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4 June, 2020

Ukraine to relaunch air travel, indoor restaurants

The Ukrainian government will relaunch passenger air travel and allow indoor restaurants to reopen after over two months of lockdown intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced on June 3

“We are going to kick-start domestic air travel on June 5 and international flights on June 15,” he said during a meeting of the government in Kyiv.

Ukraine closed air travel starting on March 17 amid growing numbers of COVID-19 cases.

The country will also allow restaurants and cafes to serve clients at their indoor premises starting on June 5. Currently, they are only allowed to serve food on outdoor terraces and offer takeout and delivery.

“All the rules regarding distancing and disinfection must be followed,” Shmyhal said about the restaurants.

Besides, according to official’s statement made in late May, all passengers arriving in Ukraine via air traffic after June 15 would still have to serve a 14-day self-isolation.

Shmyhal’s announcement represents the government’s next, rapid step to lift quarantine measures in the country and return to normal economic life. It comes amid pressure from small businesses that are suffering under the quarantine restrictions.

On June 2, a Ukrainian business association representing restaurateurs protested the restrictions outside the Cabinet of Ministers building and called for a faster, full-fledged re-opening of dining services.

The lockdown has had a highly detrimental effect on the country’s fragile economy and employment numbers. Moreover, local entrepreneurs perceived the restrictions as favoring large corporations, which managed to remain open, and forcing small and medium-sized enterprises to shut down.

Lifting restrictions

Just days before Shmyhal’s announcement, on June 1, Ukraine allowed railroad and bus passenger transportation to resume between most of the country’s major cities.

However, restrictions remain. Only 50% of seats are available for booking in order to maintain social distancing between passengers and some routes — particularly to the country’s west, which has suffered from especially high case numbers — have not relaunched.

Ukraine continues to report upwards of 300 new COVID-19 cases daily. As of the morning of June 3, the country had identified 483 new cases over the past 24 hours and eight patients have died.

During the June 3 government session, Shmygal said that the country was still experiencing a plateau of COVID-19 infections, so citizens must remain vigilant and responsible.

Kyiv Post

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