Want to open? You should test people, the prime minister suggests

Restaurants, fitness centres, swimming pools, schools and churches have been offered to participate in mass testing.

Many restaurants struggle as they are affected by stringent measures.Many restaurants struggle as they are affected by stringent measures. (Source: SME)

Businesses, institutions and other places that currently need to be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, like restaurants, fitness centres, swimming pools, schools and churches, could be reopened if they contribute to mass testing with antigen tests.

This idea was presented by PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) after his November 10 meeting with the representatives of the hardest hit sectors. The final decision should be made by Friday, November 13, the TASR newswire reported.

First testing in late November

This means that the testing with antigen tests would be organised by the communities that would like to reopen. The state would provide necessary material equipment and soldiers or police officers.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) can imagine that the next antigen testing would be organised by businesses and basic operation units. For example, the education sector would organise the testing, while the army would help with the supply of tests and logistics, he said, as reported by the SITA newswire.

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The representatives of schools, restaurants, hotels and fitness centres should meet with Matovič on November 12, and the final decision on the plan is expected a day later.

“With this joint effort, we could get more freedom,” the prime minister said, as quoted by TASR.

To keep them open, it will be necessary to repeat the testing once every three weeks. Moreover, only people with a valid certificate would be allowed to enter cinemas, theatres or swimming pools.

If approved, the first testing should be held in late November.

Restrictive measures as alternative

Marek Harbuľák, general manager of the Association of Hotels and Restaurants of Slovakia, can imagine this plan, saying the gastronomic units will do everything they can. However, the sector needs to learn about clear rules by the end of November.

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On the other hand, the owners of fitness centres wrote after the meeting that they expected some concrete state aid to be presented at the meeting, as reported by TASR.

If the proposal does not pass or the communities fail to secure enough testing sites, an alternative will be further restrictions and another nationwide testing if the number of infected people surges, Matovič said.

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