Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Health Minister announces new rules on schools, restaurants, arrivals

Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Health Minister announces new rules on schools, restaurants, arrivals

Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov issued a series of orders on the night of January 26, governing changes to measures as the Covid-19 epidemic declaration in the country is extended to April 30.

These include orders on the system for the return to in-person classes for school pupils in the fifth to 12 grades.

From February 4 to 17, pupils in the seventh, eighth and 12th grades return to in-person classes.

From February 18 to March 2, pupils in the fifth, 10th and 11th grades return to in-person classes, while from March to 4 to 17, pupils in the sixth, ninth and 12th grades will attend in-person classes.

From February 1, visits to cinemas and participation in creative, dance and music classes are allowed, provided that no more than 30 per cent of capacity is used and physical distancing is observed.

Also from February 1, gyms may re-open, provided that no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the premises is used.

Restaurants and bars remain closed until February 28, although deliveries and takeaways for the home or office are allowed. The exception for restaurants in places of accommodation remains in place – meaning that they are allowed to serve registered guests.

From March 1, restaurants and coffee shops may open, but not discos, night clubs, piano bars, dance bars and night bars. The places that are allowed to open may not use more than 50 per cent of their capacity, there must be a distance of 1.5 metres between the backs of chairs on two adjacent tables and staff must wear protective masks.

From February 1, shopping malls and shopping centres may re-open in full, while under-18s may visit them only if accompanied by a parent, guardian or other adult.

From January 29 to April 30, all those arriving in Bulgaria must present a negative PCR test for Covid-19, done no more than 72 hours before arriving in the country.

Bulgarian citizens and those with long-term or permanent residence in Bulgaria and members of their families who do not present such a document must go into 10-day quarantine.

There are exemptions from the requirement, including for drivers of international buses, drivers of international lorries, crews of vessels and aircraft, border workers and those in transit through the country.

From February 1 to April 30, everyone in enclosed public places and public transport must wear a protective face mask. The same rules applies to open public spaces, where crowding cannot be avoided.

This means that it is no longer possible to use face shields or other means covering the nose and mouth instead of a mask, Bulgaria’s Health Ministry said.

Exceptions to the face mask rule apply to customers of eating and drinking establishments, people doing sport, children up to six years of age, and people speaking at seminars, news conferences and similar events, the ministry said.

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