Almost all of the provinces of the Russian federation have softened quarantine measures introduced because of Covid-19, and most of them have allowed eyewear retailers to open their stores again. In Moscow, however, which accounts for roughly 50 percent of all Covid-19 cases recorded in Russia, visiting the optician has not been listed as a reason for residents to leave their homes.

Moscow’s City Hall has ruled that all local residents can only leave their homes to seek medical assistance, to go to work, for shopping at the nearest grocery store or pharmacy, for walking with pets within 100 meters of their homes or disposing of garbage. If they leave their homes for any other reasons, Muscovites could be fined of up to 40,000 rubles (€493-$537).

Customer traffic in eyewear stores in Moscow is currently estimated at 20 to 30 percent of the pre-crisis level, according to a local optician. So far, he added, there have been no reports of the police fining residents for visiting an optical retail store, but there is basically a lot of uncertainty because of the quarantine regime.

Russian opticians express hope that the rules on self-isolation will be spelled out in more detail, so that customers could visit certain non-food stores without fear of getting fined.