Moscow lifts restaurant restrictions as Russia sets death record – East Bay Times

By Vladimir Isachenkov | Associated Press

MOSCOW – Authorities in Moscow on Friday revoked their order that restaurants only admit customers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, who have recovered from the virus, or who recently had a negative test.

The easing of restrictions in the Russian capital reflects their devastating impact on restaurateurs, who have begged city officials for weeks to cancel them. The move comes even as Moscow continues to experience an upsurge in infections and Russia as a whole on Friday recorded a new daily record for coronavirus deaths.

The decision announced by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin takes effect on Monday. It withdraws the measure in place since the end of June. Customers were required to visit a Russian government website and obtain a QR code – a digital model designed to be read by a scanner – as proof of their medical condition.

The restrictions were heavily criticized by restaurateurs, who were still struggling to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic. Some desperate owners began to close their restaurants and cafes as the number of customers declined sharply. Outdoor terraces were allowed to operate without restrictions, but many restaurants and cafes did not have a place to install them on Moscow’s narrow sidewalks.

Sobyanin said the city reversed its decision as the pace of the contagion slowed. From Monday, restaurants and clubs in Moscow will be able to open at night and organize parties and concerts.

He noted, however, that “we must understand that we are still in the risk zone, the contagion continues and we must comply with health requirements and carry out mass vaccination”.

Some Russian media have speculated that the decision to abruptly lift restrictions in Moscow reflected authorities’ concerns that the harsh measures could fuel discontent and further erode support for the main Kremlin party, United Russia, in parliamentary elections. September.

Sobyanin’s statement came as Russia recorded a fourth consecutive day of record daily deaths from COVID-19, with authorities reporting 799 deaths, including 105 in Moscow. New daily infections in Russia have risen from around 9,000 in early June to over 25,000 now, and the number of daily deaths has exceeded 700 since last week.

Authorities reported 25,704 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, including 5,382 in Moscow.

Officials blamed the increase on Russians’ lax attitude to taking precautions, the increasing prevalence of the more contagious delta variant, and widespread reluctance to vaccinate. The vaccination rate has remained lower than that of many Western countries. Only 28.6 million Russians, or just 19.5% of the country’s 146 million people, have received at least one injection of the vaccine.

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