Thu, 17 Jun 2021

WARSAW, Poland: Poles celebrated on the weekend as restaurants and bars opened outdoor dining for the first time in over six months.

Plans also call for limited indoor dining at restaurants beginning on May 28.

Since October last year, restaurants have only served take-out orders.

Also, Poles are no longer required to wear face masks outdoors, though social distancing will continue.

"We've been closed for so long, over 200 days, and it was very stressful and exhausting for different reasons--we didn't know if we could survive at all," said Zuzia Mockallo, 34, co-owner of Warsaw's Bar Studio, as quoted by Reuters.

"I really feel that the emotions are a bit comparable to the New Year, where everyone has huge expectations of the old year ending and a new opening ... We are very happy and a little excited, a little nervous, but very emotional."

The Polish government began easing restrictions after new Covid cases fell sharply in April.

In anticipation of the opening of bars and restaurants, the Koszyki shopping centre in central Warsaw, the locations of many bars, set up a clock counting down to midnight.

On Friday, Poland reported 3,288 new coronavirus cases, compared to 35,251 on April 1. Some 35.7 percent of Polish adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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