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Restriction on regular flights might be lifted from February, business associations demand re-opening of economy

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, January 21
Yesterday, Georgia reported 469 new cases, 1792 recoveries, and 14 deaths. In total, since the first outbreak of the virus, the country has had a total of 249 934 confirmed cases, 236, 922 recoveries, and 2987 fatalities.

The country is actively engaged in the process of obtaining coronavirus vaccines, authorized by stringent regulatory authorities. According to the Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze, the first target group of vaccination will be the staff of the medical sector, followed by the elderly people. She has stated that the process will be implemented in the step-to-step method, although consistently.

Georgian Economy Minister Natia Turnava mentioned in an interview with TV channel Imedi that Georgia may lift restrictions on international flights in February. According to her, this does not mean that chaotic and unorganized entry in the country will be allowed. International travelers will be required to present a vaccination document or other appropriate documents. “Resumption of flights is the first hope for the revival of the tourist season,” Turnava stated.

The government representatives have announced that some restrictions, which are currently imposed in the country, will be lifted from February 1st, including restrictions on the functioning of public transport, malls, and markets.

Yesterday, fifteen business associations in Georgia sent an open letter to the government, where they highlight the possibility of postponing the removal of the lockdown. They call on the government to lift coronavirus-related restrictions step-by-step. According to the joint letter, the recent statement from the government agency representatives and epidemiologists point to another lockdown, because of the possible so-called third wave. The business associations state that hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls should be opened in Georgia, also, transport and air traffic should be restored in accordance with the coronavirus regulations. Business representatives demand the opening of cable cars and hotels in winter resorts as well.

Signatory business associations express readiness to engage in and coordinate the process of massive testing, however, they state that some businesses, which are in unfavorable condition due to the financial loss, will not be able to conduct testing at their own expense and will require support from the government.

According to the business associations, many business areas have gone bankrupt, which has severely affected the tax system as well as the banking sector. They state that Georgia has made a lot of international financial commitments, which is why the only way out of the crisis is to restore business activities.