VSChampagne corks popped at the stroke of midnight on Friday as Polish bars and restaurants opened their outdoor terraces for the first time in more than six months and many Poles came out to celebrate.
Bars and restaurants can now offer outdoor service, with indoor service due to reopen with limited capacity on May 28. Since October, they can only serve take-out food.
Also, from Saturday, Poles are no longer required to wear masks outside in places where they can observe social distancing.
“We were closed for so long, over 200 days, and it was very stressful and exhausting for different reasons, we had no idea if we could survive,” said Zuzia Mockallo, 34, co-owner of Bar Studio . , located in the emblematic building of the capital, the Palace of Culture and Science.
“I really feel like the emotions are a bit comparable to New Year’s, where everyone’s high expectations for the end of the year and for a new opening… We’re very happy and a bit excited, a little nervous, but very emotional.”
New coronavirus cases in Poland fell sharply in April and the government began easing restrictions this month.
The Koszyki shopping mall in central Warsaw, home to one of the city’s most popular clusters of bars, has installed a clock counting down to midnight. Paweł Slupski, the centre’s public relations manager, said the atmosphere was “very much like New Year’s Eve”.