Poland

Postcard From Poland

We’re publishing a new postcard today, this one by a man who’s just returned from Poland with his wife and two kids. Sounds like life there is relatively normal, which is great news. Here’s an extract:

Getting there was relatively easy. The wife and I are double jabbed – I know some people think we have sold our souls by doing this, but if it means I can take my wife and kids to Poland to see the family, then to me it is a small price to pay.

Once we were there, it appeared Poland was treating Covid with the respect it deserves, which is essentially not much at all. The authorities do require quarantining from the U.K. if unvaccinated. However, this was brought in after the Delta variant got blown out of all proportion by our media. People from all other countries are exempt if they produce a negative test, which you can do at the airport.

Once through the border checks, life is pretty much as normal – there is no ‘new normal’. Masks are ‘required’ at airports, hotels and bigger establishments, but enforcement is sporadic and based on how zealous the person behind the counter is. In all other settings, masks are not worn and, unlike in the U.K., where if you choose not to wear a mask you are looked at with a mixture of disdain, smugness, disgust and pity, the Poles respect your decision and leave it at that.

In all other aspects of life, everything is as before. Everyone is getting on with their lives and enjoying themselves.

Worth reading in full.

You can read our other postcards by clicking on ‘Around the World in 80 Lockdowns’ at the bottom of the right-hand menu. They provide a great snapshot of how different governments around the world are dealing with the pandemic – all getting it wrong in their own way. The one by a university professor in Argentina is particularly good.

Postcard From Poland

by Benjamin Marsh

My wife is Polish and we have two young kids, two and five, and it had been two years since we’d seen her family so we thought we should try and get over there for a holiday. Below is a brief snapshot of life in Poland during these most desperate and depressing times. The good news is, Poland appears to be bucking the trend on Covid apocalypse porn.

Getting there was relatively easy. The wife and I are double jabbed – I know some people think we have sold our souls by doing this, but if it means I can take my wife and kids to Poland to see the family, then to me it is a small price to pay.

Once we were there, it appeared Poland was treating Covid with the respect it deserves, which is essentially not much at all. The authorities do require quarantining from the U.K. if unvaccinated. However, this was brought in after the Delta variant got blown out of all proportion by our media. People from all other countries are exempt if they produce a negative test, which you can do at the airport.

Once through the border checks, life is pretty much as normal – there is no ‘new normal’. Masks are ‘required’ at airports, hotels and bigger establishments, but enforcement is sporadic and based on how zealous the person behind the counter is. In all other settings, masks are not worn and, unlike in the U.K., where if you choose not to wear a mask you are looked at with a mixture of disdain, smugness, disgust and pity, the Poles respect your decision and leave it at that.

In all other aspects of life, everything is as before. Everyone is getting on with their lives and enjoying themselves.

Almost 50% of Poles are double jabbed, so they are a little way behind Brits, but nothing is ever really mentioned about the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated or about ‘herd immunity’.

It appears as though Covid is over for pretty much everyone. They are learning to live with it and as far as I can work out from my in-laws, no work from home mandate has ever been issued. They did close schools, bars and restaurants for a bit last summer but then opened them again last September and have never forced them to re-close.

So if you’re looking to have a break from Covid and want a relatively cheap getaway (prices have increased a lot in the two years since we were last there but they are still cheaper than their Euro-loving neighbours) I would definitely recommend Poland.

Advice to Manchester United Fans Travelling to Poland: Don’t Bother

Manchester United F.C. has emailed fans who’ve applied for tickets for the UEFA Europa League Final in Gdansk on May 26th this evening with a long list of dos and don’ts.

Thank you for registering your interest in tickets for the UEFA Europa League Final. We continue to work extensively with UEFA, the Police, Transport Authorities and the Department of Health to understand everything which will be required of our fans travelling to Gdansk. Please take note of some important information below – if you would like to withdraw your application, please click the link below before midday on Wed May 12th.

Before you travel
• You need to make sure that you have booked all required PCR tests, for before and after your trip – further information is provided below, but you will be required to book and pay for them all before you travel
• You will need valid insurance, and we would recommend that this includes the cost for any expenses should you return a positive test at any point in time on your trip (UEFA / trips will not be refundable by the provider)
• We also suggest that you plan your travel insurance in advance, as we have been advised that it can be difficult to obtain this when travelling to an Amber category country
• Departure out of the UK will be dependent on you returning a negative PCR test, which you must book and pay for prior to travel. The cost is usually around £100. This should be undertaken within 48 hours of departure so that the same negative test result can be used upon return

Arriving in Poland
• If you arrive at Gdansk Airport on May 26th you will not be required to undertake a further test, but may be required to evidence your existing negative test (we are waiting for confirmation from other airports)
• Arrival in Poland on any other day will require a further test at the airport, and anybody who returns a positive test will not be permitted to enter Poland – the process for those affected, and where they will be required to wait, is not yet confirmed

In Poland (based on current guidance)
• There are no facilities such as fan zones, bars or restaurants open as the country is still in lockdown, so please bear this in mind when planning travel
• Public transport is operating with 50% capacity seating to maintain appropriate distance between passengers. You can still use taxis
• Face masks must be worn at all times
• If there are medical reasons why you cannot wear a face mask, you must carry a doctor’s note with you explaining this. Bandanas, scarves, balaclavas and visors are not permitted alternatives to face masks
• Police and sanitary inspectors are entitled to issue you with an on-the-spot fine (approximately PLN500/£100) if you are found not to be wearing a face mask when you should. Further prosecution could result in a fine of up to PLN 30,000 (£6,000) for failing to follow sanitary rules
• Stadium entry will all be via digital tickets, which are issued to fans by UEFA directly. Whilst we will issue as much notice as possible after our ballot, by Friday, there will be no option for us to support you with this, as we will not have access to their ticketing system. You must therefore ensure that you preserve your mobile phone battery during the day so that you can use your device to enter the stadium with your digital ticket. If you do not have a mobile phone that is compatible with digital tickets, you should cancel your application

Arrival back to the UK
Arrival back from an Amber category country requires you to prove at passport control that you have:
• returned a negative PCR test before travelling
• completed your passenger locator form (you can do this at https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control) and
• pre-booked your PCR tests for day two and eight of quarantine.
• These will each usually cost around £100, but can be as cheap as £116 for two tests
• Unfortunately, we are unable to recommend providers

Failure to be able to provide evidence of all of the above could incur a fine of up to £10,000 or up to 10 years in prison.

Quarantine Information
• You will be required to quarantine in your home for 10 days following arrival back in the UK (noting the day after arrival back counts as day one)
• Quarantine compliance checks will take place and the Police will have access to information provided in your passenger locator form
• Any supporters found not to be observing the quarantine face fixed penalty notices of £500. Please ensure you fully understand quarantine requirements, which can be viewed here
• There is as an option to do “Test to release” for early release from quarantine, which is an additional day five test with a private provider. This can be done in a clinic (this provides much quicker results) or via post. A list of providers can be found on www.gov.uk

We understand that confirmation of Poland being placed in the Amber category may have impacted your initial decision to register for tickets and as referenced earlier, if you would like to remove your registration of interest, please click here before midday on Wed May 12th.

If you do still plan to attend the final, please note that the ballot will take place on Friday May 14th, at which point we will confirm details of available travel via Sportsbreaks.com, and the process for securing tickets through UEFA. At this time, we do not have any further information on what price tickets will be available, and to who, but we are hopeful that all supporters with at least one European away credit will be successful.

Regards
Ticketing & Membership Services

As the Man Utd fan who passed this on to us said, “All this to see a football match!”