Running in the Park and Trips out of Town: What Ukrainians Can and Cannot Do During Quarantine
6 April, 2020
Police and National Guard patrol Kontraktova Square in Kyiv, March 29, 2020 Anastasia Vlasova / Hromadske

Starting April 6, new quarantine restrictions have been imposed in Ukraine due to the increase in the number of COVID-19 patients. Failure to comply with quarantine measures may lead to a fine of 17 to 34 thousand hryvnia ($620-$1250). With the help of lawyer and expert at the Center for Political and Legal Reform Eugene Krapivin, Hromadske explains which actions could result in a fine and how Ukrainians can avoid penalties.

READ MORE: Details Emerge of New Tougher Quarantine Measures in Ukraine

What Are the Consequences for Breaking the Law?

Violations of any restrictive measures imposed by government decree No. 211 “On Prevention of COVID-19 Coronavirus Disease Spread in Ukraine,” as well as by decisions of local governments (city councils, etc.), may lead to punishment by fines and even imprisonment.

According to article 43-3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, a person can be fined in the amount of 17 to 34 thousand hryvnia ($620-$1250) for non-compliance with the rules and norms of quarantine. Article 325 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine assigns fine of 17 to 51 thousand hryvnia ($620-$1870), or restriction of freedom, or imprisonment for up to 3 years for violating sanitary rules and norms. If these actions result in death or other grave consequences, a person may be imprisoned for up to 8 years.

How Should Police Act?

The police officer must first introduce himself and show his ID. The police officer must then explain why he stopped a person. If he sees signs of the offense under Art. 44-3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses, he must explain which ones. 

The police officer can issue an administrative offense report either on site or at the police station if the patrol does not have the form on hand or in the car, etc. The report is delivered to the court by post. The person is informed of the time and place of the hearing via a court summons.

Is Movement by Personal Transport Restricted?

As of now, the government has banned only rail, air and bus intercity and inter-regional passenger transportation. It is not forbidden to travel to other cities and regions by personal vehicle, therefore the police have no reason to stop it.

There are exceptions, if a local government has imposed such restrictions in the region. For example, a special entry and exit regime was introduced in the Chernivtsi region on April 1. Movement is allowed only for freight transport and vehicles of enterprises and organizations that ensure the vital activity of the region. People who live in the area and return home will be able to enter and those who are heading to their place of residence will be able to leave.

Is Visiting Relatives or Friends Allowed?

Yes. The government decree does not ban this. However, the Ministry of Health does not recommend visiting relatives, friends, or neighbors during the quarantine. Working from home is another recommendation.

Is a Walk in the Park a Violation of the Law?

Yes, and the police can hold the person liable. This includes visiting parks, squares, recreation areas, forest parks and coastal areas, as well as sports and children's playgrounds. However, it is not clear how the police will determine if the offense was committed - whether the person is visiting the park or just walking through on the way to the store. 

Running in parks is also banned. These areas can be visited only for walking pets by a single person, and in case of a work necessity.

As lawyer Maksym Kostetskyi commented, running and riding a bike are not prohibited. However, the current restrictions mean that “if you run through public places, you have to wear a mask.

Where People Must Wear Masks?

Starting April 6, masks or respirators must be worn in public. These can be any type of mask, including self-made gauze masks.

However, there is no definition of the term "public places" in Ukrainian law. Therefore, by common sense, the term applies to any publicly accessible places where there are crowds: parks, forest parks, streets, bus stops, stores and more.

Often, in legal practice, they use an analogy to the law "On measures to prevent and reduce the use of tobacco products and their harmful effects on the health of the population" which also includes yards, porches, elevators, and underground passages. Systematic interpretation allows the police and courts to apply this list to other cases, though this is a debatable issue.

/ by Vika Sloboda; translated and adapted by Vladyslav Kudryk

For all the latest updates on the coronavirus in Ukraine, follow this link.

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