Border checks prolonged until late June (news digest)

State to help pay rent and provide aid to tour operators.

This is your overview of news from Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

Coronavirus in Slovakia

  • One person was positively diagnosed with the coronavirus in Slovakia on May 19, increasing the total number to 1,496. Altogether 28 people have died. More detailed coronavirus statistics here.

  • Slovakia has progressed on its way out of the anti-coronavirus measures (this is what the fourth phase is like). As of Wednesday, May 20, shopping centres can open and restaurants can serve clients inside. See what it looked like in Slovakia today:
  • The government will specify whether fitness centres can open on June 3.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová signed the law that introduces special ambulances for COVID-19 patients. The law also regulates the opening of mobile testing sites.
  • Border checks on Slovakia's borders with Austria, Czechia, Poland, and Hungary will continue until June 26. The government approved the directive by the Interior Ministry on Wednesday. (Sme)

Bratislava was almost deserted when the pandemic broke out. People were serious in observing the anti-epidemic measures. The capital has become a leader in introducing measures to prevent the spread of the infection among homeless people.

Health Minister Marek Krajčí praised Bratislava for coping with the pandemic.

News from judiciary

  • The Supreme Court named a new head. President Zuzana Čaputová appointed Ján Šikuta for the post, which had been vacant since October.
  • Bratislava Regional Court Judge Peter Šamko published the entire Threema communication from Marian Kočner, which the court read as evidence in the Kuciak murder trial this week, on the Právne Listy website. The judge argued that since part of the communication has been leaked to the media and published selectively, he considers it to be in the public's interest to be published in its entirety.

Economic measures to cope with COVID-19

  • Slovaks do not mind if shops remain closed on Sundays, with 59 percent of those polled saying they would definitely agree with that, while 21 percent rather agree, according to a 2muse agency poll that took place between May 5-7 on 1,000 respondents. (SITA)
  • Economy Minister and deputy PM Richard Sulík proposed an amendment on tours to alleviate the negative impact of the coronacrisis on travel agencies. Consumer organisations called it discriminatory and in violation of EU rules. (SITA)
  • The government came up with the much-awaited system of state aid for rental payments. The system follows three models: if the owner provides a discount of 50 percent for the tenant, the state will pay the remaining 50 percent; with a 20-percent discount the state will pay the same portion and the tenant will pay the 60 percent in instalments over 48 months; and if the owner does not provide a discount, the tenant can pay the rent in instalments within 48 months. (Sme)

Unemployment on the rise

  • The unemployment rate increased to 6.57 percent, up by 1.67 percentage points in the year-on-year comparison, based on the data from labour offices. See the development of the unemployment rate on this Sme daily graph:

  • Embraco, an industrial production company in Spišská Nová Ves which employs some 2,200 people, reported a mass layoff. They plan to lay off 200 people between June and October this year.

Environmental news

  • Bratislava Region demands that the Bratislava-Schwechat oil pipeline, which is supposed to run through the Protected Water Management Area Žitný Ostrov, be removed from the list of potential joint interest projects in the area of oil infrastructure.

More from today:

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