Moscow Cafes Turn Away the Unvaccinated as COVID Cases Surge

MOSCOW -
Students of the Russian University of Transport fill in documents before receiving the Sputnik V  vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the university clinic in Moscow, Russia, June 25, 2021. (Reuters/Tatyana Makeyeva)

Customers had to start showing QR-codes to get their coffees in Moscow on Monday, under new rules requiring cafes to only serve people who could show proof of vaccination, immunity or a negative COVID test.

The new 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.

“The coronavirus situation in Moscow remains extremely difficult,” Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told the TASS news agency.

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

Under the rules, customers will have to present a QR-code on their phones showing they have been vaccinated, have antibodies, 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.

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

Officials have blamed the surge on the highly infectious Delta variant and slow progress with vaccinations.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said on Friday 21 million people had been vaccinated out of a population of 144 million.