Poland Limits How Many Unvaccinated People Can Be Inside Restaurants, Theaters at One Time

Following a surge in COVID-19 cases, Poland put into effect a number of measures restricting capacities at public venues, especially for the unvaccinated.

Whereas previously places like restaurants, hotels, theaters and sports stadiums could have up to 50 percent of their capacity be made up of unvaccinated people, the new regulations have now cut this down to 30 percent.

Though over 20.7 million out of its 38 million residents are fully vaccinated, Poland reported 669 deaths tied to the virus Wednesday. This is its highest number since April 22, when the country reported 694 deaths. Out of the Wednesday deaths, about 74 percent had a preexisting health condition.

Some of the capacity limits can be extended for those who can show they are fully vaccinated, but observers note that Poland does not have clear rules on how to validate vaccine status.

The new restrictions also shut down nightclubs and discos, though they allow for them to be open for New Year's celebrations with a 100-person cap. Public transportation capacity will also be limited to 75 percent.

At the moment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies Poland's COVID-19 risk at a level four, or "very high," and recommends avoiding traveling to the country. At this designation, even fully vaccinated travelers are at risk of getting and spreading the virus.

If travelers need to go to Poland, it recommends being fully vaccinated and following all mask and distancing guidelines.

Warsaw, Poland, COVID-19, vaccine
Poland and several other countries across central and eastern Europe are battling a massive surge of infection and death fueled by the transmissible delta variant. A resident of Warsaw receives a booster shot against COVID-19, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday Dec. 7. Czarek Sokolowski/AP Photo

Schools are switching to remote learning from Dec. 20 through Jan. 9, but most of that time is the Christmas holiday period.

Travelers arriving from outside the visa-free Schengen zone need to show results of a COVID-19 test no older than 24 hours. Poland hasn't reported any Omicron cases.

Teachers, medics and security forces, including police and the military, are required to be fully vaccinated by March 1.

Children age 5 and above can be vaccinated now, and temporary hospitals for COVID-19 patients are being opened in some cities like Gdansk, on the Baltic Sea coast.

More than 20.7 million Poles have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson shots. Almost 5 million have received booster shots.

Since March 4, 2020, when Poland's first COVID-19 case was confirmed, almost 3.9 million infection cases have been registered, including almost 90,000 deaths.

According to the World Health Organization, as of December 14, there are over 270 million COVID cases worldwide and more than 5.3 million deaths from the virus. The organization also reported that about 8.2 billion doses have been administered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.