The rest of the country will join Moscow to take so-called ‘non-working days’ from Saturday to November 7. The restrictions took effect when Russia reported 40,096 cases and 1,159 deaths on Thursday, the highest daily figures yet.
Restaurants, cafes, entertainment venues, clothing stores, gyms, libraries and many other establishments in Moscow closed their doors on Thursday. Cafes and restaurants will only be available for take-out and home delivery, with the exception of hotel restaurants, where only guests and employees can dine.
Government entities and state services will also enjoy “extended paid leave” for the duration of non-business days, although they will continue to provide services online.
Medical assistance in Moscow will be provided as usual, but with a number of restrictions. In particular, dentists will only be able to provide emergency and urgent care. Schools and kindergartens will also go on vacation, while universities will have to operate remotely.
Mass culture, entertainment and sports events will not take place unless the city authorities grant an exception.
However, Muscovites can still access stores that sell essential food and products, pharmacies, parks, theaters and museums with proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid-19.
Despite the restrictions, the streets of the capital seemed as lively as usual on Thursday. Transport in Moscow will continue to operate normally.
On October 20, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a proposal to declare non-working days from October 30 to November 7 across the country and strongly encouraged each region to introduce the measures earlier if necessary.
On Tuesday, Moscow Deputy Mayor Anastasia Rakova urged people to use non-working days to get vaccinated. Russia’s efforts to reduce transmission have been seriously hampered by a lackluster vaccination program. Only about 30% of the population is fully vaccinated, in a country where four household vaccines are available.
“We urge Muscovites to make the most of this time, to spend the day with their families, go to the country house or get vaccinated in one of the city centers. Vaccination centers and rapid tests for Covid- 19 will continue to work in Moscow. You can get vaccinated without an appointment in popular public places or by appointment at the clinic, “Rakova said.
Other restrictions have been in place in Moscow since Monday. All residents over the age of 60 who have not been vaccinated and have not been sick in the past six months, as well as people with certain chronic illnesses, have been ordered to stay home until the end of February. Employers in the capital were also ordered to tell at least 30% of their employees to work from home starting Monday.