COVID-19: New winter holiday restrictions in Poland

Hotels and restaurants will probably have to remain closed during the winter holiday scheduled for January 4-17, the spokesperson of the Polish health ministry said on Tuesday. There will also be restrictions on ski slopes and flights abroad.

Restaurants at the moment can only offer takeaway and delivery services under restrictions while hotels are closed and are permitted to allow business guests only. The closures, set to last till December 27, are likely to be extended. "During the winter holiday, restaurants and hotels will remain closed," the spokesman of the Polish health ministry Wojciech Andrusiewicz said.

Commenting on a tweet by Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Development, Labour and Technology Jaroslaw Gowin that ski slopes would be open this winter, Andrusiewicz said they would only be open for local residents rather than for winter holidaymakers. "We're spending the winter holidays at home this year," he said.

Meanwhile, thanks to an agreement between the ski industry and the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology this year’s first ski lift started in Bukowina Tatrzańska on Tuesday. The condition for the operation of a ski resort or a ski station is that there must be a maximum of one person per 100 square metres available - according to the guidelines of the Ministry of Development, Labour and Technology (MRPiT) and Main Sanitary Inspectorate (GIS) on ski and tourist slopes.

Schools will also keep their doors shut until the Christmas break, which lasts until January 3. The break will be immediately followed by two-week winter holidays for all regions of Poland, which will in effect keep students away from schools until January 17.

The Polish government has also extended a ban on international flights to nine countries until December 8, 2020, owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The list of banned flight destinations includes: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Georgia, Jordan, Armenia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and the United States, excluding the states of Illinois and New York. The decree comes into force on November 24.