New Restrictions to Be Introduced, Starting December 11

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A stock photo by TASR

Bratislava, December 9 (TASR) – Companies with staff above 500 will be required to test their employees regularly for COVID-19 as of December 28, Health Minister Marek Krajci (OLaNO) announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

As of December 14 the conditions for hotels, ski lifts and cable cars will be tightened. A negative test result for novel coronavirus not older than 72 hours will be required.

All stores in Slovakia will close as of December 21 except for grocery stores, pharmacies and drug stores. The measure is to stay in effect for three weeks at a minimum. Schools will be closed for Christmas break due to begin on the same day.

Outdoor seating areas at restaurants will be shut down as of Friday, December 11, with restaurants only allowed to sell take-away meals, announced Chief Hygienist Jan Mikas.

Ski resorts, hotels and other operations at these resorts will remain open, but under more stringent conditions that the Ministry of Transport and Construction agreed on with the expert consilium, transport minister Andrej Dolezal (We Are Family nominee) stated at the press conference. As of December 14, visitors to ski resorts will need negative COVID-19 tests not older than 72 hours.

Lockdown will be in force for at least three weeks in each district throughout Slovakia, added Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO).

In regions with the worst epidemiological situation, lockdown may last by several weeks longer. The premier announced that the Health Ministry and the Public Health Office will present a system to govern the reopening of districts.

Churches, cinemas and gyms will stay open with the same restrictions they operate under presently, confirmed Mikas. He called for strict compliance with the measures in place.

New restrictive COVID-19 measures won’t lead to Slovakia shutting down its borders to people travelling into the country from abroad, stated Matovic.

The reason behind this is that Slovakia “rested on its laurels” and hasn’t managed to maintain the lead it acquired by virtue of the mass testing for COVID-19. “If we had gone really hard at it, we would have enjoyed paradise on Earth and the best situation in Europe, but instead we have begun to cast doubt over the mass testing, which led us to the place we’re now,” he stated. “Our situation is worsening, whereas other countries are improving. I see no reason now to stand in the way or restrict, for instance, those coming here from the Czech Republic.”