WARSAW: For Krzysztof Bielecki, Friday was a day at the movies, as he took full advantage of a loosening of coronavirus restrictions in Poland that has let him enjoy his favourite hobby once more.
Hotels, cinemas, and theatres reopened at a maximum of half their usual capacity in a cautious move designed to ease restrictions without spurring a new surge in cases.
Bielecki, 35, started his day at Kino Muranow, an arthouse cinema in central Warsaw, watching the comedy "Palm Springs", and planned to spend much of the rest of the day crossing the city to find open cinemas.
"There isn't a huge selection of films or cinemas but ... I definitely plan, as much as my energy and possibilities allow, to see many films today," Bielecki told Reuters.
Another moviegoer, Remigiusz Kadelski, 39, said he had found it hard to get used to watching films on a laptop, because, for him, cinema was "experiencing some emotions together which you are absolutely not able to recreate at home".
The government will decide in two weeks whether the looser restrictions can be maintained. Many larger cinema chains opted to stay closed due to the uncertainty.
The number of new infections has levelled off in recent weeks. On Friday, Poland reported 6,379 new cases and 247 deaths.
Ski slopes and swimming pools also were able to reopen, but gyms will remain closed and restaurants will still only be able to provide takeaway meals.
Wojciech Szyszko, 70, relished the chance to clip on his skis, trekking to the Gorka Szczesliwicka slope in Warsaw by city bus to be one of the first down when it opened at 10 a.m.
"The weather is beautiful, the hill is beautifully prepared, the first ski was beautiful," a masked and happy Szyszko told Reuters at the bottom. "If this lift didn't work then I would climb up it by myself and ski down it five times."
The director of the hill Grzegorz Kwiatkowski told Reuters that he expected many more skiers in the coming days.
"Clients have definitely been waiting eagerly for this opening," he told Reuters.
(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Kuba Stezycki; Editing by Alison Williams)