On July 8, Vladimir’s restaurateurs and hoteliers met with Alexander Remiga, first vice-governor of the Vladimir region, to discuss the new coronavirus restrictions and the support measures being taken in this regard.
Shortly before the meeting, two events occurred in parallel: the businessmen met at the Golden Ring to discuss the appeal to the governor in connection with the upcoming lockdown for the unvaccinated, and Vice-Governor Alexander Remiga spoke at the regional administration briefing, where he announced the restrictions. Within an hour after the briefing, the decree itself, already signed by the governor, appeared on the official website of legal information. Vladimir regional administration usually publishes such documents in the evening.
According to the document, since July 12 all cultural, sports and recreational establishments, including cafes, swimming pools, museums, cinemas and discos will be obliged to accept clients only if they have a certificate of vaccination or PCR test made not more than three days ago.
So the administration, by publishing the executive order without prior consultation with the business community, effectively eliminated the possibility of discussing it, defining the scope of the evening meeting as an event to collect proposals for low-cost support measures that would help businesses but not ruin the budget.
The businessmen gathered at the Golden Ring assessed the new restrictions as illogical and fatal for the service sector, which had already suffered from the first lockdown. The businessmen sent an open collective appeal to the governor.
It says that the relevant authorities failed to conduct a qualified analysis of the virus’ distribution channels. They suggest limiting the hospitality industry, but fail to regulate more dangerous ways for the virus to spread – markets, public transportation, and hypermarkets.
The regional authorities have not said a word about the failure of their own vaccination campaign (the Vladimir Region is in last place according to this indicator). There is no report on measures taken, no control over the movement of people in contact with sick people, but there is the political will to close businesses.
Restaurateurs reasonably point out that only 10-12% of the region’s citizens are inoculated. With the introduction of restrictions, attendance could drop by 90%, which would be tantamount to the complete closure of cafes, restaurants, hotels, and fitness centers. Such fears are confirmed by information about the drop in attendance in Moscow, where similar measures have been introduced.
The restrictions will last a long time, since the country does not have sufficient resources to carry out quick vaccinations. (At the current rate of the vaccination campaign, the Vladimir Region will achieve 60% vaccination of the population in about a year).
Enterprise managers have calculated that an average of 2.1 million rubles of support per enterprise is required in the first month, and 1.6 million rubles monthly thereafter. This means that adequate financial compensation under the introduced measures could have been an infusion from the regional budget in the amount of more than 100 million rubles in the first month only for the members of the regional association of businessmen in the service sector, which includes 50 organizations.
It can be assumed that the Vladimir regional administration is not able to allocate such money. In this case, the businessmen conclude, another lockdown should not be introduced. The businessmen believe that anti-coronavirus measures do not curb the spread of the pandemic, but they do kill the industry.
The restaurateurs suggest that the administration:
- not impose restrictions during the summer months, or until the vaccination threshold of 60% of the population is reached; discuss restrictions with businesses before they are imposed, develop real support measures like those in Moscow;
- to establish a moratorium on penalties on taxes;
- to become a guarantor of debts to utility companies;
- establish a ban on early termination of lease agreements;
- expand the grounds for occupancy of hotels and visits to sports centers.
In the last paragraph, it is proposed along with a certificate of vaccination and PCR-test to accept the conclusion about the coronavirus suffered in the last six months, certificates of antibodies. It is also proposed to allow undocumented persons under 18 years of age and conduct an express diagnosis on the territory of hotels at the check-in of guests.
As a result of a meeting with Alexander Remiga businessmen could not achieve a postponement of the entry into force of the decree. Among the support measures which the administration is considering are financial compensations to enterprises on the basis of 12 thousand rubles (minimum wage) per employee, cheap loans and restructuring of existing loans, regional tax benefits and lease privileges.
Entrepreneurs have once again told the authorities about the absurdity of banning summer verandas, where the risk of infection is minimal, while public transport continues to operate, where passengers move in crowded buses without following the mask regime. The businessmen intend to hold several more meetings among themselves and with the authorities.