Marketplaces and small shops open, seniors face more restrictions

Draught beer can be purchased but should only be consumed at home in many municipalities.

Žilinská marketplace in Bratislava. Žilinská marketplace in Bratislava. (Source: Sme - Jozef Jakubčo)

The Žilinská Street marketplace in Bratislava was filled with people on Wednesday morning.

It was shortly after 11:00 and seniors mingled with younger people as they shopped for vegetables, fruits and flowers. People older than 65 should no longer have been here at this time, based on the measure issued by chief hygienist Ján Mikas, specifying the shopping time for seniors between 9 and 11 in the morning.

"These persons are banned from shopping at other times. I call on all those who are 65 and older not to shop at other times. We define it as a ban," Mikas said.

Until Wednesday morning, the reserved hours for seniors were until 12:00. The time for them was shortened after the government proceeded to ease measures and open the marketplaces and small shops in the first phase of the process.

"It gives us enough time to do our shopping," says the 87-year-old Margita Rudolfová as she leaves the marketplace with full shopping bags. At this point, the staff no longer allow seniors into the place.

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Jednota Dôchodcov Slovenska pensioners association does not object to the restrictions either.

"We have got individuals in our midst who did not respect the recommendations and went shopping in the afternoon," Ján Lipiansky of the association said.

Yet there might be a problem for the 267,000 seniors who are still working and might not make it to the shop within the two hours they are allowed to go.

Moreover, there is no time reserved for them on Saturdays and since all shops are closed on Sundays due to the corona crisis, seniors have no chance to do any shopping throughout the weekend.

The newly-opened shops can only allow a limited number of people inside, so seniors need to consider which queues they can make.

Not all the rules were observed on the first day after the state started easing measures.

One-way paths will not be everywhere

The one-way movement of shoppers at marketplaces as ordered by the chief hygienist, and one entrance and one exit from a place, has not been introduced on Žilinská in Bratislava.

The manager of Bratislava's biggest marketplace on Mileticova Street, Richard Pittner, says a one-way direction is hard to carry out. They are considering it where fruits and vegetables are sold, but it is hard to imagine in the rest of the area.

Restaurants and shops selling cakes or cheeses through a window at marketplaces have been open for a longer time now, but it is not allowed to eat or drink the purchased products at the marketplace.

Clothes without trying them

Shops selling accessories or books had been closed six weeks. The day they reopened, shoppers appeared immediately. Shops selling clothes and shoes, however, remained empty.

"One needs to know what they want to buy. They buy it and leave. Trying the clothes is not allowed," the hygienist Mikas ordered.

Violating the measure can be punishable with up to a €20,000 fine.

Shoe sellers were exempted and are allowed to let people try shoes on, but only when wearing socks or tights.

All shops smaller than 300 square metres are allowed to open now. Larger shops are not yet allowed to adjust their interiors to open just the allowed area, but this might change in the future.

Tanning studios, beauty parlours and hairdressers remain closed.

In shopping centres, only shops with an external entrance are allowed to open.


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