Russia reinstated its national mask mandate on Tuesday as coronavirus cases mounted, restoring a rule first imposed in the spring and lifted in July, when the number of Chinese coronavirus cases was said to be declining.
The Russian mask mandate is similar to the one proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, although Biden admits he would lack the authority to impose it under American laws.
“All those residing in Russia are obliged to ensure the use of hygienic masks in order to protect the respiratory system in places of mass gatherings, on public transport, including taxis, in parking lots and elevators,” Russian Chief Sanitary Doctor Anna Popova ordered on Tuesday.
Russia’s consumer safety agency, Rospotrebnadzor, relayed the order on Tuesday, adding a recommendation that bars and restaurants close between 11:00 p.m and 6:00 a.m. every day.
“The restrictions come days after Moscow launched a contact-tracing system requiring restaurant and nightclub visitors to register their phone numbers and scan a QR code. Also starting last week, the Moscow public transportation system began cracking down on its rules by banning passengers without masks or gloves,” the Moscow Times reported.
The Kremlin said on Monday that Russia hit a daily record of 17,347 new coronavirus cases on Monday, with a disturbing increase of infections in rural areas. Rospotrebnadzor predicted the pandemic would continue until at least the summer of 2021.
Biden’s call for a mask mandate is one of the few differences he has articulated with President Donald Trump’s policy on the coronavirus, but Biden concedes the president of the United States does not have the authority to impose such a mandate nationwide. Biden said he would impose a mandate on federal property and urge mayors and governors to require masks in their jurisdictions.