Authorities in the Russian capital on Friday canceled their order for restaurants to only admit customers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered from the coronavirus or can produce a negative test.
The softening of restrictions reflects their devastating impact on restaurant owners, who pleaded with city officials to rescind them. The decision comes even as the capital is continuing to see a surge in infections and Russia registered a new daily record of coronavirus deaths Friday.
The move announced by Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin takes effect Monday. It retracts the measure that has been in place since late June, obliging restaurants and cafes to check if customers have been vaccinated, have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or tested negative for the coronavirus in the previous 72 hours.
Customers have been required to visit a government website and get a QR code — a digital pattern designed to be read by a scanner — as proof of their health status.
The restrictions have dealt a devastating blow to restaurant owners, who were still struggling to recover from the damage caused by the pandemic, forcing many to close. In one exemption, outdoor terraces were allowed to continue to operate without restrictions, but many restaurants and cafes just don’t have room to set them up on the city center’s narrow pavements.