On January 8, a new “quarantine” governmental regulation came into force, and new anti-epidemic restrictions were introduced in Ukraine. UA-Times journalists found out whether everyone adheres to quarantine restrictions and what is the attitude of Ukrainians to them on the first day of the new quarantine.
Kindergartens will work
Regulation of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine № 1236 (hereinafter – the Regulation), that establishes new quarantine restrictions in Ukraine, was adopted on December 9 last year. However, in order to emphasize the importance of the decisions taken once again, but rather to clarify all the restrictions that are being introduced, the President gathered all the ministers at a conference call on the eve of the lockdown.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi noted at the meeting that the current quarantine would be less strict than the spring lockdown. And Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal reassured citizens that public transport, strategic enterprises and kindergartens would continue to operate as usual. However, it is prohibited to receive visitors for economic entities engaged in trade and consumer services, except for trade exclusively in goods related to food, medicines, medical devices, hygiene products, household chemicals, communications, printed mass media, veterinary drugs, fodder, seeds, plant protection products. It is possible on trade areas, not less than 60 percent of which are intended for trade in such goods. Trade activity with other groups of goods is possible only through address delivery of orders.
The government also reported on the implementation of the information campaign, in particular, the new restrictions concerning the dissemination of information through the media, newsletters and posters. However, as it turned out, this was not enough… Therefore, only two out of 10 people we interviewed were able to list the new quarantine restrictions clearly, although they were incomplete. In particular, the citizens of our country still do not know that supermarkets will sell only food and personal hygiene products during the quarantine period, instead – hairdressing saloons will be able to work, but according to previous customer records.
The Ministry of Health of Ukraine issued another explanation of the Regulation in the afternoon of January 8, due to the total misunderstanding of the situation on the part of the citizens and the general “confusion” with what can be sold, who is allowed to work and who is not.
Instead, social networks were flooded with photos, in which access to some shelves was blocked with restrictive tape. That`s why people began hysterically looking for where else to buy socks… or even panties…, which in some stores were hung with ads for a ban on the sale, and in others access to these goods remained free.
Only the essentials can be bought
The main discomfort that Ukrainians felt with the introduction of the new “quarantine” regulation concerned the so-called “Categories of non-food products”. According to the Regulation, the free sale of them was significantly limited. In addition to food, only personal hygiene products may be sold on the shelves of shops and supermarkets today. Other goods may be on the shelves, but their sale is limited during the quarantine period.
According to the Government, such restrictions will help reduce the number of visits to stores and the total time spent in them. This will reduce contact with possible coronavirus carriers there.
Besides the purchase of non-food items, Ukrainians are restricted from visiting cultural institutions (cinema, theater, etc.), catering establishments, sports events, entertainment centers, gyms and educational institutions until January 24, inclusive. But will they comply with these restrictions?
“I have a negative attitude to the new quarantine restrictions. They are absurd. Hundreds of photos confirm this”, – a metropolitan young businessman Viktor Kovalenko said. He is convinced that the restrictions imposed by the government will have a negative impact not only on certain industries of the economy, but also on the economy as a whole. Although they have not touched his content studio KVikStudio, the restrictions can hurt customers’ business, which is a “minus” for any company. Victor describes the solution of the problem quite simply, but at the same time pragmatically: “The government has to stop creating nightmares for business, and better focus on the development of medical infrastructure”.
This lockdown will hit restaurants more painfully. “Our cafe is closed for visitors, but we work on take away and delivery within our area. We had to cut down on our menu and send part of the staff, including all the waiters, on unpaid leave. Now I can’t say for sure whether we will be able to return our entire professional team”, – one of the capital catering establishment representative Anastasia said.
The service station owner Valentyn was ready to close his service for a new lockdown, but then learned from colleagues how to get spare parts quickly: “During urgent repairs, online stores are not good solution. Therefore, it made no sense to work. However, it turned out that my colleagues and I had enough business cards from car market dealers. The sellers are ready to bring the things we need to the fence of the market, or send spare parts by taxi. That is why we keep working”.
Having decided to take a short walk around post-Christmas Kyiv on the first day of quarantine, we managed to communicate with Kyivites, but failed to see at least a hint of any quarantine restrictions.
“We have already experienced one quarantine in the spring … It will still not go anywhere from us, so we have to wait. If all of us survive it, then it’s already good – but everyone will get sick, no matter how hides”, – Mrs. Valentyna said. She came with her husband to look at the Christmas town near the Friendship of Nations Arch. According to her opinion, quarantine measures are necessary, but are unlikely to help today.
The woman’s words are understandable. Ukrainians have finally despaired of the ability of officials to influence the situation in any way in the last 10 months of the pandemic. Unjustifiably strict restrictions at the beginning of the pandemic, when the total number of patients did not reach hundreds of people per million population. And the same inconsistent reductions, when the number of patients was already increasing by thousands every day. All this undermined the faith of citizens in the correctness of the restrictions, as a result – their complete disregard.
Hundreds, thousands of people were walking to the main New Year’s locations of the capital without masks or other individual protective equipment today. Playgrounds, coffee shops, children’s animators – all it worked… Moreover, you may forget about the social distance here…
“Of course it’s scary, but where do we go from that. I am tired of being afraid [smiles]. There will be a vaccine soon. Then everything will be over – we will live as before… And for now – well, we have to be patient”, – Ms. Nina is convinced. She is sympathetic to the new quarantine restrictions, but she did not know that they would take effect today, because “the holidays are not over yet”.
The same opinion had probably the countless crowd of people who were moving all day in a continuous stream on the glass bridge from the Friendship of Nations Arch to Volodymyr The Great Monument and in the opposite direction.
Of course, the traditional food stalls of the Christmas and New Year town have been prudently closed here. However, we had to walk some 200 m, as trade is in full swing!
On the positive side, it should be noted that trade has completely stopped on the country’s main street – Khreshchatyk. None of the shops or catering establishments, including various kiosks with coffee or kebabs, worked. Food stalls near the main Christmas tree on Sofiivska Square were closed.
However, all these “achievements” are crossed by Kyivans, caused by the complete disregard of the mask regime. In addition, if it is worth talking about – social distance…
Translation: Yuliia Sachuk