On Monday, shopping malls, large construction shops and hotels reopened. While there were fears that the return of malls coupled with stricter entry regulations that limits the number of people allowed will lead to queues and chaos, the new reality has so far been much more tame. The epidemiological fears coupled with economic uncertainty amid threats of an incoming massive wave of layoffs have dampened the consumerist drive of many Poles.
Two days later, on Wednesday, kindergartens and nurseries began to operate again, albeit only on a partial basis, with many municipalities deciding to postpone the opening until the coming week. Similar decision was taken by many local authorities with respect to museums and small-scale sporting facilities, which were due to open on Monday.
As justification, the authorities referred to the very short period of time between the announcement of the lifting of restrictions made by the government last Wednesday and the supposed starting date of reopening, mere five days later. Given the need to ensure proper sanitary regime and personal protective equipment for staff, many municipalities decided that a shift relaunching would pose a risk to the public health.
The issue of provision of reliable protective equipment is made more difficult by the fact that a large number of masks available on the Polish market, including those recently hauled to Poland by the government as part of a massive anti-Coronavirus air cargo, are non-certified, as uncovered by a Gazeta Wyborcza investigation.
Our mission is to keep you up to date with all major stories related to the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak and the day-to-day experiences of Poles during the pandemic. This week, we have reported on a worrisome trend of foreigners hit with Coronavirus-related spike in unemployment. In addition, we are covering how the expat community in Poland is coping with both the virus and the country-wide lockdown, and giving voice to your testimonials. If you are interested in sharing your story, please send as an e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for being with us. There is no freedom without solidarity.
PhD candidate in Contemporary European History, Yale University
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH POLAND?
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We need to show solidarity, or else no one will stand in protest when the authoritarian power comes after you, after me, after us. We need to stand with those who are beaten, not those who beat them.
Authoritarian states flourish not when bad people do bad things but when good people allow them.
Today we are asking fellow Poles and our friends abroad to join the movement of people of solidarity. Your position gives you the right to speak out loud when others are being hurt. We do not have an army to defend ourselves, but we have words that can help those who are being harassed. Your voice is valuable because it can open the eyes of those who still prefer to turn their heads and remain silent. Now is the time to call things by their names. Let us speak the truth about the situation of free Poles in their own country. Let us remember that there is no freedom without solidarity.
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