QR codes are currently used in St. Petersburg to ensure compliance with sanitary regulations at various facilities. The St. Petersburg Center for the Development and Support of Entrepreneurship developed the QR code system upon instructions from the city government, according to the center's director, Kirill Pozdnyak, who spoke during a news conference on the hospitality sector during EURO 2020. By scanning a QR code at a specific facility, a visitor or local resident can check their compliance with safety restrictions and leave feedback for oversight bodies.
As many as 79,427 facilities in the city have already received their QR codes.
"They have the appropriate markings and a sufficient amount of sanitizers, they use personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and gloves, and they disinfect the premises as frequently as required. A facility applying via our website must submit a safety declaration and photographic proof. We check them and issue a QR code," Pozdnyak said.
He added that the facility's QR code must be clearly visible at the entrance. Any tourist or local resident can submit their feedback regarding compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. The St. Petersburg Center for the Development and Support of Entrepreneurship will process such feedback, and oversight bodies will conduct an inspection.
Additionally, new safety standards have been developed for the hospitality industry in St. Petersburg and approved by the WHO, the World Tourism Organization and the World Travel and Tourism Council. Chairman of the St. Petersburg Committee for Tourism Development Sergei Korneyev also spoke about this during the news conference.
"All the international experts gave feedback, saying that our standards comply with the current realities and regulations, which is the general trend around the world when it comes to safe travel," he noted.
Korneyev added that more than 1,700 organizations of the local hospitality industry are involved in the Safe Travels international awareness campaign.
"This has allowed us, working together with the hospitality sector, to keep St. Petersburg's infrastructure on alert and to maintain high standards. I hope that our visitors can feel this now, including the fans, the teams, the UEFA family and all other guests in the city and its hotels," the chairman of the tourism development committee said.
The hospitality industry in St. Petersburg has spent the entire past year in preparation for UEFA EURO 2020. Motivating staff to get vaccinated against COVID-19, among other measures, helped avoid major outbreaks among staff.
Sergei Korneyev also noted that last year, St. Petersburg Governor Alexander Beglov gave instructions to develop comprehensive support measures for the hospitality industry.
"All regional taxes that could be lifted in accordance with the municipal legislation were lifted for the travel industry last year and also this year, in order to develop the necessary infrastructure for EURO 2020. It was not clear at the time what turn the pandemic would take, but a political decision was made to support our hospitality sector as much as possible, and it has been implemented," Korneyev said.
The city officials' decision was upheld by the federal government.
"The Federal Agency for Tourism and our partners at Rostourism praised these measures as unprecedented, because as far as I know, no other region in Russia has done anything quite like this. So, this has allowed us, working together with the hospitality sector, to keep St. Petersburg's infrastructure on alert and to maintain high standards," Korneyev stressed.
Yekaterina Golovkova, an official representative of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) and head of the Healthy Diet project, said that the agency closely cooperated with UEFA and other federal and city agencies in the run-up to EURO 2020. On June 11, Head of Rospotrebnadzor Anna Popova personally inspected Saint Petersburg Stadium.
"Maximum measures were taken to ensure the celebrations and to comply with anti-epidemiological requirements at the same time," Golovkova stressed.