Authorities in Georgia are tightening certain restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the city of Tbilisi and the Imereti region due to increasing infection rates. Effective Oct. 16, all restaurants and entertainment venues in these areas must close at 2200 daily. Still, institutions of higher education will reopen starting Oct. 19 despite the rise in cases, though distance learning will continue to be recommended where possible. Most businesses and services have already been permitted to resume operation provided they implement strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Public gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited. Facemasks must be worn in enclosed public spaces, as well as in outdoor spaces where social distancing is not possible.
Most foreign nationals remain prohibited from entering the country, with limited exceptions. Citizens and residents of France, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, and Lithuania arriving on direct flights may enter Georgia provided they can present evidence of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours, or submit to a PCR test at the airport of arrival. Citizens of countries that allow Georgian citizens to enter are also permitted to enter Georgia, but must submit to a mandatory eight-day quarantine in a government facility and take an antigen test on the eighth day. Countries in this category include Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden. Business travelers of all other nationalities can apply for a permit to enter Georgia; successful applicants can either take a PCR test every 72 hours for the first eight days of the stay, or agree to quarantine for eight days in a government facility. All arrivals must register with authorities using an online form prior to travel.
Regular international commercial flights remain suspended until at least Oct. 31. Flights between Tbilisi International Airport (TBS) and Munich Airport (MUC), Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG), and Riga International Airport (RIX) are exempt from the ban. International flights were previously slated to resume Oct. 1.
Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
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.