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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Wednesday, 28.02.2024, 04:11

Stores close, movement restricted as Lithuania goes under tougher lockdown

BC, Vilnius, 16.12.2020.Print version
Tighter lockdown restrictions come into force in Lithuania on Wednesday as the majority of stores, hairdressers close and movement of people is restricted, writes LETA/BNS.

The country's new government is taking these measures to take the spread of the coronavirus under control.

Only pharmacies and food stores are allowed to continue operating but they will not be banned from selling other goods as well. Marketplaces are allowed to sell food only as separate non-foods stores need to close.

No contact services taking more than 15 minutes are also allowed in Lithuania as of today, and churches will no longer hold public services.

As the second coronavirus wave reached Lithuania last fall, cafes, bars and restaurants were closed in early November, and schoolchildren have moved to remote education over the past several weeks.

Despite these anti-coronavirus measures, cases continued to grow, therefore, the government led by Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte decided last Sunday to introduce even tougher restrictions.

Residents are banned from leaving their municipalities without serious reasons, and only family members or two people from different households are allowed to go for walks in public places.

Police are urging residents not to leave their municipality of residence without a serious reason and have documents proving the cause of travel.

Police officers will control outgoing and incoming people around municipal centers over the upcoming weekend and during Christmas and New Year time.

Critics say the new restrictions discriminate small traders and the introduced movement restrictions are disproportionate and hardly implementable, with some psychologists also proposing letting lonely people having contact with other people in social bubbles.

If residents fail to comply with the tougher lockdown regime coming into force on Wednesday, when the majority of stores and services close, it might be further tightened, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte says.

She told the national television LRT on Tuesday that the operation of food stores might be further restricted.

"I would like to hope that the fact that not all stores will be closed and some of them will sell a wider range of products due to their nature, it will not become a cause for our people to have fun in there. If it does, then, obviously, the lockdown restrictions will need to be further tightened," Simonyte told the LRT's program Dienos Tema (Topic of the Day).

In her words, separation of essential and non-essential goods might be considered. "We will monitor the situation very closely. If we need additional decisions, let's say, on non-food goods or accommodation services during the festive period, these decisions will be made," she added.

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