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Russia advises closure of all nightclubs, introduces 11pm curfew for bars & restaurants as Covid-19 deaths surge to new highs

Russia advises closure of all nightclubs, introduces 11pm curfew for bars & restaurants as Covid-19 deaths surge to new highs
Russia's Covid-19 measures are set to tighten after the country's chief sanitary doctor called to shut down nightlife between 11pm and 6am nationwide.

According to Tuesday's decree by health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, from October 28, entertainment events and public catering should be stopped by 11pm. The recommendation, which effectively means that all restaurants would only be able to work until the end of dinner service and nightclubs would not be able to open at all, has not been imposed on Russian regions, with the decision to follow the decree falling on regional administrations. The unexpected announcement follows assurances that everything would be done to keep the service industry alive in the world's largest country.

In addition, Rospotrebnadzor recommended the compulsory wearing of masks in public places and on public transport, as well as in elevators. The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases has skyrocketed in recent weeks, but still remains lower, per capita, than those reported in other large European countries.

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Russia's bars and nightclubs began to re-open in late June, after spring saw some of the world's strictest anti-Covid measures. In Moscow, residents were restricted from leaving their apartments for anything other than food, medical help, or walking a dog. The restrictions were partially lifted on June 16, with cafes and restaurants being allowed to open terraces, and bars and clubs operating fully just weeks later. Ever since, most of the country has been functioning normally, with regional governor’s having control over their area's restrictions.

Last week, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin announced that the city's nightclubs and bars would be allowed to keep working if they introduced electronic registration for contact tracing. This system may now become obsolete. In Saint Petersburg, the city authorities had already decided to shut down nightlife after 23.00. In some other regions, there were curfews that were often not strictly enforced.

On October 19, speaking to the press service of Saint Petersburg's regional government, local Vice Governor Yevgeny Elin called for citizens to “dance and cuddle a little less and give less work to our health care system,” adding that now is not the time for “having fun and transmitting the virus to each other during a hot dance.”

On Tuesday, Russia recorded its highest ever official daily Covid-19 death toll at 320. A day earlier, official figures revealed that the country had passed its previous high for new coronavirus cases, 17,347 in 24 hours. With 1,547,774 recorded infections, Russia is the 4th hardest hit nation in the world, behind the US, India, and Brazil, but in per capita terms it seems to have done better than much of Europe.

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