TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government is tightening regulations due to the worsening epidemiological situation, but still refrains from reintroducing curfew and lockdown, measures that are wildly unpopular among the population.

The government was originally expected to announce a new tightening of measures on Tuesday after news of hospitals buckling under the stress of skyrocketing Covid-19 numbers, but it happened two days later, on Thursday. 

According to DFWatch’s sources, this is due to differences of opinion within the government itself. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili is categorically against imposing restrictions before the elections, as these measures are unpopular with the people and he thinks that the ruling Georgian Dream party will lose many votes.

Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze and medical professionals, on the other hand, are in favor of strict measures, because the healthcare sector is having difficulties treating all the sick and is virtually on the verge of collapse.

The number of new cases has not dropped below 5,000 in the last few days, and the death toll has also increased. The government therefore adopted several new restrictions recommended by the Interagency Coordinating Council, which will take effect on 14 August and run until 4 September.

Municipal transport services will be halted in Tbilisi and other cities. The restriction does not apply to intercity transport.

Cafes and restaurants will be allowed to operate until 11 pm, instead of 12 am.

Festivals, entertainment events, concerts and sports competitions are prohibited, and children’s entertainment centers also have to shut their doors.

Employees of public agencies will have to switch to remote working.

In addition, the ICC will discuss the recommendation that from September, people  be allowed access to cafes and restaurants, food establishments, spas, fitness centers and similar establishments on the basis of at least one dose of vaccine or a negative test result.