25 January 2022,   18:24
Coordination Council rules incomplete easing of COVID restrictions from December 24 through January 2

The Inter-Agency Coordination Council led by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia has decided that easing of COVID restrictions will not be full-scale in the period of December 24-January 2. It was announced by Maya Tskitishvili, Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia at a press-briefing held after the Inter-Agency Coordination Council today.

"Inter-Agency Coordination Council was actively working with subject-matter experts, epidemiologists and business owners to justify the easing of COVID restrictions from December 24, 2020.

We all see it clearly that COVID restrictions imposed on November 28 had their direct impact on the slow-down of community transfer rate and stability of epidemic situation.

Irrespective of the declining daily indicator of viral infection, community transfer rate still remains high. Only today, intensive tests have revealed 3 064 new cases and 6 358 people are currently treated at hospitals.

Hence, it is the responsibility of all of us - authorities, private sector and each citizen of the country - to maintain achievements made so far and the price paid by the country.

That is why, Coordination Council has decided to partially ease the COVID restrictions from December 24 through January 2:

1. Restriction on mobility via municipal transport remains valid in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Gori, Zugdidi, Poti and Telavi;
2. Restriction on intercity passenger transportation remains valid nation-wide, while personal vehicles are permitted as before;
3. Markets and fairs will not be re-opening. Fruit and vegetable markets will remain operational with full compliance with the safety rules;
4. Retail trade will be re-opening in the above-listed cities from December 24 through January 2 in full compliance with the safety rules;
5. Moreover, additional regulations, which will be subject to preliminary consultations, have been considered to be as follows:
Retailers will operate from 07:00 to 19:00;
Customers should be admitted to retailer premises under a strict management of flow, whereby:
No more than 1 customer should be admitted per 20 m2 in the retailer premises;
Queue management should apply both in external and internal premises of retail shops;
Discounts should be announced predominantly for shopping in morning hours and/or online sales;
Dressing Rooms will remain closed at retail shops trading with clothes;
At the same time and for the protection of customer rights, commodity return or exchange policy should be permitted during the month and should occur only after February 1;
Eateries at shopping malls will be placed under a ban and neither take-away service will be permitted;
Queues in any space and outside a retail shop should practice social distancing and uniform wearing of face masks;
Responsibility on the aforementioned shall rest with the administrations of retail shops;
If and when any violation of the rules is identified, every measure promulgated in the law will apply including penalties and suspension of operation.
6. You may well be aware that apart from skiing resorts, every hotel and restaurants within them were permitted to operate only to deliver services to guests. Organization of cultural and other type of entertainment events is prohibited within them;
7. Unfortunately, we see that most hotels are trying to bypass these requirements and are planning festive evening parties;
8. Hence, decision has been taken to let restaurants within hotels operate only until 21:00, while only room service will be permitted from 21:00;
9. Restaurants and eateries will remain operational only for take-away service throughout the country;
10. Restriction on mobility remains valid from 21:00 to 05:00 throughout the country both for walking and driving;
11. Exception will be made for the New Year"s Eve on December 31 and Christmas night on January 6;
12. Notwithstanding the referred exception, we are again urging our fellow citizens to celebrate the festivities in a close family circle, stated Maya Tskitishvili, Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia.