Last Updated @ 13:56 (CET) on 18/09/2020
Here you will find updates on:
- lockdown restrictions
- movement restrictions
- museums and tourist attractions
- events and entertainment
- bars & restaurants
- travel ban to and from Poland
- how to help the local community
- what to do if you suspect you have been infected
- what are the Polish authorities doing
- and also how to support us via a donation
Is Coronavirus in Warsaw?
Yes, a total of 10,851 people have been reported as having Coronavirus in Warsaw and its voivodeship of Masovia, making it the 2nd-most-infected region of Poland. The first case was reported on March 8, 2020. The city/voivodship with the highest number of cases is Katowice/Silesia (read more)
There have been a total of 77,328 people infected in Poland since March 4. There are currently 11,746 active cases. 2,253 people have died from Coronavirus in Poland.
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 more on the latest on Coronavirus in KRAKÓW.
Read more on the latest on Coronavirus in ŁÓDŹ.
Read more on the latest on Coronavirus in GDAŃSK, SOPOT & GDYNIA.
Read more on the latest on Coronavirus in KATOWICE.
Read more on the latest on Coronavirus in WROCŁAW.
Read more on the latest on Coronavirus in POZNAŃ.
New Restrictions Introduced in early August
On August 8th, the Ministry of Health enforced new restrictions in specific areas with greater numbers of positive cases. This information is updated daily and based on a colour scheme. In counties designated as RED or YELLOW, individuals will be required to wear masks outside the home at all times, and gatherings will be restricted to no more than 50 people. Some public attractions like cinemas and amusement parks have been forced to close under the new guidelines.
Of 400 counties in Poland, the restrictions are currently only YELLOW for the following:
Limanowski (małopolskie), Tatrzański (małopolskie), Gostyński (wielkopolskie)
A quick word from us before you read on...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 How to Help Local Industries & Causes During Coronavirus Crisis, and Charitable Gastro Initiatives Worth Supporting.
Is the spread of COVID-19 in Warsaw currently Increasing or Decreasing?When stay-at-home lockdown restrictions were imposed on Polish society in mid-March, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Poland increased gradually before plateauing at about 300 new cases per day at the end of March. Throughout April and May the rate of the virus' spread was stable at about this rate. Since the easing of restrictions in late May and early June, allowing people to gather and businesses to reopen, Poland would appear to be experiencing the start of a ‘second wave’ as the number of new cases remains on the increase at about 590 new cases per day.
Lockdown restrictions in Poland have now been lifted.
From March 20, Poland was officially in an EPIDEMIC STATE. In order to contain the spread of Coronavirus, many public institutions and businesses - including schools, universities, restaurants, bars, shops, hotels, museums, cultural attractions - were closed, with many others under restricted operations and open hours. The individual movements of private citizens were restricted, with people expected to remain in their homes unless they have a valid reason to be out.On May 30th, restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen under new guidelines for keeping the public ‘safe.’
Since May 30th it has not been required to wear a mask in public or when outdoors, except on public transport and when entering shops.
It is now possible to gather outdoors in groups again, but with a limit of 150 people, all of whom are expected to observe the 2m social distancing rule.
On June 6th, fitness clubs, pools, nail/beauty salons, cinemas, theatres, operas, and amusement parks were permitted to reopen, albeit with seating arrangements that will maintain 2m social distancing.
Schools returned to school, as always, on 01 September under the strict new sanitary regime.
Is Warsaw open for Travel? Are there tourists in Warsaw again?Poland's borders with the country's EU neighbours reopened to foreign travellers on June 12. Those entering the country from within the EU will NO longer have to go through a 2-week quarantine period. If you arrive in Poland from a non-EU country, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days, unless you are transiting to your place of residence.
The Schengen Zone is now open to outside travellers however, restrictions remain at the Polish borders with Ukraine, Belarus and the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. As of 01 July EU borders reopened to citizens from 15 non-EU countries, which are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. The list does not include The U.S., Brazil and Russia.
International flights within the EU were permitted to resume on June 16th, however, flights to/from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Portugal were initially banned until 30 June but have now been permitted as of 01 July. National carrier LOT Polish Airlines has resumed domestic and international flights (where possible) and Ryanair has resumed international connections to/from Poland.
High speed Pendolino trains have resumed service within Poland. International PKP Intercity trains with connections within the EU (to Prague, Berlin and Vienna for example) resumed on June 22.
Hotels in Poland have been allowed to reopen; all cultural institutions, attractions, restaurants, cafes, and bars are slowly reopening, and city authorities are eager to welcome tourists back to Warsaw!
How Are Locals in Warsaw Behaving Now?
How did they Behave During the Pandemic Lockdown?
In early March, when it became clear that Coronavirus was inside Poland and spreading quickly, the government acted relatively swiftly, and in line with the rest of Europe, to close borders, schools, cultural institutions, restaurants, etc, and impose restrictions on individuals gathering in groups. Poles took the stay-at-home orders to heart and treated them seriously for the rest of March, April and most of May.
Since restrictions were lifted in late-May, businesses have been reopening and the weather has warmed, Varsovians are back on the streets, gathering with friends and family in the cafes and gardens, parks and boulevards. Although it is no longer required to cover your nose and mouth with a mask (except on public transport and in shops), many citizens are still doing so, as well as practising social distancing. There is a visible differentiation, however, between the seriousness (or lack thereof) with which the pandemic is still being taken by Warsaw's teenagers and students, versus essentially the rest of the population.
Museums & Tourist Attractions in Warsaw are NOW OPENClosed by the government on March 11th, museums and galleries were allowed to reopen in mid-May, and most cultural institutions in Warsaw have now reopened. Certain restrictions are in place regarding the flow and volume of people allowed, in order to ensure public safety. Hand sanitiser is provided outside almost all public places, and it is required that visitors use it before entering. Visit our Museums page for updated information about individual museums in Warsaw.
On June 6th, the last wave of closed businesses were allowed to reopen. This included cinemas, theatres, operas and amusement parks. In cinemas and theatres special seating restrictions will ensure social distancing and facial coverings should be worn.
During the lockdown many cultural institutions were prompted to improve their online programmes and offerings. If you're unable to, or uncomfortable visiting Warsaw in person. Read our feature on VIRTUAL TOURS & ONLINE SIGHTSEEING IN WARSAW.
In early March authorities banned all public gatherings and ordered people to stay in their homes. At this time many annual festivals, concerts, conferences and other cultural events were postponed or cancelled; others were able to successfully move online. Now restrictions have been lightened and some smaller scale events are moving forward. For the latest updated info about specific events in Warsaw, visit our Events section.
Small-Scale Events have resumed in Poland
Restaurants, Bars & Cafes in Warsaw are NOW OPEN
Closed on March 15th, restaurants, cafes and bars in Warsaw have been permitted to reopen, but under certain restrictions on the number of people allowed inside at one time, as well as the proximity of tables in order to maintain safe social distancing practices.
Businesses need to ensure:
- all staff wear gloves and masks.
- ensure a safe distance between clients.
- disinfect tables after every use and declare it.
- check all standard hygiene procedures are being followed.
During the spring lockdown, restaurants were permitted to provide takeaway and food delivery services. Read our list of the Best Restaurants in Warsaw 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, but were reopened on May 4th. Most smaller shops were allowed to remain open with restrictions on the number of guests inside at one time. These restrictions largely remain in place now, and visitors are asked to use hand sanitiser (provided by the businesses) before entering. For older generations of Poles, the sometimes long queues created as a result of limiting the number customers inside shops is surely reminiscent of the situation during the communist era in Poland. (Read our humourous feature on Queueing in Poland.)
Click here for a list of Online Grocery Shops around Poland if you feel uncomfortable food shopping during a pandemic.
EARLIER UPDATES ON CORONAVIRUS 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 14/15 March, Polish borders were closed to people entering Poland, with some exceptions (see below). This closure was initially intended for a period of 10 days with the possibility of a 20-day extension, however, this has repetadly 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, it was announced that all domestic flights have also been 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 exemptions including for citizens of the Schengen area, people familiar with the work.
Polish Border Control has officially listed 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.
Glad you asked. There are many simple ways you can support the businesses that are suffering the most right now. Get started by reading our article on Helping Local Industries & Causes During the Coronavirus Crisis.
What should I do if I suspect I 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.
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.
Before the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Poland, authorities were not doing much aside from propagating the idea that Poland would somehow not be affected by the virus as much as other countries.
What else are Polish Authorities doing to control the spread of Coronavirus?
Since the outbreak began in China, there's not a single local who hasn't learned the history of 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 (sadly, this balance would be paid during WWII). Will history repeat itself 700 years later? As should have been obvious, no, it will not. Since the first case in Poland was officially announced on March 6 (it is speculated that the virus was in PL much earlier), the virus has spread rapidly and authorities have been acting quickly to counteract it.
On March 20, it was announced that nearly half a million litres of confiscated vodka and rectified spirit will be sent to Polish public institutions in need of disinfectant amid the coronavirus outbreak. The alcohol, which was initially meant to be destroyed, will be used to disinfect transport services and indoor spaces.
Read our article Did Poland really escape the Black Death?
At this point, the pace of information is moving so fast that your best bet is to follow the live information feeds from the the Polish Ministry of Health @MZ_GOV_PL on Twitter. Follow the hashtag #koronawiruswpolsce on social media for more updates.
We will keep this article updated as the situation with the Coronavirus in Poland 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.