On July 26, Vladimir restaurateurs reported on weekend inspections in several cafes and restaurants. Entrepreneurs were surprised that employees of the regional administration did not explain on the basis of what orders or instructions they acted and what caused the choice of individual establishments. The inspectors, in particular, were interested in the seating arrangements “in staggered order” and whether the number of guests does not exceed 50% of the capacity of the institution. Businessmen specified that now there are no such requirements in the region. Rospotrebnadzor only insists on compliance with the distance between the tables of 1.5 meters.
ProVladimir asked the Department of Entrepreneurship and the Deputy Governor Alexander Remiga for clarification of the situation. The first vice-governor in an interview answered the questions of the editorial board personally. According to the civil servant, we are talking about scheduled inspections that have been taking place in the region since the introduction of coronavirus restrictions. As for support measures, the introduction of direct financial aid has been suspended due to the postponement of the “partial lockdown”.
ProVladimir: What are the reasons for the past inspections, why did the businessmen perceive them so painfully, why did they decide to take everything publicly, where the interaction between the authorities and businessmen broke down?
Aleksandr Remiga: Regarding inspections, they have been going on continuously over the past year and a half, since the start of the pandemic. When restrictions are introduced, of course, the number of inspections increases. I do not see any sense in saying that this is a raid or a special raid. They take place every week, just in different places.
ProVladimir: It is through the Department of Entrepreneurship?
Alexander Remiga: Yes, in addition to the Department of Entrepreneurship, the police and Rosgvardia were there this weekend. Often Rospotrebnadzor also takes part in joint inspections this weekend. I do not even understand, what is the question here?
ProVladimir: In their claims, entrepreneurs say that some of the requirements that they have been charged do not correspond to the current state of the law. Maybe this is because something was introduced, something was rolled back, there is no clarity. Why entrepreneurs have perceived the inspections so nervously?
Alexander Remiga: I get it. If it’s not compliant, there’s definitely no legal consequences, I’m telling you right away. Plus, if they think something has been violated, they can go to the prosecutor’s office and the court and defend their position.
I don’t think you have to look for a double meaning here. It’s just some specific entrepreneurs who are communicating their position and want to present [the situation] in a certain way, that’s all. There are inspections every day. Chain stores are inspected every week. You’ve probably also noticed that the number of people without masks in stores has increased significantly. And when the governor signed Executive Order 106, it was clear that it went in all directions. Compliance in transportation and in stores has not been eliminated. Disease incidence has increased cumulatively, so inspections went everywhere and are still going on.
ProVladimir: Maybe you can publish a list of those who have already been checked. Because, as I understand it, some of the entrepreneurs believe that they acted somehow tough in negotiations with you, and that their behavior caused such a reaction in the form of inspections. That they have achieved easing of restrictions with their tough stance, and now you are “punishing” them with inspections.
Alexander Remiga: This is completely distorted information. There is not even a reason to talk about it. There is some group of legal entities. They have their own position. It may be different from mine, from the administration, even from the laws of the universe. It’s their right. We live by regulations and by legislation. To understand, the fact that some colleagues did not participate in working through the issues to reduce the burden on business is their right to choose. Several hundred people left applications to participate in these working groups by referral. We could not physically accommodate everyone; we accepted 20 to 25 people each.
A huge number of applications went through the commissioner for business rights, through the Department of Entrepreneurship, calls directly and to me in the department. We tried to combine formats, to make sessions both face-to-face and online. Those who did not want to speak out wanted to meet with the governor. They did meet. The only thing is that all the decisions had been made and decrees signed by this point. What was the logic behind that? I don’t even see the point in commenting. It’s their right. Everyone is entitled to their position. They think so – their right.
ProVladimir: There is also a difficult situation for them psychologically.
Aleksandr Remiga: I understand it completely and therefore have a normal attitude.
ProVladimir: Maybe then you could give data on inspections, so that people would see that they are not checked selectively, but all at once.
Alexander Remiga: The department can give data without the names of legal entities. I think you will be very surprised at the numbers and how much work colleagues from all departments do there. Therefore, if necessary, we will ask and they will provide.
ProVladimir: And another question about support measures. The restrictions have been rolled back so far, and I understand that there is no specificity with the proposed support measures yet either.
Alexander Remiga: When we met right on the day the decree was introduced, some representatives who later took a diametrically opposed position were present here. I said “there are support measures for salaries, compensation for costs. There are questions about tax concessions, about rental rates, about state property. To what I heard: “Well, it does not concern us. I said, “I understand, but do you represent yourself here or the entire business? Are you saying that there are no people who rent state property? There are also municipal property. There are small businesses, for which it will be a big help when we compensate them for 12 thousand per person. And tax incentives work. You don’t have to say for the whole industry that since “it doesn’t work for us,” it doesn’t work for the whole industry. Plus, as a suggestion, there was preferential lending. It’s a tool for business. To say that it is not appropriate is strange.
But it was voiced, and the call was to think of everyone. Let some people it will not affect, but it will affect a large group, and over time, we will identify … I did not hear back, I heard “we need to lift restrictions. Well, lifting the restrictions, as well as putting them in, are matters for the governor to decide. Our job is to work out how we can do that. So I held working groups during the week to have businesses say to me “yes, there are Rospotrebnadzor requirements, we guarantee that we will comply with them.” And I took it upon myself, after recommending to the governor, that the business representatives understood the responsibility.
Here’s an example with gyms, cinemas, spas – we’ve been rolling out cases with everyone, how to comply with this or that direction. Businesses have submitted thoughtful steps.
ProVladimir: Yes, there were no conflicts with these industries, even on the contrary, they publicly thanked you.
Alexander Remiga: Everything was fine. I do not understand where the negativity comes from when people offer to constructively discuss the issues and find solutions for them. It is already called “politics”. If someone wants, go ahead, but without me. I am interested in business and how it will feel in the Vladimir region. I am for upholding the rights of business and trying to create the most comfortable conditions. Other things do not interest me.
ProVladimir: The announced support measures will appear in some way?
Alexander Remiga: In case we continue to have restrictions. We are not talking about them now, because the restrictions are almost all removed, provided the security measures are maintained. Security measures will be respected, and I remind you, the decree is postponed until September, if there are no delays, there will be no need to introduce it. It will just have to be annulled.
ProVladimir: Everything will depend on vaccination?
Alexander Remiga: Vaccination is a separate issue. If you remember, a month ago I gathered the business. Everyone was there, including a small part of even industry. There were a hundred people on the screen and thirty in the hall. By the way, they say to me now, “Alexander Alexandrovich, you brought us together and said that if we were vaccinated, there would be no restrictions.” That’s really what I was saying. I was saying “if you are all fully vaccinated, then I will have an argument to advocate for you.” But that’s not when the number of people who got sick doubled in two weeks. You see, these are not comparable things.
And that’s not the most important thing. When I said that vaccination was necessary, I said it because I knew that a resolution of the Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare would come out, similar to the one that came out in neighboring regions already then, on compulsory vaccination. When the decree came out, almost a thousand people in our hospitality industry had already been vaccinated. It was not for nothing, of course. We have already laid the foundation, and today about 20 enterprises have reported to Rospotrebnadzor that over 60% of their workers have been vaccinated. That’s excellent. And these are preventive measures. Some may be offended that I gathered [entrepreneurs] a month ago, but I gathered for this purpose.
If we have 60% or 80% in the hospitality industry vaccinated in September, it will be much easier to defend the position that no additional restrictions should be imposed. God forbid, of course, if a pandemic goes up.
You just have to work here and not waste time on events that are distractions. Businesses came in, worked through every step, presented everything to the governor, and the governor said, “Okay, keep that in mind, we’ll start checking in a week or two.” We have checked before, and will check further.
ProVladimir: It seems that these inspections were a surprise for them.
Alexander Remiga: I don’t know why they should only meet with the governor. But it’s their right. And if they don’t agree, they have the right to go to the prosecutor’s office and the court. That’s not what they do, they go to the press. What for? Why didn’t they go to the authorities and say “we are oppressed.
ProVladimir: Apparently, it worked last time, so they keep doing it.
Alexander Remiga: You have to understand that it had no effect at all. Decisions are taken with a “cool head. I didn’t just come to the governor with Rospotrebnadzor recommendations and say “now they will comply with everything.” I’ve just had so many meetings in the past week, both on the phone and through conference calls with entrepreneurs… I don’t advertise it, but it’s hundreds of calls a day. We’re discussing how we’re going to organize it, and why that’s the case. I talk to everybody. I live here and I see who complies. And I have something to say head-on. “You’re not complying, why is it like this here, how are you going to make it safe here if you didn’t before.”
According to the regional department of regional policy, monitoring was conducted from July 24 to 25 in accordance with the provisions of Governor’s Decree No. 38 of March 17, 2020, by employees of the regional department of business, Rosgvardia and police officers. In total three stores and six catering facilities were inspected.
The basis for carrying out checks specifically on the weekend were the instructions given during a meeting of the Operational Staff. They checked fulfillment of the governor’s decree № 38 “On introduction of the high readiness mode”.
The Department of Regional Policy separately reported that such checks have been carried out in the region since March 2020. Separate restrictions, such as a ban on entertainment from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The official response from the regional administration said that the inspectors did not impose requirements on entrepreneurs to have at least 80% vaccinated employees on shift, to have a log of vaccinated employees, to comply with the mask mode of visitors when moving from tables to the toilet, as well as other requirements beyond those indicated in the governor’s decree.