Open-air sections of cafes and restaurants to reopen

Bulgaria is ready to contribute €100,000 for developing vaccine against Covid-19

Open-air sections of cafes and restaurants as well as swimming pools will reopen, while individual sports activities will also be allowed, the checkpoints controlling intercity travel will be removed on 6 May, and driving schools will resume their work. PM Boyko Borissov announced the easing of restrictive measures during a briefing at the Council of Ministers with the representatives of the National Operative Staff and members of the cabinet.

As of 4 May, driving schools will be able to resume their work under the condition of strictly following protective measures - wearing masks, disinfection and distancing. Individual sports activities will be allowed too. PM Borissov reminded that as of today the mountain parks will be open as well. “Our only guiding principle is the number of the infected and the deceased,” Borissov said, adding that these measures will come as a whiff of fresh air and help spare people's psychological health.

At the insistence of Gen. Mutafchiyski, head of the National Operative Staff, the swimming pools will also reopen. The terraces of cafes and restaurants will again welcome their customers.

“We have to get used to living with the virus,” said the Prime Minister. As far as the open-air terraces are concerned, Gen. Mutafchiyski said that any measure imposed should be in agreement with the personnel training aimed at building up customer services culture. “Customers' safety must be guaranteed, tables have to be spaced out and personnel's shifts as well. There is no clear information about when the pandemic will end, and we will have to learn to live and work with it,” Gen. Mutafchiyski said further.

No decision has been taken about the work of spa hotels.

“The words 'state of emergency' provoke stress but currently the lawyers are working hard and assure me that there will be a new law that will help us change it,” Borissov also said. The measures undertaken by the government will be entered into a general law in order to ensure their further implementation. “The social, banking and anti-epidemiological measures will have to remain effective. A lot of restrictions will remain in force after 13 May too,” Borissov said.

There have been some controversies between the government and the Staff as regards kindergartens. “There are financially-based arguments in their favour but as early as the first day of the crisis we said that people's health and the hospitals' capacity are our priorities,” the Prime Minister reminded. He added that he will follow the developments in Europe concerning the reopening of nurseries and kindergartens and will then decide whether to reopen them. “There is no clear information as to nurseries and kindergartens, as to how they may affect the spread of the contagion. Children are exposed to lesser risk but they may pass the infection to other family members. When enough data is amassed worldwide, we will be able to reconsider this measure. We have no disagreements about the other measures or their easing,” Mutafchiyski added.

Borissov also said that on 4 May he and his colleagues from the European Commission will launch a fund aimed at collecting billions. “If the vaccine is developed we will contribute €100,000,” the Prime Minister explained.  

Health Inspector Angel Kunchev added that the people who have arrived from the Netherlands by air in recent days have been located and tested for Covid-19, some of them have tested positive. “The rest have been located and quarantined,” he assured.

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