Changes in the restrictions – which novelties have been introduced in the Regulation of the Council of Ministers dated 2 May 2020

On 2 May 2020 the Polish Council of Ministers issued a regulation on the introduction of certain restrictions, orders and prohibitions in connection with the occurrence of the state of epidemic („Regulation”). As part of the next stage of restoring the economy, the Regulation introduces a number of important changes, alleviating the restrictions that have been in force so far.

Please find below a summary of key issues from the perspective of employers:

Employers’ obligations

Following employers’ obligations are still in force:

    1. to provide employed persons, irrespective of the basis of employment, with disposable gloves or hand sanitizers;
    2. to ensure that the distance between workplaces amounts to at least 1.5m.
      • If it is not possible to ensure the required distance between the working positions due to the nature of the activities carried out at a given workplace – personal protection items to counteract the COVID-19 epidemic should be provided.

Re-opening of shopping malls

The Regulation has restored business activity in large-scale commercial facilities, with an area of over 2000 m2. This activity, however, has not been restored in full – some of activities’ types are still banned (e.g. activity of agents and tour operators or food courts within the scope of consummation inside the mall), whereas the activity in the so called shopping islands is admissible only if performed in compliance with several requirements.

Following rules pertaining to shopping malls have been set:

    1. At the facility, there may be no more than 1 person per 15m2 of commercial area at the same time;
    2. Customers are required to wear disposable gloves when purchasing goods or services;
      • The obligation to provide disposable gloves or hand sanitizers lies by the store operator.
    3. Cash desks and worktops shall be disinfected at least once per hour;
    4. The so called „shopping hours for seniors” between 10:00-12:00 have been cancelled.

Prohibition of specific types of activities

From 4 May 2020 it has been allowed to run hotel services with restrictions regarding the preparation and serving meals to guests.

Further, the prohibition of carrying out specific types of activities has remained in force – e.g. food services with on-site consumption, activities related to the organization, promotion or management of events, activities related to hairdressing and other beauty treatments, activities related to films or video recordings projection in cinemas etc. Activities that remain covered by the ban shall be encompassed by measures restoring the economy in subsequent stages, depending on the development of the epidemic situation in Poland.

Quarantine – new rules when crossing the Polish border

From 4 May 2020, the obligation to undergo quarantine for persons crossing the border due to performing professional, business or gainful activities in Poland or in a neighbouring country by persons performing these activities in these countries and towards pupils and students receiving their education in Poland or in a neighbouring country has been repealed. Repealing the obligation to undergo quarantine in such cases will make it possible to resume work for thousands of people working and living on different sides of the Polish border. According to the Regulation:

    1. when crossing the border these persons should document the fact of performing professional, business or gainful activities or receiving education in Poland or in a neighbouring country.
    2. repealing the obligation to undergo quarantine does not apply to persons practicing a medical profession and performing professional, business or gainful activities in social assistance units.

A person ineligible to benefit from the abovementioned exceptions and therefore obliged to undergo quarantine is required to inform her/his employer about undergoing quarantine. For the period of quarantine, this person is entitled to sick pay / sickness allowance, after submitting a written statement to the employer about having undergone quarantine, within 3 working days from the date of its termination. The employer may contact the competent sanitary inspectorate to verify the data contained in the employee’s declaration.

Prohibition of organizing gatherings / events / meetings

The Regulation maintains in force the ban on organizing gatherings, events and meetings, regardless of their type. The aforementioned is not applicable to:

    1. meetings of a given person with her/his closest relatives;
    2. meetings connected with the performance of professional activities, business tasks or with carrying out business activity.

Restrictions on travelling/getting around

The Regulation maintains in force the restrictions on manners of travelling/getting around.

    1. In case of walking – a distance of 2m from each other should be kept. The aforementioned is not applicable:
      • when this is not possible due to taking care of a child up to the age of 13;
      • when this is not possible due to taking care of a person with disability or a person who, due to her / his health condition, cannot get around on her/his own;
      • Persons living together.
    2. A child until the age of 13 may only get around when under the care of a person exercising parental authority or another adult;
    3. In case of travelling by public transport and vehicles intended for the transport of more than 9 persons including the driver – a given vehicle may transport at the same time no more passengers than half of the available seating places.

In public transport, as well as in public places (including on roads and squares, in commercial facilities, in public facilities, etc.), the obligation to cover the mouth and the nose has been maintained – this obligation may be fulfilled through:

  1. clothing or parts thereof,
  2. masks,
  3. protective visors,
  4. protective helmets.

The abovementioned obligation is not applicable in particular to children under the age of 4, persons performing professional activities in buildings / facilities (unless such a person performs direct customer service), or to persons who cannot cover their mouth and nose due to a health condition.

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