Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister issues anti-epidemic rules for summer season

Bulgaria’s Tourism Minister issues anti-epidemic rules for summer season

Bulgarian Tourism Minister Mariana Nikolova issued on March 15 a 14-page document detailing the rules for containing the spread of Covid-19 during the summer tourism season, which the current government says will officially open on May 1.

“The goal is for all tourist places to introduce the same practices to ensure the health and safety of tourists and for Bulgaria to defend its status as a healthy and safe destination,” the Tourism Ministry said.

The ministry said that the measures were in line with the Health Minister’s anti-epidemic measures and apply to all public places as defined in the Health Act, and must be observed in all types of tourism, from seaside, mountain, cultural, health and adventure, to hunting and golf.

“If necessary, the measures will be changed or supplemented depending on the epidemic situation,” the Tourism Ministry said.

The measures cover places of accommodation and catering establishments, adjacent to them or stand-alone, as well as the procedures in the event of it being suspected that a guest has new coronavirus, as well as the procedure for transfer of tourists and organised tourist bus tours.

On beaches that have lifeguards, beachgoers must maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other.

In free-of-charge beach zones, there may be two people or the members of one family every 20 square metres.

Each umbrella may be used by no more than two people or one family.

In beach zones where services must be paid for, there may be no more than one umbrella every 20 square metres, and the same rule applies, that each umbrella may be used by no more than two people or one family.

At beaches, the anti-epidemic rules must be signposted in Bulgarian and at least one foreign language.

The rules say that protective masks must be worn in indoor public places.

At places such as hotels, restaurants and bars, there must be a sign at the entrance specifying how many guests may be admitted.

In reception areas, there should be no more than one guest per three square metres, unless they are members of the same family.

If it is suspected that a guest has new coronavirus, that guest should be moved to a room readied in advance. The guest must be provided with a mask and given the opportunity to be examined by a doctor, as well as provided with hand disinfectant.

One member of staff, and not different employees, must be assigned to take care of the guest. This staff member should apply standard precautions such as hand hygiene and the wearing of a protective mask.

The hotel itself would not be quarantined, while the regional health inspectorate may order additional measures depending on the situation.

The rules also include a provision that the place where the guest stayed, after the guest is isolated or transported, must be disinfected.

In the case of tourist transfers and organised bus tourist packages, the respective carrier must arrange anti-epidemic measures. If possible, windows should be open while tourists are being transported. Stickers regarding compliance with anti-epidemic measures must be affixed to the vehicle.

The document sets out a number of recommendations for guests at places of accommodation.

These include maintaining a distance of 1.5m from anyone who is not a member of your family, wearing a protective mask indoors – in corridors, lifts, lobbies, with an exception for eating and drinking.

“If you do not have a face mask, contact the staff to get one for free,” it says.

“Whenever possible, pay by card, online or other contactless way,” the document says, elsewhere making the same recommendation for paying in restaurants and bars.

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