Authorities in Moscow will further tighten the city's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures from Oct. 21 in response to increased disease activity in the city and wider region. Mass events, public gatherings, and exhibitions will be banned in Moscow Oblast from Oct. 21. Museums will also be closed. Spectators are prohibited from attending sporting events. All nighttime entertainment, including bars and nightclubs, may not operate after midnight. However, many nonessential businesses remain open, including retailers, restaurants, leisure facilities, and entertainment venues.
Regional authorities previously tightened restrictions in Moscow Oblast Sept. 30. Citizens over the age of 65, as well as those suffering from chronic diseases, are advised to avoid public places and temporarily suspend personal contacts with persons from outside their immediate households. Authorities are also urging employers to allow remote work whenever possible. Wearing facemasks and gloves is now mandatory for all public spaces, including public transportation.
Nationwide, authorities have resumed flights with destinations in more than 30 countries, including Belarus, Cuba, France, Greece, Germany, the Czech Republic, Italy, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Netherlands, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, the US, Tajikistan, and Armenia. Flights with Japan are due to resume from Nov. 1. The availability of flights is still dependent on COVID-19 restrictions in destination countries. Additionally, flights with low demand may be canceled or merged with a later or earlier service. Foreign air passengers arriving in Russia will need to present negative COVID-19 test results taken no longer than 72 hours before departure; Russian citizens must produce a negative COVID-19 test within three days upon arrival or self-isolate for 14 days. Foreigners are not allowed entry for tourism purposes.
Authorities have reopened land border crossings with some nations, including Belarus and Estonia; all persons entering Russia via land border crossings will be subject to thermal imaging. Persons displaying symptoms of acute respiratory infection will be isolated, hospitalized, and tested for COVID-19. Persons not displaying symptoms must self-isolate at their accommodations; those unable to effectively self-isolate may be placed in a state facility. International rail services with Belarus and Lithuania have resumed with a reduced schedule; other international rail services remain suspended. Entry into the country via river and seaports remains suspended; freight transporters are exempt.
Authorities continue to encourage residents to work from home where possible. However, in urban centers throughout the country, including Saint Petersburg, many nonessential businesses, retailers, theaters and cinemas, leisure facilities, educational institutions, and cultural venues have resumed operations. Restaurants, bars, and cafes may open indoor seating areas. Public transportation has also resumed in most cities, though with reduced services. All public mass events remain suspended nationwide. Social-distancing rules remain in place nationwide, and residents are required to wear face coverings in public.
Any restrictions may be extended or amended with little advance notice. Failure to comply with these restrictions could result in a fine or imprisonment.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.