MOSCOW, May 7. /TASS/. Moscow authorities will make face masks and gloves compulsory on public transport and in shops from May 12, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said Wednesday.
"We are imposing additional self-isolation measures on the metro, there will be stricter requirements now. They include mandatory face masks and gloves on public transport. Other requirements, digital passes for example, remain in force," Sobyanin noted.
Sobyanin noted that when enterprises and construction sites reopen, the public service vehicles will inevitably have many more passengers, and it will be more difficult to observe the social distancing rules. According to him, research has shown that the possibility of contracting the novel coronavirus in shops is real. The use of masks and gloves will be a reasonable precaution and insurance against any new outbreak of the disease.
"From May 12, the use of masks, respiratory protection masks or other means to protect the respiratory system, as well as gloves will be compulsory in shops, shopping centers, as well as for trips on any kind of public transport and in taxis," Sobyanin wrote in his blog.
The self-isolation period is extended in the capital until May 31 although the authorities will begin easing coronavirus restrictions on May 12. All public services, trade, educational, cultural and sports facilities will remain closed, Sergei Sobyanin said.
"The temporary restrictions on the work of trade, public catering, service-rendering, cultural, educational and sports facilities, as well as citizens’ self-isolation will be extended until May 31, 2020," the mayor wrote.
Sobyanin noted that it was too early to reopen restaurants, theaters and sports facilities.
As part of the first stage of lifting the restrictions, industrial enterprises and construction companies will reopen on May 13 provided they abide by sanitary requirements. "Only workers whose presence in workshops, offices and on construction sites is essential will be allowed to return to work," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin pointed out. In addition, employers will have to ensure social distancing and randomly test their workers for the coronavirus. All employees will need to wear protective masks and gloves.
Expansion of masks, gloves retail network
Residents of Moscow will be able to buy gloves and masks not only in the pharmacies and general stores: the retail network will be extended, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin announced in his blog Thursday.
"The mask and gloves retail network will be extended. Aside from pharmacies and general stores, they will be sold at Moscow Metro stations," Sobyanin wrote.
The mayor called on Muscovites to abide by the self-isolation rules during the second half of the May holidays. "It is important to abide by the self-isolation rules for the remainder of the May holidays and get used to the need to wear protective masks and gloves," he pointed out.
According to Sobyanin, the city’s chances of entering the second stage of easing coronavirus restrictions depend on whether the first stage is successful. "The more effort we make to abide by the current rules and take care of each other, the more the chances that the city life will return to normal despite long-term restrictions," the mayor noted.
"Many Muscovites have been using masks and gloves for several weeks already, for which we are very grateful. Other people may see this requirement as yet another inconvenient restriction. However, this is not so in reality. By demanding the compulsory use of protective means, we are not imposing more restrictions, on the contrary, we are taking a leap towards returning to normality," he emphasized.
Digital permits for traveling on transport, which were introduced in Moscow on April 15, will remain in place. The existing permits will be extended and people who plan to return to work after the May holidays will need to apply for travel permits. Volunteers and those traveling to hospitals will be able to receive one-time permits every day, and permits for travelling for personal reasons can still be received twice a week.
First to eighth grade students, as well as tenth-graders, will go on with their remote studies without mandatory homework and marks until May 31. Ninth and eleventh grade students will continue their remote studies until May 31. The Education Ministry will decide later on how to hold exams.
Moscow went into lockdown on March 29. All shops were closed across the city with the exception of those selling food, essentials and products for pets. Theaters, restaurants, cafes, gyms, beauty parlors were closed along with parks. Likewise, entertainment events are prohibited.
It is only allowed to leave homes to seek urgent medical care as well as in case of other threats to life and health, to go to work or the nearest grocery, to take pets out and dispose of rubbish. Starting with April 22, people can only travel by public transport if they have special digital passes detailing the purpose of travel. The passes are checked automatically.
To date, a total of 177,160 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 23,803 patients having recovered from the virus. Russia’s latest data indicates 1,625 fatalities nationwide. Moscow accounts for the majority of cases (92,676) and deaths (905). Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.