There are no plans to shut down public transport in Kyiv
On October 7, the European Business Association held a meeting on a possible introduction of severe restrictive measures under hard lockdown.
Oleksii Kuleba, First Deputy Head of the Kyiv City State Administration for Self-Government Powers, stressed that it is currently difficult to predict when and whether a red zone will be introduced in Kyiv at all. Meanwhile, it is important now to promote vaccination to mitigate the burden on the healthcare system in winter. Thus, 90% of people that have a severe illness from COVID-19 are not vaccinated. Mr. Kuleba also stressed that currently there are no plans to restrict public transport, and accordingly – the issue of passes to public transport is not raised. Asked whether the vaccination certificate could be a pass for public transport, the first deputy answered negatively. He emphasized that the pass should be obtained by the managers of critical infrastructure through the online portal for their key employees who will have to work to ensure the viability of the city. However, he once again noted that traffic restrictions are not planned yet. Meanwhile, if the situation changes dramatically, the administration will respond accordingly. When asked about the expansion of the list of critical infrastructure, Mr. Kuleba said the issue could only be considered by the emergency commission when it is understood that the country is in the red zone. In conclusion, he added that he hopes that strict restrictions will still be avoided, but it very much depends on the citizens and on the vaccination rate.
Pavlo Palamarchuk, a state expert of the expert group of the Public Health Directorate of Ukraine, emphasized that there is no other method to overcome coronavirus disease and avoid restrictions than vaccination. Surely, vaccination is currently done voluntarily for the majority, and mandatory only for three categories – educators, central executive bodies, local state administrations, and their departments (the relevant order was approved on October 7). However, the list of professions in the order is likely to expand. According to statistics, 98% of those vaccinated are less likely to develop serious illness, and 88% of those who are seriously ill are not vaccinated. Among those who died from coronavirus, 99% were not vaccinated. The resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers provides that, if a person wants to use business services during the red zone restrictions, he can present a negative PCR test result, a confirmation document on the illness, or a vaccination certificate (printed or generated in Diia).
Anatolii Vovniuk, Deputy Head of the State Tax Service, also confirmed the importance of vaccination and stressed the need to comply with all restrictive measures. Thus, he noted that each business has its own list of rules that will be important to follow during restrictions. For example, it is important for restaurateurs to follow 25 rules. In case of non-compliance, FOPs are sanctioned with a fine of 17 thousand UAH, and Limited liability companies with 34 thousand.
The State Tax Service does not form, but only implements policy. Thus, if there is a government decision to introduce the moratorium on tax inspections, the State Tax Service will comply with it. But so far there is no talk about such an introduction as reported by Lyudmyla Tsybko, Director of the State Tax Service Department, emphasized.
Natalia Vasylenko, Director of the Department of State Regulatory Policy, also joined the discussion, commenting on the situation with inspections of regulatory documents by the service.
Borys Kushniruk, Economist, Chairman of the Expert Analytical Council of the Ukrainian Analytical Center, noted that Ukraine, even without the risk of lockdown, is in a difficult economic situation caused by the unprecedented rise in energy prices, and therefore the Government must very carefully implement new regulations. The introduction of new restrictions in such an overregulated sphere as the trade in excisable products will lead to even greater illegal trade. etc. And, obviously, the additional pressure on business, especially on the eve of severe restrictive measures – is untimely, because it will further worsen the economic situation.
The participants of the meeting stressed that in order for the business to operate in the red zone, 2 conditions are needed – vaccinated workers and visitors. Again, as an alternative to a vaccination certificate, staff or visitors to the facility may demonstrate a certificate that they have recently recovered from COVID or a recent PCR or another test that shows that the person is not currently ill with COVID. At the same time, when asked by business representatives about who controls vaccinated visitors, it was stressed that this should be done by the business. Therefore, in case the red zone restrictions are imposed on visitors of a restaurant, theater, sports club, or non-food store, and they have no vaccination or other document listed above, such visitors will not be allowed to enter the abovementioned place.
Besides, due to the new working conditions for companies in the “red” quarantine zone, defined by Government Decree №1236, businesses will face new problems. From now on, the company will either follow all the restrictions of the red zone, or continue to work, provided that all employees and visitors over 18 years of age have a vaccination certificate or a certificate of recovery, or a negative test for COVID-19. At the same time, as vaccination remains voluntary for most citizens, the employer does not currently have the right to dismiss non-vaccinated workers. Thus, for example, because of one or two unvaccinated workers, the company will be forced to stop working because it will have no legal grounds to influence the vaccination of employees or apply sanctions to those who refuse to be vaccinated. In view of this, in a recent letter to the Prime Minister of Ukraine, the EBA requested clarification on the possibility for companies to apply unpaid downtime to unvaccinated employees whose activities are related to public services and may lead to the spread of infectious diseases in case of “red” quarantine zone.
Besides, business representatives at the end reiterated that the business currently lacks the legal tools to influence public service workers to vaccinate them, in particular by dismissing them for lack of a vaccination document.
On behalf of the European Business Association, we truly thank you for the meeting and hope that the country will still be able to avoid a complete lockdown.