Masks outdoors, no mass events, special hours for seniors. Slovakia reintroduces strict measures

Secondary schools will start distance teaching.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme - Marko Erd)

After the surge in new coronavirus cases with several records being broken in the past two weeks, the central crisis staff decided to adopt several strict measures to contain the disease.

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“Unfortunately, Slovakia took the Czech path,” Health Minister Marek Krajčí (OĽaNO) told the October 11 press conference, referring to the surge in the new cases in the Czech Republic. To avoid the same scenario, he stressed the country needs to take radical steps.

The new measures will impact schools, restaurants, sports and wellness facilities, as well as mass events. Moreover, people will be required to wear masks again.

Most measures come into force on Thursday, October 15. Schools will have to adopt the measures on Monday, October 12.

The central crisis staff also plans to introduce a ban on gathering, but this proposal has to be approved by the cabinet.

The measures will remain in place until the 7-day moving median drops below 500. Currently, it stands at 1,037.

What comes into force on October 15

  • People will have to wear masks outdoors when in town and city centres or on the streets. Masks will not be required in forests and other natural surroundings if you are with others that live in the same household or can maintain a five-metre distance.
  • All mass events will be cancelled. An exception will be given to weddings, christenings and funeral. Top competitions in football, ice hockey, volleyball, basketball and handball will be exempt, but they will have to take place without an audience and all participants will have to test negative.
  • People will be banned from eating and drinking inside restaurants, cafés, bars, and similar facilities. These facilities will be allowed to provide takeaway or outdoor dining if they have outdoor seating.
  • Fitness centres, wellness centres, swimming pools, water parks and saunas will be closed.
  • The number of people in shops and shopping centres will be limited to one person per 15 square metres. Other hygienic measures, like keeping distance and disinfect hands and facilities, remain in place.
  • Special shopping hours for seniors above the age of 65 in grocery stores and drugstores will be reintroduced. The central crisis staff recommends they go shopping between 9:00 and 11:00.

Schools

  • Secondary schools will switch to distance teaching as of Monday, October 12, until further notice. Kindergartens and primary schools will continue to meet in person as usual. At eight-year grammar schools, in-person teaching continues for grades one through four.
  • All pupils at primary schools (including first-fourth grade) will be required to wear masks during classes. The only exception will be given to deaf pupils and pupils with autism or special needs.
  • Masks will not be required in kindergartens, but children are recommended to wear them. CAlso, children younger than three years of age will not be required to wear masks.
  • All school activities, like school trips and ski courses, as well as various extracurricular activities, will be cancelled.

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