The Lithuanian government has decided that as of May 24 a “Freedom ID” will be issued to people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have already had the coronavirus, or have a negative test result. This will allow eligible people to bypass certain coronavirus lockdown restrictions, such as dining indoors or attending large events and parties. Restaurants, cafes, bars, gambling venues and betting shops will be able to serve Freedom ID holders indoors. Nightclubs will remain closed, however. Events for up to 500 Freedom ID holders will be allowed both indoors and outdoors, but with no more than 75% of seats occupied. Currently, events of up to 150 people are permitted, but no more than a third of the seats can be occupied.
The pass will allow holders to hold private parties for an unlimited number of guests, and to return to contact work. Eligible people will be able to gather in public places in groups of up to ten, twice the currently allowed maximum number. The pass will also lift the requirement for accommodation establishments to allow only members of one family live in one room.
The Economy and Innovation Ministry announced that the Freedom ID would be a QR code that would be available to those meeting the criteria.
Mass Vaccination in May
Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys announced that Lithuania will begin mass vaccination of the population in May, earlier than expected. More regular and more frequent vaccine deliveries have allowed the government to revise its vaccination strategy, according to Dulkys.
Some municipalities have already started administering shots to people aged over 55 years, and Vilnius has begun giving the shot to those aged 44 and over. Lithuania currently has over 211,000 unused vaccine doses, but some of these will be needed to administer second shots to people who have already received the first, according to Dulkys. The country has received a total of 1,250,555 vaccines so far. All of them have been delivered to vaccination centres across the country and 1,039,032 have been administered, based on the latest official statistics.
Lockdown Restrictions Continue
Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte announced that coronavirus lockdown restrictions will continue to loosen in Lithuania as more people get vaccinated, but some of them will likely remain in place in the summer. Restrictions on gatherings will likely remain in place, according to Simonyte, because the daily number of cases remains high. Lithuania’s 14-day coronavirus infection rate currently stands at 575 per 100,000 people and about 1,000 new cases are confirmed daily. The second coronavirus lockdown, in place in Lithuania since early November, 2020, was last extended until May 31.
Information from Lithuanian Daily News Bulletin