Poland to reopen restaurants and hairdressers on May 18

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will reopen restaurants and hairdressers next Monday as it eases coronavirus-linked restrictions, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Wednesday.

Poland, the largest economy of the European Union’s eastern members, started relaxing some of its curbs on public life in April. Earlier in May it allowed hotels, shopping centres and kindergartens to reopen.

“At least to some extent we have contained the epidemic, therefore we can gradually unfreeze the economy,” Morawiecki told a news conference, a day after Poland saw its largest rise in coronavirus cases in a single day.

Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski told reporters that the coronavirus reproduction rate had fallen below 1 in Poland, meaning that statistically speaking one infected person led to fewer than one new infections in other people.

Morawiecki also said that schools would partially reopen to provide day care for children in the first three years of primary school.

The further easing of restrictions came amid a dispute between the government and opposition over how and when to hold elections which were originally scheduled for May 10.

Late on Tuesday, Poland’s lower house of parliament voted in favour of legislation allowing for a mixture of postal voting and traditional voting at polling stations.

On Wednesday Morawiecki said he hoped the election would be held in June.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski and Pawel Florkiewicz; Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Angus MacSwan