For hospitals filling COVID-19 patients, more public spaces will be available only from Monday with a passport issued to people who have been vaccinated, ill or are constantly being tested.
Already in the morning at the entrance to Mindaugo Street “Maxima” in Vilnius, people were greeted by two employees – customers could only enter the store by showing documents with a unique QR code.
This is one of the 75 stores of the Maxima retail chain, which can only be accessed with an opportunity passport.
People are already getting used to the new restrictions.
“It is logical, everything is in order,” said Donatas Alešiūnas, who left Maxima.
On Monday morning, the doors of the shopping center near Kaunas “Akropolis” are turned off, and visitors are directed through the nearby entrance. Here, three employees scan opportunity passports by phone.
As more traffic enters, there is a small queue at the entrance, but it doesn’t take long to dissolve, and most people prepare phones with a passport or paper versions in advance.
The Passport of Opportunity was introduced in Lithuania as a means of granting more privileges to people with immunity at the end of May, but even then Government said it will be needed in the fall when the epidemiological situation deteriorates.
After the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital exceeded the agreed threshold of 300, the Cabinet decided in August to ban passport-free access to major shopping and entertainment centers, cafes, hairdressers and other non-essential services, with effect from 13 September.
Minister of Health Arūnas Dulkys called it “non-vaccinated quarantine”.
In preparation for the new restrictions, from the beginning of September, the opportunity passport has been issued at Lithuanian post offices, Sodra branches or pharmacies, a little earlier Center of Registers also took place in smaller towns, making it as convenient as possible to obtain this document.
According to D. Alešiūnas, a 30-year-old dentist who worked in Vilnius, this is the most effective way to manage a pandemic so far.
“If someone comes up with a better way to handle it all, let them offer, not just cry,” the man said.
“I really didn’t have any problems, I have a passport checked at work, it’s saved on the phone. In addition, I received a message from Maxima yesterday, I knew it would have to be delivered here today, ”said Irina Gerasimčik, 40, who works at the university.
She said she was confident the new restrictions would encourage more people to be vaccinated against coronavirus: “The sooner everyone gets vaccinated, the faster that nonsense will end.”
Jadvyga, an 83-year-old pensioner who entered Kaunas Akropolis, was worried that her daughter and girlfriend could no longer come to the supermarkets, and she was not so comfortable, but she hoped that it would help overcome the pandemic.
“Just so it helps … Maybe it’s good – a lot of illnesses, a lot of deaths – maybe it’s good that it tightened,” the woman said.
Critics: The order segregates
Although most people already have a phone or a piece of paper with a QR code on it before they go to the store, not everyone who rushes to shop in the morning has managed to do so.
Supermarkets and other public spaces will close by about 30 percent. adults unless they are tested for coronavirus for a fee.
One man who did not have a passport was not allowed into Mindaugas “Maxima” in Vilnius, so he returned to the car in exchange. The man did not want to talk to BNS.
Retired Janina Karmaza was not admitted to the store in Vilnius.
“I didn’t go to the store, I didn’t let them in,” said the 80-year-old woman, “I forgot my passport at home, I’m going to pick it up.”
She said she thought these measures were redundant.
“It seems to me that the person himself knows that if he is sick, he has nowhere to go and is not needed. “If I’m sick, I don’t go anywhere, I think others do the same,” said J. Karzmaza.
“It simply came to our notice then. (Beprotnamis – BNS) ”- resented the 55-year-old Kastytis, who had not been vaccinated and was not admitted to Kaunas“ Akropolis ”, calling the order stupid.
“How many stores will go bankrupt if everyone is interrogated in this way? Grandpa will come to buy milk and what? He won’t let me in! ”He said.
As a result of the new order, two protests were held in just over a month. One of them, who went to the Seimas, ended in riots.
People who came to the rally were outraged that the opportunity passport was a tool of segregation, dividing people into two groups – the vaccinated and not.
According to them, by making living conditions more difficult, the government is forcing people to be vaccinated, although this should be a free choice.
A total of 4.7 thousand people died from coronavirus in Lithuania. over 9.6 thousand people are currently ill. population, hospitals treat about 850 people.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, COVID-19 has affected more than 300,000 people in the country. people.
Authors: August Stankevičius, Austėja Masiokaitė-Liubinienė
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