Slovakia opens to more countries; schooling will be available for older children too

The country is lifting more coronavirus measures and will cancel the state of emergency.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: TASR)

Slovakia is continuing to lift the measures adopted to stop the coronavirus pandemic from spreading.

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It will open to 16 more countries, which the group of experts consider safe, as of June 10 at 7:00. As a result, people coming from these countries will not be required to undergo quarantine nor take the COVID test.

Despite a more loosened regime, PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) still asks people to be careful and responsible when going and returning from abroad.

“Nobody wants the schools and operating units to be closed in mid-summer and order people to wear masks outside again,” he told the June 9 press conference.

Authorities are ready to continue monitoring the epidemiologic situation in both Slovakia and the neighbouring countries, said chief hygienist Ján Mikas.

Related article State borders between Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria are open Read more 

The group of experts also approved the gradual reopening of children’s corners in shopping centres and night clubs.

Moreover, they will open primary schools for sixth to ninth graders and secondary schools in late June.

Matovič confirmed that the state of emergency national emergency will expire automatically after the 90-day period set by the law, June 14.

What changes as of June 10

- Slovakia opens borders for the citizens of 16 more countries from 7:00, including Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland. All types of transport to and from these countries should be gradually restored. Please note that Slovakia still does not have bilateral agreements with all the above-mentioned countries, so it is recommended to check the conditions for entering these countries.

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- Quarantine will remain on a voluntary basis, starting on June 10 at 7:00. People who are currently at state quarantine facilities will be gradually released and sent to home quarantine. People who come from countries other than those that Slovakia has open borders with are recommended to take the COVID-19 test and stay in home isolation until they receive the results.

- The list of countries that Slovakia will open borders with may be updated every two weeks, Mikas admitted.

Related article Open swimming pools, no more special shopping hours, no big events until end of the year Read more 

- Wearing masks outside will be voluntary. However, people will still be required to wear them indoors, including in shops and public transport. As for workplaces, there will be some exceptions if there is only one person present or the distance between co-workers is more than 2 metres.

- Children’s corners and night clubs will reopen.

- The limit of people at some kind of cultural or other event increases to 500.

- It will now only be recommended (not ordered) to keep a distance of 2 square metres between customers or one customer per 10 square metres, and in the case of restaurants, a 2-metre distance must be kept between table corners.

Schools and kindergartens to prepare for changes too

- The free-time centres for children and youth and art schools will re-open on June 10.

- The limits for the number of children per group will be cancelled as of June 15. Moreover, individual groups will be able to interact with other groups. The return of children to schools and kindergartens will remain voluntary.

Related article The number of opened schools and kindergartens exceeded expectations Read more 

- Several other requirements will be cancelled as of June 15, including the mandatory measurement of body temperature when entering the building; it is now voluntary and only random, if there is any suspicion a person could have symptoms of the virus. Parents will no longer be required to bring a declaration about the health condition of their children. At the same time, the 10-minute maximum for staying in a school or kindergarten building or gathering in front of these buildings will be cancelled. Schools are recommended to publish a list of conditions under which children can be accepted to schools at the entrance. The schools will be able to remain open for a maximum of 10 hours.

- The pupils of sixth through ninth grades of primary schools and students of secondary schools will be able to return to schools on June 22, on a voluntary basis. The main objective is to close the school year, said Education Minister Branislav Gröhling (SaS).

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