Restrictions during winter holidays painful but necessary: ruling party MP

The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) and the various opposition parties disagree on the validity of the latest restrictions having the effect of keeping hotels closed until December 27 and combining winter school holidays into a single time slot of January 4 to 17, 2021.

On Saturday, PM Mateusz Morawiecki announced at a press conference that hotels would remain closed until December 27. It was also decided that the holidays will be combined in one period, from January 4 to 17. Pupils, however, will be obliged to stay home for that period.

Marcin Horała, a PiS MP, told TVN24 broadcaster that the restrictions and the ban on winter holidays were very painful, but indispensable for quelling the epidemic.

“There are support mechanisms prepared for all entrepreneurs. Over PLN 150 billion [EUR 33.57 bn] has already been allocated this year by the government to support the economy. We will be preparing new stimulus packages for the other branches, but, alas, we must come through this period [of winter holidays],” Mr Horała said.

The leader of the Polish People’s Party (PSL) Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz was critical about the measures, feeling that people would go on winter holidays, regardless of the restrictions and to make matters worse during the same short period. “This is an extremely irresponsible, life and health-threatening decision,” he said, adding that there would be an accumulation of trips at one time because people would be staying at private accommodation and pretending they were on business trips.

Moreover, the PSL leader felt that the government’s decision meant “desolation to the Podhale, Karkonosze, Bieszczady regions, all of the hotels and the entire [hotelling] branch”. “The number of economic victims of the pandemic will grow as a result of the PM’s decision and SMEs will suffer the most as they produce 70 percent of Poland’s GDP,” he said.

For his part, the head of the Civic Coalition (KO) caucus Cezary Tomczyk said that “we are seeing a glaring lack of logic and a dearth of information” with regards to the government’s decision. In his opinion, “often entire businesses learn from the PM’s conferences that they will be closed the following day.”

When Mr Tomczyk was reminded that the government has recently presented a long-term plan of responses to the infection dynamics, he replied that “usually nothing results from the government’s announcements.” The KO head agreed with Mr Kosiniak-Kamysz in that Poles would seek to bypass the winter holidays restrictions. He also felt that the said restrictions “put the entire south of Poland under threat of bankruptcy”.

Marcelina Zawisza of the Left party said that “winter holidays in this one single period is an absurd idea. We will end up having people going on holidays and staying not just at hotels but also at their families, friends and relatives… What the government is doing is once again pretending that they are not seeing the elephant in the room which they will have to deal with some time soon.”

Former presidential hopeful and MP of the Confederation Krzysztof Bosak felt that “concentrating winter holidays in a single period does not strike as a reasonable idea. This will finish off the tourist business. It is well-known that winter holidays stretched in time would allow more people living off tourism to survive and help spread those who want to use this time to go on holidays.”