Emergency Epidemic Situation in Bulgaria: What is Allowed

Health | May 14, 2020, Thursday // 10:00|  views

What legislative changes were introduced?

Bulgaria’s Parliament on May 12 approved at second reading the amendments to the Health Act, according to which after the end of the coronavirus state of emergency on May 13, an epidemic emergency situation may be declared, without setting a specific deadline, by a decision of the Council of Ministers on the proposal of the Health Minister and based on analysis of the existing epidemic risk performed by the Chief State Health Inspector.

The previous draft of the amendments gave the power to declare epidemic emergency to the Health Minister, at the recommendation of the chief state health inspector.

According to the new amendments, emergency epidemic situation can be declared with 8 clear criteria and if there is a serious danger to human life and health from infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

The fines for violating anti-epidemic measures and for non-compliance with the quarantine remain unchanged after the end of the state of emergency on May 13. People who do not comply with the introduced anti-epidemic measures will be fined between 300 and 1,000 BGN. In case of repeated violation, the fine will be between 1,000 and 2,000 BGN. A person suffering from a contagious disease, as well as a contagious carrier, who refuses or does not fulfill
the mandatory iisolation and/or treatment, will be subject to a fine in the amount of 5,000 BGN.

The 14 day obligatory quarantine for people entering Bulgaria remains in place. A contact person of a patient with a contagious disease, as well as a person who has entered Bulgaria from other countries, who refuses or does not fulfill the obligatory quarantine, will also be subject to a 5,000 BGN fine.

The duration of most of the social and economic measures introduced during the state of emergency to support the business and protect jobs will be extended. The 60/40 measure (for sharing the cost of staff salaries between the state and employers) will be in place until June 30.

60 days of unpaid leave for this year will be considered work experience. Until now, 30 days of unpaid leave per year were considered as work experience

There will be no external assessment exams for 4th and 10th grade.

In 2 weeks it will be clear when kindergartens will be able to open.

What sanctions remain in place?

With the changes in the Health Act, some of the measures that were valid during the state of emergency will remain in force for two more months - until July 13.

Among them is the possibility for the army to have police functions to check people, as well as the ban on imposing distraints. For municipalities this will be until the end of the year.

The possibilities for online meetings of state and local authorities remain in effect and for reducing the rents of state and municipal property.

Export of medicines will be banned for 2 more months.

There is also the possibility not to conduct public procurement when purchasing protective equipment and medical equipment.

The Minister of Health will have the power to order mandatory isolation of coronavirus patients in hospitals or at home, as well as quarantine of contact persons and persons who entered Bulgaria from other countries.

What is allowed?

By orders of the Minister of Health, rules for the work of open-air restaurant gardens and spaces were introduced, requiring strict disinfection and a distance between the tables of 1.5 metres.

The order also allowed work of swimming pools, individual and team sports for amateurs in the open air, without competitive nature such as football, basketball, volleyball, provided the anti-epidemic measures are adhered to.

An order of the health minister also allowed the re-opining of museums, galleries and libraries, provided that the social distancing requirements and all anti-epidemic measures are adhered to./ BNT

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