2020.04.07 14:00

Lithuania to extend quarantine, but some shops may reopen – prime minister

Vaidotas Beniušis, BNS 2020.04.07 14:00

The government will decide on Wednesday whether to extend the quarantine by two weeks, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said on Tuesday. Meanwhile, some small businesses might be allowed to reopen after Easter.

"We will probably relax conditions for certain small businesses and set very clear conditions," Skvernelis told reporters.

The shops will be allowed to open if, "for example, [it] is accessible from the street, [only] a specific number of people are allowed in, and traders wear protective gear," according to Skvernelis, adding that shopkeepers' health couldn't be in the risk group.

Read more: Every quarantine week shrinks Lithuania's GDP by 0.5 percent – finance minister

"They will need to have disinfectants and will need to ensure entry-exit control. Under such conditions, small businesses will be able to reopen," he said.

Specific changes to the quarantine rules should be confirmed later this week.

The prime minister said that the decision depends if the country avoids a second wave of infection, adding that the upcoming Easter weekend will be critical.

"If we, as a state and a nation, show maturity and [maintain quarantine] this weekend, analysts' estimates allow us to say that we have stabilised the situation. It's important to avoid a surge," Skvernelis said.

"If we have a surge on the upcoming weekend, then it means we will need around 10 days to take that surge under control and then another 10–12 days for stabilisation," he said. "Let's be patient, let us live through this weekend, there will be additional measures but afterwards we can speak about a softer social regime."

The government plans to restrict access to Lithuanian cities and towns over the upcoming weekend to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Under the previous government order, quarantine in Lithuania was extended until April 13.

Read more: Lithuania to restrict entry to all cities, towns over Easter weekend