Coronavirus Cracow: Up-To-Date News & Information
[Latest Update: 27/03/2020, 11:43AM]
This is a dedicated super-article compiling all available information & advice relating to the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis as it develops in Cracow and Poland. We will be regularly updating this page with everything you need to know: the most recent news, official statements from the government, emergency laws & regulations, infection & death toll, symptoms of COVID-19, what to do if you think you might be infected and how to get tested, international & local travel, restaurant closures & which places are still offering pick-up/delivery, shop closures and more. Keep an eye on this page for up-to-date information as the situation unfolds and we will do our best to offer Cracow residents and stranded tourists as much support as we can.
Here in Cracow, the streets are empty as heavy restrictions put in place in order to maintain a strict quarantine within the country take effect on day-to-day life. Locals and tourists have been treating these restrictions with the utmost seriousness, however a practical attitude of calm collectivity and responsible action has thankfully taken charge of the general atmosphere.
The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and to try to make the best out of this unprecedented situation. It’s all too easy to be blasé on the surface while being totally overwhelmed underneath and for many of us, dealing with the anxiety which accompanies this kind of global trauma will be the biggest danger. Don’t underestimate the importance of caring for your mental health or lending support to others during this time. Use this opportunity to read a good book, paint or draw, upcycle your old belongings, to give your house a deep clean, to re-prioritise your life around what truly matters most to you, to spend quality time with your family or on your own. Be patient and practice being still. Treat this time as opportunity disguised as loss and see what beauty you can create within the darkness. Scroll down for more advice on how to keep sane, fed, entertained and healthy throughout the lockdown, or who to ask for help if you are struggling to keep your head above water.
If you think you may have contracted COVID-19 or have been in contact with anyone who has, please scroll to the end for advice on how to behave, who to contact and how to get tested.
The official forecasted date for the end of the quarantine period [Imposed on 14/03/2020] is currently set for: 24/03/2020
*with the potential of being extended for 20-30 days
[17/03/2020] The EU has announced that it will close it borders for the next 30 days
Luckily for us, Cracow and Malopolska have only had a handful of cases and so far no deaths. It looks to be contained thanks to the quick response of officials and responsible action of the community in handling the situation.
Interactive Regional Map - Coronavirus Statistics in Poland
[18/03/2020] It was reported that patient zero has made a full recovery.
- Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Malopolska: 69
- Confirmed Deaths from COVID-19 in Malopolska: 0
- Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Poland: 1244
- Confirmed Deaths from COVID-19 in Poland: 16
Current Emergency Laws & Restrictions
Luckily for us, the Polish government has acted much more efficiently than many other countries in imposing strict regulations well before the level of infection was out of hand. Hopefully, with these regulations in place, we will be able to circumvent a dramatic rise in cases of COVID-19.
- 20/03/2020: Polish Government announces that Poland is officially in a 'State of Epidemic', tighter restrictions introduced, see below.
Shops & Services
Currently there is a shutdown in place on all but the most necessary stores. While grocery stores, pharmacies and other vital services will remain open; clothes shops, bookstores, hair salons and all other non-vital shops and services will remain closed for at least an initial 2 week period. It might be much longer than this but we will just have to wait and see. At the discretion of their owners, many businesses have created new flexible ways to operate in a safe way, but many prefer rather to self-quarantine and shut down completely during this time.
As grocery stores will remain open it is important NOT TO PANIC BUY. Nobody is eating or using the toilet more than usual, so if everyone stays calm and sticks to purchasing what they need in reasonable amounts then there should be enough for everyone. If you panic buy because you anticipate the panic-buying of others then you propagate the vicious cycle and it just makes things harder for everyone involved. Cracow is a close-knit community of intelligent, ethically-minded and active people, so, let’s get through this together as a supportive and respectful group of humans should.
- 18/03/20: Polish Government announces that the Sunday ban on trading will be temporarily lifted.
- 20/03/20: New 'Epidemic' laws restrict the number of customers allowed to enter a store at any one time. You may be required to wait in line for your turn, keep a 1 metre distance from others and wear gloves when touching produce.
Restaurants, Cafes & Bars
Restaurants, cafes and bars have all been ordered to shut down their services with the exception of pick-up and/or delivery. Under these regulations, many eateries have closed up operations for the duration of the quarantine, while others choose to remain open with strict health codes in place around the preparation of food and interaction with customers.
*Scroll down for a list of restaurants and cafes which are staying open and offering the option of pick-up or delivery meals.
Status: Restricted To Pick-Up or Delivery
Schools & Workplaces
- All classes have been suspended as schools and universities have been temporarily closed. Some schools have organised or are in the process of organising to offer their courses online.
- All workplaces are strongly advised to allow their employees to work from home where possible and to suspend all non-essential activities which may risk the health of employees.
If there was ever a time to experiment with remote working conditions - this is it. Many businesses will suffer loss finanically but it's better than to suffer the loss of lives. We will all be in the same position afterwards - this is a shared experience - and hopefully as a community we can band together to rebuild the economy and support local businesses who were impacted. In the meantime, business owners, please consider how you can support your employees. This means offering financial support to those who have lost their income due to the quarantine; offering emotional support through a healthy, open relationship and a relaxing of work pressures; offering a remote working situation to keep them as safe as possible.
Status: Schools - Closed, Workplaces - Heavily Restricted
While there is no total ban on local travel, it is strongly advised to stay at home and to isolate yourself as much as possible from contact with others in order to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Symptoms can remain dormant for up to two weeks and although you might feel completely healthy, it doesn’t mean that you are not a potential carrier.
- Cracow’s public transport system, MPK, is still operating but has limited its tram and bus lines to offering only Saturday timetables during the quarantine period. Several tramlines have also been temporarily suspended and the front door area of the trams have been blocked (see above) to protect the drivers.
- Parking Fees have been temporarily suspended around Cracow city centre in order to encourage people to use their cars rather than Public Transport. For the same reason, petrol prices have also been lowered at petrol stations such as ORLEN.
- Domestic flights have been temporarily suspended.
All international borders, with the exception of the German Border, have been shut down and a ban on non-essential international travel is in place. It is still possible to travel into Germany via private car and bus, however, border waiting times are reported to be 7+ hours and return into Poland is only possible (but still restricted) for citizens and residents*. All international flights (with the exception of special officially chartered flights), busses and trains have been temporarily suspended for a 2 week period, however it looks as if it will be extended to at least 30 days across the entire EU.
- Polish residents who have been stranded overseas are currently still able to apply to return to Poland via officially arranged LOT flights through the ‘LOT Do Domu’ Scheme. Fill out the form on their website in order to apply for your flight. Flights cost from 400zl to 800zl.
- UK residents who have been stranded in Poland can still book seats on specially arranged LOT charter flights. A Whatsapp Group has been created for UK residents who are currently stranded in Poland. Please check the UK Embassy's official advice on travel in Poland.
- Poland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a hotline for information about crossing borders: +48 22 523 8880.
*All those returning to Poland from abroad are required to immediately self-quarantine for at least 14 days with no contact to others. This is necessary regardless of where they have travelled from.
Status: Heavily Restricted
Events & Gatherings
The strict quarantine laws in place dictate that we should all practice social distancing and limit our physical enounters to only the essential. Any gatherings of 50+ people have been banned and all events and gatherings have been strongly advised to cancel or postpone. By and large, Cracows upcoming festivals and events have temporarily suspended activites, however many meetings and activities (those that are able) have been re-organised so that they are able to take place in an online environment.
*Scroll down for a list of Cracow events which are now taking place online
Cracow's Coronavirus Community Resources
As the government scrambles to quarantine the country and protect the virus from spreading within Poland's borders, Cracovians are scrambling to rearrange the entire community system and so far we are doing an admirable job. Locals are in the process of trying to figure out the best way to continue to live as normally as possible, while living under strict quarantine restrictions for an unpredictable period of time.
Cracow Quarantine Neighbourly Help Group
If you are having trouble keeping your head aboce water, there are people who can help. A Facebook group has been created so that anyone who needs help collecting or even affording groceries or medicine, who needs emotional support or anything else, can post and receive that help from people in the community. Visible Hand Cracow (Widzialna Reka Krakow) is a Facebook group dedicated to surviving the quarantine hand-in-hand.
If you don't need any help personally, then please consider offering your help to others in the community who are in a less stable position than you.
(You can also try Visible Hand International Poland - Visible Hand English Language Group For Poland)
Meals For Doctors (Posilek Dla Lekarza) Support Movement
This beautiful community movement aims to support all the hard-working doctors and nurses who have been dealt the worst blow by this pandemic. Overworked, underfunded and putting their own lives at risk every day. Local restaurants and community members have teamed up with #PosilekDlaLekarza in order to offer free meals to doctors and medical workers. As local restaurants have also been hit hard by this crisis, with many struggling financially and on the brink of permanent closure, it's even more meaningful that so many have joined the cause.
How can you take part?
It's easy. Simply get yourelf some lunch and then purchase an extra #PosilekDlaLekarza meal for a doctor or nurse from one of the participating restauraunts and it will be forwarded on to those hungry and tired hospital staff. To see which restaurants and cafes are taking part, look for #PosilekDlaLekarza in the the list below.
Restaurants & Cafes Offering Pickup/Delivery
***Please be patient as we continue to update this section with links and more information.
Pickup & #PosiłekDlaLekarza
Pickup/Delivery & #PosiłekDlaLekarza
Grocery Stores (& More) Offering Pickup/Delivery
***Please be patient as we continue to update this section with links and more information.
Roślinny sklep - Pickup/Delivery
Asia Deli Delikatesy - Pickup/Delivery
Naturalny Sklepik - Pickup, Open 8-5pm
Chaiyo Thai Massage - ul.Grodzkiej 27 open, Dietla 103 - closed
Tesco & Carrefour do offer online shopping with delivery or pickup, however their delivery slots are reportedly booked out for a month,
Virtual Replacements of Local Events
Although many of the events and festivals have been cancelled, lots of lovely locals have managed to move their activities into the virtual sphere. If you're feeling bored and lonely at home, here are some of the ways you can continue to interact with the community and participate in interesting meetings and events.
The regular OpenCoffeeKRK meetup for connecting and networking with entrepreneurs, professionals, people in the startup community and students in Cracow will go ahead via online streaming. Take part in this group video chat to help keep our community connected.
Joga Centrum continues to offer their yoga classes through online streaming.
Cracow's most famous techno club, Szpitalna 1, might have closed it's doors for now but that doesn't stop their amazing DJ's from broadcasting their tunes to us across the internet. We highly recommend your own personal in house rave for keeping the spirits up and staying healthy.
Museums, Galleries & Public Institutions may be closed until further notice but many of their fascinating exhibitions and collections across several branches of the National Museum in Krakow can be viewed online through a virtual tour.
How do you know if you have contracted Coronavirus? What can you do to avoid catching it? What should you do if you are showing signs of infection? How should you behave if you may have come into contact with someone who is a carrier for the virus? Who can you contact if you think you may have it & how can you get tested?
We are all asking ourselves these questions whether we have been on a Roman Holiday or we haven't left the house in a week. We've tried to answer them as clearly and concisely as possible, according to the official advice being offered by the World Health Organization and the Polish Government.
How To Protect Yourself From Infection
- Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with antibacterial soap for at least 30 seconds.
- Practice "social distancing" - avoid any unneccesary social contact.
- #Staythefuckhome - don't leave your home for anything that isn't important. Work from home. If you are still being told to come into the office but your job is mostly computer based, STRONGLY encourage unwilling employers to let you work remotely. You can show them this article or the official government advice. Stay home. Be efficient with your grocery buying.
- If you do go outside, try to stay at least 2 metres away from other people, wear plastic gloves and facemasks. Don't touch your face.
- Avoid any mass gathering, including religeous services and house parties.
- Eat healthy, keep up your vitamins and boost your immune system with lots of veggies, ginger & tumeric. Superfood time.
- People who are potentially more vunerable to illness (the elderly, pregnant and those with generally ill-health or weak immune systems) should self-quarantine until further notice.
- Try not to stress. We know, it's ironic advice... but stress impacts your health negatively and can make you more succeptible to illness. So, as much as possible, we all need to chill out.
Symptoms of Coronavirus
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Difficulty breathing (severe cases)
What To Do If You Think You Might Have Coronavirus
If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, have travelled to a Coronavirus infected area or, have come into contact with anyone who has: it is extremely important that you immediately self-quarantine for a period of no less than 2 weeks and contact one of Cracow's infectious disease departments below. Although these symptoms can occur for a range of reasons, its critical that anyone with the slightest symptoms isolates themself from other people. it's important to remember that many people have contracted COVID-19 and exhibited absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, but they have still been a carrier for the highly-contagious virus and passed it on to others without knowing.
How To Get Tested for COVID-19 in Cracow
If you believe that you may have contracted Coronavirus, please immediately self-isolate and then contact these numbers to inform them of your situation and receive further advice:
Infectious Diseases Department at the University Hospital in Krakow
Phone: 12 400 20 00. (Available 24/7)
Observation and Infectious Department at Stefan Żeromski Specialist Hospital SP ZOZ
24-hour tel. 12 622 93 53. (Available 24/7)