Moscow shuts down all non-essential shops & restaurants to stop spread of Covid-19
All restaurants, cafes, and shops, except food stores, will be closed in the Russian capital from March 28 to April 5. The city’s mayor also advised Muscovites to refrain from visiting places of worship amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The venues will still be able to provide a take-away food and delivery service. Restrictions also apply to barber shops, spas, massage parlors, as well as baths and saunas.
Access to parks, including Gorky Park and the All-Russian Exhibition Center, will be barred during the upcoming week due to the epidemic.
“I understand the feelings of religious Muscovites, but I still strongly recommend [refraining] from visiting religious sites during those days,” Sobyanin said.
The mayor acknowledged that the restrictions will be inconvenient, but said they are “absolutely essential to slow down the spread of the coronavirus infection and decrease the number of those sick.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin announced that workers will have a paid holiday next week to stem the spread of Covid-19. All international flights have also been banned, except those bringing citizens back to Russia.
Russia had already banned public gatherings of more than 50 people, closed cinemas, fitness clubs, and other establishments. In Moscow, elderly people, for whom the infection is the most dangerous, were urged to remain in their homes.
Holiday week, financial support for Covid-19 victims & taxes for rich: Putin lays out emergency virus plan
Russians will get a week of paid leave, with a boost to benefits for those most in need, while the wealthiest will have to pay more taxes. All among the measures announced by Vladimir Putin to deal with the effects of coronavirus.
Speaking during a televised address on Wednesday, the Russian President outlined a number of policies designed to support the Russian people and the national economy amid the increasingly serious threat posed by the pandemic.. He said there was no feasible way to keep the virus out, but that an efficient, coordinated effort to preempt and mitigate the damage will help protect people from the worst outcomes.
One of the immediate decisions taken by the government was to declare next week a long national holiday in Russia. Salaries for the days off will still be paid, Putin said. This is expected to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The president warned against underestimating the threat posed by the virus and said everyone should act responsibly.
Please, don’t think like people often do: ‘This cannot touch me.’ It may touch anyone.
Constitution vote postponed
Russia will also postpone the national vote on constitutional amendments, which was planned for April 22. The amendments package was tabled by Russia’s president back in January and given the green light by legislators earlier this month.
The proposed changes include the transfer of some presidential powers to Russia’s legislature, as well as the creation of a new governing body – the State Council. The package also ‘resets’ the term count for the sitting president and, if adopted, will allow Putin to run for office again, if he so desires.
Benefits & frozen credits
A big chunk of the measures announced by Putin deal with various benefits. The usual means tests for eligibility will be suspended for six months, while some of the payments – like paid sick leave and unemployment payments – will be given a boost.
Russians who suffer a sharp drop income for whatever reason will be able to ask for a suspension of payments on any credits they owe. Similar support will be given to small businesses, which will also get tax breaks and protection from bankruptcy to help keep them afloat during the economic slowdown.