Starting today, Bulgaria introduces new restrictions

Public servants are being asked to switch to flexible working time, while restaurants and bars, gyms and cultural events will have to operate at reduced capacity

Photo: BGNES Stoycho Katsarov

Starting next week, new restrictions will be introduced in the country in response to the spread of the more aggressive Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, Minister of Health Stoycho Katsarov announced. According to him, restaurants and bars, gyms, cinemas, theatres and other public establishments will initially be operating at a capacity reduced from 50% to 30%.

However, much of the planned restrictions will not apply to vaccinated people. Katsarov explained that businesses that limit access exclusively to vaccinated and recovered individuals and whose staff has either been vaccinated or had Covid-19 will be exempt from the restrictions. The same will be true for theatres, cinemas and even stadiums.

“Whatever restrictive measures are imposed on open business entities, those will immediately be accompanied by assistance and compensation for the people whose livelihood or business have been affected. Establishments will have the option to limit access [to vaccinated and recovered individuals],” the minister assured. He believes that the government needs to take measures as the virus is spreading at an alarming rate, with the driving factors being large public gatherings and home parties.

Meanwhile, with an order issued late on Thursday, Katsarov instructed all public administrative bodies across the country to organise their day-to-day operations by introducing flexible working time starting anywhere between 7.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. and arrange for at least 50% of their personnel to work remotely, wherever the nature of their duties allow it. All other employers are advised to adopt the same measure.

This will significantly reduce the number of people using public transportation to commute to work – both within and between cities across the country – which will improve compliance with the measures intended to combat the pandemic and help health authorities monitor and control the situation.

Under the same order, starting 20 August, the requirement for certain sites/events to work at 50% capacity may not be imposed in the cases where 100% of the staff working at a given site is either vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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