Restaurants ready as Poland lifts more pandemic restrictions

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Many restaurants in Poland prepared to welcome customers inside Friday following months of lockdown restrictions that deeply undercut business.

Food establishments were allowed to resume indoor service at 50% capacity after the country reported steady declines in new coronavirus infections and deaths. Wedding parties also are permitted for no more than 50 people, excluding those who are fully vaccinated.

In Warsaw, a city of almost 2 million people, restaurant workers cooked food, scrubbed floors, cleaned furniture and spruced up plants that got dusty during the months eateries were idled.

Lukasz Kondradczyk, a restaurant owner, said he felt “relief and pleasure” that his “Ribs and Bones” restaurant was opening because all the crew has been waiting for that.

“Keeping it all together to be able to open it now in the same shape as it used to be was surely a big challenge,” Kondradczyk told The Associated Press.

Among the clients enjoying the food there was Joanna Miadzielec who said she waited impatiently for the reopening because she loves eating out.

“I was very unhappy that this lockdown took so long. I was waiting for this moment and I’m glad we are back, ” Miadzielec said.

But some businesses did not have enough staff to revive their activity since many employees were laid off during the closure and retrained for new jobs.

Along with eateries, sports facilities could open doors to visitors up to half their normal capacity starting Friday, while outdoor event can gather up to 250 people plus ones who have had both COVID-19 shots.

Primary and middle school students will be allowed to return to classrooms on Monday.

The number of new daily cases reported in Poland, a nation of 38 million, fell from almost 30,000 at one point in April to just over 1,000 now. The April spike prompted the government to introduce strict lockdown measures.

Among the restrictions still in force is a 50% limit on hotel guests.

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