Moscow cafes turn away the unvaccinated as COVID cases surge

3 minute read

A man uses a tablet as he sits on a terrace at a cafe in Moscow, Russia March 23, 2021. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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MOSCOW, June 28 (Reuters) - Customers had to start showing QR-codes to get their coffees in Moscow on Monday, under new rules ordering cafes to only serve people who have proof of vaccination, immunity or a negative COVID test.

The restrictions, which also cover drinks and meals in bars and restaurants, came into force as authorities scrambled to contain a surge of infections in the capital.

But many people out searching for their daily brew were not impressed.

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"I want a coffee, I have a meeting in 20 minutes and I'd like a coffee," said 29-year-old Alina.

She said she was holding off getting a vaccine until there were further tests. "Why can we take the metro, but can't visit cafes?"

Under the rules, customers will have to present a QR-code on their phones showing they have been vaccinated, had an infection indicating immunity or have recently tested negative, before getting served.

Businesses can still serve customers without a QR-code on outdoor terraces and verandas until July 12.

"I am against this, what is the point in it? It's the same as just restricting people from visiting cafes," said another Muscovite, Maxim Konovalov.

Fast food giant McDonald's said it would begin testing QR-codes at 12 restaurants in the city "as soon as our enterprises are put in the Moscow government's special register," the TASS news agency reported.

Officials have blamed the surge of infections on the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus and slow progress with vaccinations.

Many people have said they are reluctant to take the domestically produced Sputnik V, one of four vaccines Russia has registered, in part due to mistrust of authorities and negative media reports about foreign-made vaccines. read more

Russia reported 21,650 new coronavirus infections on Monday, including 7,246 in Moscow, and 611 deaths related to COVID-19 across the country.

"The coronavirus situation in Moscow remains extremely difficult," Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said, according to TASS.

"Over the past week we have broken new records for the number of hospitalisations, people in intensive care, and deaths from the coronavirus."

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Reporting by Moscow burough; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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