Requirements for companies in St. Petersburg to operate under COVID-19
Amendments to St. Petersburg Government Decree No. 121 dated March 13, 2020 on Measures to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in St. Petersburg became effective on October 26, 2020.
Requirements and recommendations
Employers in St. Petersburg have been recommended to switch to remote work as many employees as possible, as well as keep those already working remotely work this way.
If an employer is notified by Rospotrebnadzor that one of its employees fell ill with COVID-19, then it will be necessary to inform all those who had been in contact with the sick person at work as well as coordinate the disinfection of the premises in which the sick employee had been.
Organizations and individual entrepreneurs are also recommended:
- Not to send employees on business trips;
- Not to conduct or participate in events with foreigners;
- Identify employees showing signs of infectious diseases (temperature, cough, etc.) and not allow them in the workplace if they show any signs of infectious diseases;
- Conduct training and meetings remotely;
- Regularly disinfect surfaces;
- Ventilate premises.
All companies operating in St. Petersburg by November 1 must:
- Adopt internal regulations providing for safety standards;
- Notify St. Petersburg Government;
- Obtain a QR code and display it where it can be seen as well as on their website;
- Ensure that each subdivision, branch, representative office, and head office have their own QR code.
Internal regulations providing for safety standards
Safety standards are required by state authorities to provide for the minimum conditions necessary for organizations and individual entrepreneurs to operate under COVID-19. Employers must set out safety standards consistent with their field of activity by drawing up internal regulations, familiarize all employees with these regulations, which should be signed by employees, and ensure that the requirements set out in these internal regulations are met.
Notices of resumption of work must be submitted through the website of St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center. Head offices must submit information about their representative offices, branches, and separate subdivisions (if any). To submit notices about separate subdivisions (branches, representative offices), organizations must send a completed form (download form) to email@example.com.
Organizations and individual entrepreneurs in St. Petersburg had until October 26 to send to St. Petersburg Committee for Industrial Policy Innovation and Trade a list of telephone numbers of employees over the age of 65 that had not been switched to remote work (without personal data) together with a justification of the reasons for not switching them to remote work. Organizations and individual entrepreneurs should have submitted this information using their account on the website of St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center. Any changes regarding the transfer of employees over the age of 65 to remote work must be reported within three calendar days by sending a new list of telephone numbers.
What is it? A QR code is a square matrix barcode that can be read by mobile devices. A link to the official resource of St. Petersburg Committee for Industrial Policy Innovation and Trade through which it is possible to find out at any time whether an organization/individual entrepreneur is allowed to operate will be encoded in each specific QR code issued to organizations/individual entrepreneurs.
Purpose. QR codes have been introduced to allow any visitors to check whether an organization/individual entrepreneur is allowed to operate in St. Petersburg and make it easier to report any violations as visitors need only to scan the code and send a message to report violations. When a QR code is available, this means that the organization displaying it has formally confirmed that it is willing to comply with safety standards. QR codes had already been used in St. Petersburg to identify authorized non-stationary retail points.
Deadline. Organizations have until November 1, 2020 to obtain new or replace old QR codes, and if an organization operates in several places, codes must be obtained for each place of business.
How to get them? All QR code requests ae processed by St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center in accordance with the procedure approved by an order issued by St. Petersburg Committee for Industrial Policy Innovation and Trade. Upon notification, St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center checks the information submitted as follows:
“Upon notification, St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center checks the following information:
- The number of employees in the organization (individual entrepreneur)
- working full time;
- working remotely;
- over the age of 65.
- Whether measures to ensure safe activities in the organization (individual entrepreneur) have been implemented, including by submitting photos confirming the implementation of safety measures in accordance with the criteria for lifting restrictions on the organization (individual entrepreneur).
- Whether the data provided is accurate and the organization (individual entrepreneur) strictly complies with safety regulations and requirements.”
The verification of information can take up to 3 working days, and a unique QR code will be issued within 1 working day of the verification of the organization (individual entrepreneur). If no QR code is issued, then the reasons for not issuing it will also be given within 1 working day. QR codes may be downloaded from online accounts, and their issuance is notified by email with which the online account is registered . St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center must also inform organizations that they must display their QR code “in a visible place accessible to consumers, including their website.” Parent organizations have been allowed since October 26 and now may centrally submit information about their subdivisions and obtain QR codes for each of them. If you have any questions about the submission of notices of resumption of work and employees over the age of 65, please email St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When can a QR code be canceled? A QR code may be canceled within 1 working day if an organization fails to meet the requirements in the safety standard checklist. St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center must notify of such cancelation. Safety standards and checklists may be viewed on the website of St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Development and Support Center. Safety checks are conducted incognito, and based on their results, organizations may lose their authorization to operate, and QR codes may be canceled. In such case, both subdivisions and head offices will receive a notice of QR code cancelation.
How to renew them? QR codes are renewed in the same manner as new QR codes are issued.
From October 1 to October 20, 145 authorizations for companies to operate were canceled and 67 were renewed.
The control over compliance with COVID requirements in St. Petersburg has been tightened since October 26, 2020. In case of violations, the authorizations to operate and QR codes issued to companies may be revoked. For example, the QR codes issued to several Diksi and Magnit stores as well as one of Sberbank branches were canceled as they did not observe face mask requirements.
Penalties and fines
Offenders may be subject to fines under Article 8.6.1 of the Law On Administrative Offenses in St. Petersburg if the actions (inactions) do not constitute a criminal offense and do not result in administrative liability under the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses:
- A fine from RUB 30,000 to RUB 40,000 for company officers;
- A fine from RUB 200,000 to RUB 300,000 for legal entities.
In case of repeated violations:
- A fine from RUB 40,000 to RUB 50,000 for company officers;
- A fine from RUB 500,000 for legal entities.
Sanctions under Article 20.6.1 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offenses may also apply:
- A fine from RUB 1,000 to RUB 30,000 for individuals;
- A fine from RUB 10,000 to RUB 50,000 for company officers;
- A fine from RUB 100,000 to RUB 300,000 for legal entities;
- A fine of up to RUB 1,000,000 for legal entities in case of repeated offenses, or administrative suspension of activity for up to 90 days.
Police officers as well as St. Petersburg government (including the employees of bodies under its authority) are entitled to draw up violation protocols.