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Quarantine in Kyiv: new restrictive measures and bans

16 March, 2020 Newsletters

We would like to inform about new restrictive measures in the territory of Kyiv which come into force on March 17, 2020 at 12:00 a.m. They do not cancel the previous ones discussed in our publication as of March 12, 2020. Once again we recommend to check the primary source for this information: Minutes of the Standing Commission on Technogenic and Ecological Safety and Emergency “On additional measures to prevent spread of new coronavirus disease (COVID 19)“ No. 10 as of March 16, 2020 (hereafter – the Minutes).

The main measures are defined in the Minutes as follows:

“To restrict to the extent possible:

  • movement of citizens among the city of Kyiv and other residential areas of Ukraine as well as movement in public places unless it is a total emergency;
  • cultural, political, sports, social, religious and other events with large-scale involvement of people; to exclude scheduling of such events as well as citizens’ travelling abroad, until the situation is stabilized;
  • operation of public food services (fast foods, restaurants, cafes, bars, including those at gas stations); it is permitted to provide take-out and delivery services;
  • operation of shopping centers as well as building materials outlets (except for food, household and medicine outlets);
  • operation of hotels and hostels;
  • operation of religious organizations, as well as holding religious services and excursion activities.

To suspend temporarily:

  • operation of sports facilities, swimming pools, consumer services (saunas, spa salons, beauty salons, skin care rooms, massage rooms, tattoo studios, hairstyling studios, etc);
  • operation of entertainment establishments (discos, night clubs, computer clubs, quest rooms, etc.)”.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these restrictions

Unfortunately, we have to repeat our comments regarding ambiguous wording of the Minutes (now about new one). First of all, it is quite unclear what does “to restrict to the extent possible” mean. Academic definition dictionary of Ukrainian language defines the verb “to restrict” as “to set up limits on smth; to impose on smth restrictive conditions”. In other words, the first list of restrictions of the Minutes does not mean total ban but rather it means that the above listed measures shall be restricted to a certain extent, but to what extent exactly? The adjective [to the extent] “possible” does not make it more clear.

We suppose that at the date of publication of this article it does not mean a total ban on movement among the city of Kyiv and other residential areas of Ukraine. Such understanding also follows from the statements made by the Kyiv City State Administration representatives at the press briefing. In other words, it is rather recommendation for citizens without any explicit regulatory based restrictions.

Ban for public food services      

Restriction imposed on operation of public food services probably means closing dine-in establishments except for take-out and delivery services. According to para. 25 of part 1 of Article 1 of the Law of Ukraine “On Main Principles and Requirements to the Safety and Quality of Food” the public food service establishment is:

“restaurant, bar, café, canteen, bistro, pizzeria, delicatessen, food stand or any other establishment regardless of its territorial features (location) of doing food service business or level of accessibility of food services to any person”.

Holding cultural and other mass events

The Minutes restricts holding events with “large-scale involvement of citizens”. We can only guess what does this wording mean but probably the previous restriction regarding 60 participants limit shall be applied.

How about shopping centers; what shall they do?

The Minutes “restricts to the extent possible” “operation of all shopping centers” “…except for food, household and medicine outlets”. In order to gain better understanding, we can refer to the following definitions:

“retail buildings are shopping centers, department stores, shops, roofed markets, shopping units and fairgrounds, car service centers, canteens, cafes, delicatessens, depots and warehouses of trading and public food services’ establishments, buildings of consumer service establishments” (Article 14, para. 14.1 subpara. 14.1.129-1 of the Tax Code of Ukraine);

“shopping premise is a property complex taking separate building (office building) or which is housed in a specially designated or equipped for trading purposes building where business entity conducts activity on goods sale” (Article 1, para. 26 of the Law of Ukraine “On Consumers’ Rights Protection”).

But these definitions are not always helpful. For example, could the authors of the Minutes really have in mind to close car service centers or warehouses of the enterprises? Probably, no; that is why the Minutes refer only to “establishments”. This term is usually used in legislation in limited context (for example, health-care establishment), therefore its legislative meaning for the Minutes purposes cannot be clearly defined. Academic definition dictionary of Ukrainian language does not make it clearer either:

“establishment is an organization/institution which have certain staff and management board conducting their activity in any field of education, science, culture, etc.”

Here we would like to return to the question what does “to restrict to the extent possible” mean? Once again, we have to guess that this restriction means the total ban with exception only for “food, household and medicine outlets”. In other words, it prohibits everything except for the listed separately. But what about roofed market which is not a food shop but is a “retail building”? Again, what shop (department) shall be considered as a household one? In general, the meaning could be intuitively understood but such uncertainty gives ground for manipulations.

What do the definitions “public consumer services” and “entertainment establishments” mean?

Here is the legislative definition:

“public consumer services – organized activity of business entities related to rendering consumer services;

consumer service is an activity type of business entity related to satisfying particular personal need of individual customer” (para. 2 of the Consumer Services Rules, approved by the Decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 313 as of May 16, 1994).

As one can see, the list is not limited neither by the Minutes nor by the regulative acts. That is why when deciding on further steps the safest way for business will be to stop its activity if there is a risk to be classified as an object of consumer services category. But such broad interpretation will cause closure of any business on satisfying “particular personal need of individual customer”.

The likewise commentaries are relevant to “the entertainment establishments”, since the list of buildings and construction objects for entertainment purposes according to the State Classification 018-2000 is rather wide. It includes, in particular: amusement parks and other outdoor constructions as well as climbing installations (ski mounting), golf course, airfields, horse riding centers, outdoor sports playgrounds for football, baseball, rugby as well as swimming, etc; tracks and fields for auto racing, cycling and horseracing, public parks and gardens, botanical and zoological gardens, etc.

The above commentary presents the general statement for information purposes only and as such may not be practically used in specific cases without professional advice.

Kind regards,

© WTS Consulting LLC, 2020

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