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The national quarantine begins on December 28 and is supposed to end on January 17 (the same day students return to school after their winter break). However, according to the Minister of Health, Adam Niedzielski, the latter date is still likely to change.

Avoiding the third wave

Yesterday, during a press conference, the Minister of Health painted a rather bleak picture of what’s to come. – The weeks ahead will be even more difficult; we cannot put all our trust in the vaccine and hope it will be the single best thing to protect us in the nearest future. Even if we manage to vaccinate everyone before the end of the year, we still won’t see a herd immunity effect in January or February- Mr. Niedzielski said, adding that “the specter of a third wave, which poses a risk of overwhelming our national health care system, is looming over us”. – Should it happen, the health care system won’t be able to function efficiently. I urge every Polish citizen to act responsibly and respect the norms and regulations. At the same time, I realize that such pleas are simply not enough.

The Minister then mentioned the examples of Germany and the Netherlands who recently imposed a full lockdown. He also brought up Slovakia’s internal travel ban and the curfew in France.

A national quarantine means that both hotels and ski resorts will have to stay closed. Only hotels housing medical staff and workers can remain open. The decision is supposed to stifle illegal short-term rentals violating the quarantine. According to experts, leaving ski resorts open would only create demand for hotel rooms. –We need to ban business travelers from staying in hotels as well. This one exception has been often used as an excuse to break pandemic rules- the Minister concluded.

Police patrols on New Year’s Eve

With a few exceptions, shopping malls will be closed, too. Only grocery stores, drug stores, book and newspaper stores, and pharmacies can stay open. Nurseries and kindergartens remain open as well (while the Minister initially claimed that they would also be closed, his press office later corrected this information). The rules regarding swimming pools, gyms, and fitness clubs remain unchanged: only professional athletes are allowed to use the facilities. There will be a curfew on New Year's Eve from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am. Violations (for reasons other than walking a dog, getting medication, or business purposes) will be penalized. This also means increased police patrols on the streets. 

Other than on New Year’s Eve, minors under the age of 16 won’t be permitted to leave the house between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm if they’re unaccompanied by an adult.

The government also imposed a special border-crossing regime. When entering Poland via means of mass transportation, visitors will have to isolate for 10 days. This applies to passengers on chartered flights as well.

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