Lithuania’s new government led by Ingrida Šimonytė at its first sitting on December 13, decided that du to the continuing spread of COVID-19, the majority of shops, with the exception of those selling food, will be closed in Lithuania as of December 16 as the existing lockdown is tightened. People will be allowed to leave their homes only for serious reasons but families will be allowed to go for walks in open spaces within their municipality. In addition to food stores, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, opticians and stores selling orthopedic equipment will be allowed to continue operating. They will need to ensure a space of at least 10 square meters for one client. Online store pickup points will also be allowed to operate.
Educational establishments will work remotely, but pre-school institutions will have to accept children if their parents have no possibilities to work from home. As of December 16, people will be banned from leaving their municipalities, except for work-related reasons, funerals, urgent medical assistance or trips to their homes situated in another municipality. Contact with members of a separate household will be banned, except for emergency cases. Any contact-type services will also be banned, and accommodation services can only be provided for isolation.
These conditions will be in place until January 31. Šimonytė said that if the situation improves sooner, the government would consider a review of the lockdown restrictions.
New Cabinet Sworn In
Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and 14 ministers were sworn after Seimas approved the program of the new centre-right government on December 11. The centre-left Cabinet of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis ended its term as the new government took office after the swearing-in ceremony.
The new Cabinet is made up of Finance Minister Gintare Skaistė, Defense Minister Arvydas Anušauskas, Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė, Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys, Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, Social Security and Labour Minister Monika Navickienė, Education, Science and Sport Minister Jurgita Siugzdiniene, Energy Minister Dainius Kreivys, Agriculture Minister Kęstutis Navickas, Economy and Innovation Minister Aušrinė Armonaitė, Justice Minister Evelina Dobrovolska, Transport Minister Marius Skuodis, Environment Minister Simonas Gentvilas and Culture Minister Simonas Kairys.
The new government was formed by the conservative Homeland Union-Lithuanian Christian Democrats and two liberal parties – the Liberal Movement and the Freedom Party.