worked out joint strategies on executing the restrictions. Rafał Guz/PAP

Polish Health Minister Adam Niedzielski announced at a press conference on Tuesday a "zero tolerance policy" for non-compliance with the restrictions imposed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Health Ministry hosted a press conference with the health minister and the commander in chief of the Polish Police, Jarosław Szymczyk, during which Niedzielski emphasized that "in the times of escalation of the pandemic, there is no place for selfishness. (...) Compliance with restrictions is not only our duty to ourselves, but also our responsibility to others."

Niedzielski said that the Polish Police and the Health Ministry had worked out joint strategies on executing the restrictions. Among the developed solutions, he mentioned that without a mask, where it is necessary, "only someone with an appropriate medical certificate or a document confirming their inability to wear the mask, confirming disability, will be allowed."

"Any person without a mask, who does not have a document, will be severely punished," the minister said, adding that it shows how serious the situation is.

Niedzielski added that the second area in which they want to improve the regulations is gatherings. He said it had been decided to introduce a requirement of a distance of at least 100 meters between individual gatherings explaining that to date different gatherings had been held in the same place.

The ministry is also planning to introduce a ban on making venues available for events.

Regarding the obligation of covering the mouth and nose, the police chief noted that in each case of violation of the regulations, the police officer will decide whether to limit the penalty to a caution, impose a fine, request punishment or request the sanitary inspectorate to implement administrative proceedings.