St. Petersburg to introduce heightened COVID-19 restrictions

Officials in the Russian city of St. Petersburg will introduce heightened COVID-19 restrictions to curb a spike in cases today.

AFP Photo

Photo: AFP Photo

Officials in the Russian city of St. Petersburg will introduce heightened COVID-19 restrictions to curb a spike in cases today.

These restrictions include a temporary suspension of restaurant service after dark and of food courts more broadly, with the exception of takeout food. St. Petersburg’s restrictions come amidst a national surge in cases and a corresponding wave of new sub-national restrictions. Russia has been one of the hardest-hit nations by the COVID-19 pandemic with excess deaths above 475,000. Secondary effects of the pandemic—including a collapse in tourism—have caused economic distress in Russia; national GDP shrunk by 3.0% last year.

City and national officials were hoping to rekindle tourism with the Euro 2020 finals, which constitute the first foreign tourist visits to St. Petersburg in nearly a year. Under the new restrictions, selling food is forbidden and everyone must wear masks in the ‘fan zones’ established for Euro 2020 tourists.

Expect Russia’s plans of exporting vaccines abroad to be shelved in light of the surge in cases in St. Petersburg and elsewhere. Despite this, the recovery of the Russian tourism industry and economy more broadly is likely to remain hampered by continued restrictions thanks to the slow vaccine rollout.

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