Last Updated @ 22:50 (CET) on 28/05/2020
Is the Coronavirus in Kraków?Yes, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in Kraków. 1190 confirmed cases have been reported in the city and the surrounding voivodeship of Małopolska (ENG: Lesser Poland).
There are currently 22,825 confirmed cases in the whole of Poland. Of this number, 1,038 people have died.
The city of Katowice and the voivodeship of Śląsk (ENG: Silesia) has the highest number of cases - a total of 7,728. The voivodeship of Masowia (ENG: Masovia), where the capital Warsaw is located, has the 2nd-highest number of confirmed cases - a total of 3,461.
Obviously, given the rapid exponential spread of the virus, the exact number of cases is difficult to calculate and constantly being updated. Check this live updated global map by John Hopkins University or follow the Polish Ministry of Health on Twitter @MZ_GOV_PL.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in WARSAW.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in GDAŃSK.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in WROCŁAW.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in POZNAŃ.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in KATOWICE.
Read the latest on the Coronavirus in ŁÓDŹ.
A quick word from us before you read on...Before we go into the latest news about Coronavirus in Kraków... we need your help!
As a result of the current travel restrictions and the general shutdown of Polish society to combat the spread of COVID-19, for the first time in 21 years our company has paused the monthly publication of our popular series of Polish travel guides. In the face of these challenges, we humbly ask for your support via direct donation.
As a travel company that relies on the steady financial support of our local partners in the tourism, gastronomy, nightlife, hospitality, culture and events sectors, Poland In Your Pocket is essentially a microcosm of the industries suffering most right now. We therefore encourage you to think about how you can help more broadly. Read our articles on Charitable Gastro Initiatives Worth Supporting and How to Help Local Industries & Causes During the Coronavirus Crisis.
Pandemic Lockdown Restrictions in PolandSince March 20, Poland is officially in an EPIDEMIC STATE. For a week prior to this, the country was in a 'State of Epidemic Threat'. In order to contain the spread of Coronavirus, many public institutions and businesses have been closed (see below), with many others under restricted operations and open hours (see below). Individual movements have been restricted, with people expected to remain in their homes unless they have a reason to be out (see below). The penalty for breaking rules without a valid reason is 30,000zł.
As of Saturday 30 May, it will no longer be required to cover your nose/mouth (with a mask or other) outdoors and indoors, unless the minimum 2m social distancing measure cannot be ensured. It will still be mandatory to wear a mask when using public transport or entering shops. It was required to cover nose/mouth as of 16 April when outside.
All public gatherings, events, and reunions are banned, and places of public recreation, such as parks will be closed.
No gatherings of more than two people are allowed in public, except for family groups (for example: two parents and two children walking together would be allowed), but as of Saturday 30 May, it is possible to gather outdoors in groups again, but with a limit of 150 people. Participants must observe the 2m distancing rule or wear face masks.
THE RESTRICTIONS DO NOT APPLY TO:
|Travel to work. If you are an employee, run your own business or farm, you have the right to get to your job. You also have the right to buy goods and services related to your professional activity.||Volunteering. If you work to fight the coronavirus and help those in need quarantined or who should not leave your home, you can move around as part of this activity.||Dealing with matters necessary for everyday life. You will be able to move around to do the necessary shopping, buy medicines, see a doctor, look after relatives and walk the dog.|
|• Public transport continues to operate. However, only half of the seats can be occupied on a bus, tram or train. Eg. If there are 70 seats in the vehicle, it can have a maximum of 35 people onboard.
• Restrictions on movement also do not apply to people who want to participate in religious events. Here, however, we have introduced another important principle: More than 5 people will not be able to participate in the mass or other religious rite at the same time - excluding those who exercise the ministry. The government recommends participating in religious services online or via radio or TV.
• Restrictions on the number of people do not apply to workplaces. However, they should apply particularly strict recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspector in the field of maintaining the distance of employees, disinfectants etc.
INDIVIDUALS IN QUARANTINE
If you have been placed in quarantine, due to suspicion of being infected with Coronavirus, authorities have introduced a new quarantine mobile app, which allows quick contact between the Police and the person in quarantine. The penalty for breaking 'quarantine' is 30,000zł.
CLOSURE OF SCHOOLS
On March 11, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, announced the closure of all schools in Poland, beginning on Friday the 13th (Jason masks do not protect you from the spread of Coronavirus) until at least March 25.
Schools will not reopen until the Easter holidays. In the meantime, classes will be taught online. However, the dates of national exams have not been postponed. All of the following restrictions will be in effect until April 19th, with the extreme likelihood of an extension.
The dates for the 8th-grade exams and the Matura exam are being postponed (TBD) likely until June.
On March 11, the Polish Prime Minister announced the closure of all cultural venues and institutions, including museums, theatres and cinemas, across all of Poland. With this announcement, Kraków's tourism industry, services and attractions have essentially been shut down for the foreseeable future.
Are Museums & Tourist Attractions in Kraków still open?
Kraków's museums, cultural institutions and even landmarks can be visited online, however. Read our feature on VIRTUAL TOURS & ONLINE SIGHTSEEING IN KRAKÓW.
Fitness clubs, pools, nail/beauty saslons, cinemas, cultural venues such as theatres and operas, and amusement parks are set to re-open on Saturday 06 June, albeit, seating arrangements will ensure half full venues to maintain 2m social distancing. Face masks or nose/mouth coverings may be necessary.
Are scheduled events in Kraków still happening?On March 10, the Polish Prime Minister announced the cancellation of all outdoor events of over 1000 people, and all indoor events of 500+ people, across all of Poland. Three days later on March 13, all gatherings of 50+ people were banned, and all restaurants and bars were ordered to close indefinitely beginning March 15. That's how fast things were moving.
List of cancelled events in Kraków and other Polish cities.
Are Bars & Restaurants in Poland open? Shops?
Bars, casinos and other places of entertainment have been closed since March 15. Restaurants and cafés were also closed, however they were allowed to provide takeaway and food delivery services.
Read our list of the Best Restaurants in Kraków offering Delivery & Takeaway during Coronavirus. Many restaurants and local businesses are also playing their part to combat COVID-19 by participating in charitable causes and initiatives; learn about Four Polish Gastro Initiatives Worth Supporting here.
Shopping Malls were also closed on March 15th, with the exception of any supermarkets and pharmacies inside them, which are now operating with limited hours. As part of phase II of easing restrictions, shops were allowed to re-open on Monday 04 May.
Click here for a list of Online Grocery Shops around Poland.
Due to shops introducing a restriction in customers entering their premises, long queues can be seen dragging out onto streets all over Poland. For older generations, this surely brings back memories of Communist Era Poland!
Read our feature on Queueing in Poland.
Is there a Travel Ban to and from Poland?
On March 13, the Polish Prime Minister declared a 'State of Epidemic Threat' and since midnight on March 14/15, Polish borders have been closed to people entering Poland, with some exceptions (see below). This closure was for a period of 10 days with the possibility of a 20-day extension, however, this has repeatedly been extended. During the Prime Minister's press conference on 13 May, it was announced that the borders will remain closed until 12 June.
On March 13, International flights and trains were suspended. On March 15, domestic flights were also suspended.
On March 17, the European Union shut down all Schengen Area Borders, as an extreme measure to prevent the Coronavirus from further spreading in the borderless area. The European countries have discussed today the idea of introducing a ban on entry to the 26-state Schengen passport-free travel zone, which would cover all non-essential visits from third countries, with some exemptions including for citizens of the Schengen area.
Polish Border Control has officially listed the following exceptions for people entering Poland:
1) Citizens of the Republic of Poland.
2) Foreigners who are spouses or children of the citizens of the Republic of Poland or remain under their constant care.
3) Foreigners holding a Pole's Card (Karta Polaka).
4) Heads of diplomatic missions and members of the mission's diplomatic and consular staff, i.e. persons with a diplomatic rank and members of their families.
5) Foreigners who have the right of permanent or temporary residence in the territory of the Republic of Poland.
6) Foreigners who have the right to work in the territory of the Republic of Poland, i.e. foreigners entitled to work under the same conditions as Polish citizens, holding a work permit, seasonal work permit, a declaration of entrusting work to a foreigner on the territory of the Republic of Poland.
7) In particularly justified cases, not included above, the commander of the Border Guard post, after obtaining the consent of the Commander-in-Chief of the Border Guard, may allow a foreigner to enter the territory of the Republic of Poland in accordance with the procedure specified in the Act of 12 December 2013 on foreigners (Journal of Laws from 2020 item 35).
8) Foreigners who run a means of transport used to transport goods.
Each person crossing the Polish border will be subject to sanitary control and medical services will measure the individual's temperature. Each person crossing the border is obliged to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine, with the following exceptions:
• People living in Poland who work in a neighbouring country and regularly cross the border.
• Foreigners living in a neighbouring country who work in Poland and cross the border regularly.
• Drivers engaged in the professional transport of goods and passengers.
On March 19th it was reported that queues stretching as long as 60km have formed at Poland’s borders with Germany and Czech Republic. Due to cancelled flights, Polish residents are attempting to return home via car. It is reportedly taking entire day to get through the queue.
What else are Polish Authorities doing to control the spread of Coronavirus?
Before the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Poland, authorities were not doing much aside from propagating the idea that Poland would not be as affected by the virus as other countries. When the outbreak began in China, a subtly patriotic narrative began to circulate regarding the bubonic plague, or 'Black Death,' and how it somehow affected Poland on a much smaller scale than the rest of Europe in the 14th century. [We did our own research. Read our article Did Poland really escape the Black Death?]
Would history now repeat itself 700 years later?
Sadly, no. Since the first case in Poland was officially announced on March 4 (it is speculated that the virus was in PL much earlier), the virus has spread rapidly, but authorities have been acting quickly to counteract it, taking what extremem measures that once seemed unimaginable.
On March 11, the Polish Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, announced the closure of all schools in Poland, beginning on Friday the 13th (Jason masks do not protect you from the spread of Coronavirus). It has since been announced that schools will not reopen until after the Easter holidays at the earliest; in the meantime schools (even preschools!) have moved their classes online. Jagiellonian University in Kraków suspended activities on March 11.
Kraków's trams and buses are still running and being disinfected every night, according to MPK, Kraków's public transit authority. Beginning March 25, only half of the available seats on public transport are allowed to be occupied and riders are instructed not to sit next to each other.
At this point, the pace of information is moving so fast that your best bet is to follow the live information feeds from the City of Kraków online and the Polish Ministry of Health @MZ_GOV_PL on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #koronawiruswpolsce on social media for more updates.
We are diligently keeping this article updated as the situation with the Coronavirus in Kraków evolves. For more updates and interesting content, sign up for the Poland In Your Pocket NEWSLETTER - an easy way for you to support us during this trying time. Thanks!
What should I do if I'm in Kraków & I suspect I might have Coronavirus?
If you are in Poland and suspect that you may have been infected with Coronavirus, please call Centrum Wielokulturowe on 800-190-590 and press '6' to be assisted in English.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms include:
• runny nose
• sore throat
• difficulty breathing (severe cases)
To prevent infection, the Polish Ministry of Health advises everyone to:
• Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
• Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
• Keep at least one-metre distance between yourself and others who are coughing and sneezing.