Businesses selling essential goods can remain open
During the non-working week decreed by the Russian President from 30 March to 3 April 2020,1 only certain companies are permitted to operate, such as food suppliers and suppliers of non-food essential goods.
On 29 March 2020, the Russian Government issued an order2 stipulating a list of 23 non-food essential goods, and the types of business that can stay open. Below is a partial list of the categories of goods: •face masks
- hand sanitizer
- wet wipes and dry tissues
- toothpaste and toothbrushes
- diesel fuel
- pet products (including pet food and veterinary drugs)
Companies that trade in at least one of these essential goods, and are part of the entire product-to-consumer supply chain, from producers to delivery companies and retail shops, are allowed to continue business operations during this time.
Also permitted are remote orders and deliveries of food and essential goods, except for goods whose sale is prohibited or restricted in Russia.
Cafes and restaurants may only offer takeaway and food delivery services.
New restrictions on movement in Moscow and the Moscow Region
On 29 March 2020, the City of Moscow3 and the Moscow Region4 introduced new restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Effective immediately and until further notice, residents of Moscow and the Moscow Region are to self-isolate at home. They are allowed to leave home for the following reasons: •to seek emergency medical care or in case of a direct threat to life and health
- to go to work if obligated to do so
- to shop at the nearest food store or pharmacy
- to walk pets within 100 m of their place of residence
- to dispose of garbage
These restrictions will not apply to residents of Moscow or the Moscow Region who have been issued special passes. The procedures for obtaining a pass will be established by the Governments of Moscow and the Moscow Region respectively.
The right of ordinary citizens to enter and exit Moscow and the Moscow Region has not been restricted.
In addition, all businesses must ensure that their employees and visitors maintain a distance of at least 1.5 m from each other.
On 30 March 2020, the Russian Government recommended that other Russian regions adopt similar measures5
Consequences of violating the quarantine regime
Under Russian law, companies that fail to comply with sanitary and epidemiological safety rules can be fined up to 30,000 rubles (approx. USD 390). For repeated or gross violations, state authorities may suspend a company’s business activities for up to 90 days.6
Violations of Moscow city laws protecting the population from natural and man-made emergencies may result in administrative charges against company officers and a fine of up to 5,000 rubles (approx. USD 75).7
If the spread of COVID-19 continues, state authorities may resort to criminal prosecution. Under Article 236 of the Russian Criminal Code, violations of sanitary-epidemiological rules that result in mass diseases through negligence are punishable by supervised restriction of freedom for up to one year, and if such negligence results in human death, by a prison term of up to five years.
A draft bill to increase the punishment for violations of sanitary-epidemiological rules has been submitted to the Russian State Duma.
1 Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of 25 March 2020 No. 206 “On the announcement of non-working days in the Russian Federation”
2 Order of the Government of the Russian Federation of 27 March 2020 No. 762-r
3 Decree of the Mayor of Moscow of 29 March 2020 № 34-UM “On Amending the Decree of the Mayor of Moscow of 5 March 2020 N 12-UM”
4 Decree of the Governor of the Moscow Region of 29 March 2020 № 162-PG “On Amending the Decree of the Governor of the Moscow Region of 12 March 2020 No. 108-PG”
6 Articles 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation, Law No. 195-FZ of 30 December 2001.
7 Article 3.18 of The Code of Administrative Offenses of the City of Moscow No. 45 of 21 November 2007