MOSCOW: Moscow residents will no longer have to present a QR code demonstrating they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have immunity in order to sit inside cafes, restaurants and bars from Jul 19, Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Friday (Jul 16).
Russia, which reported a record daily rise in coronavirus-related deaths on Friday, is in the grip of a surge in cases that authorities have blamed on the contagious Delta variant and the slow rate of vaccinations.
There were 25,704 new cases nationwide on Friday, with 5,382 of those in Moscow. The capital also reported 105 deaths overnight.
Two-thirds of coronavirus cases detected in Russia since the beginning of July were the Delta strain of the virus, the TASS news agency cited Anna Popova, consumer health watchdog head, as saying.
Since Jun 28, Muscovites have had to present a QR code that proves they have had a vaccine, a negative test or immunity to be able to sit inside, but outdoor terraces remained open to all.
Sobyanin, speaking on state television, said the situation had improved and the rate of vaccination had sped up in the capital, meaning the restriction could therefore be relaxed.
"Starting from the 19th, we are cancelling mandatory QR codes in catering (establishments)," Sobyanin said. "This is an important decision, I had a lot of appeals from businesses and public organisations."
The relaxation will also apply to restaurants in the wider Moscow region, news agencies cited the regional governor as saying, and restaurant owners will be free to decide whether or not they check customers' QR codes.