UPDATED: Measures will be lifted from April 19. What will open?

Slovakia will switch to the dark red tier. All shops and services will reopen.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

The government has confirmed that several measures will be lifted from April 19, as the country will switch to the dark red tier of its Covid automat alert system.

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It is possible that measures will be further lifted next Monday, April 26, as Slovakia has met the criteria to switch to the red tier. However, the situation still needs to be carefully monitored, stressed PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO).

These measures will come into force next Monday:

  • All shops and services can reopen. They will have to follow several restrictions, including having only one customer per 15 square metres while customers must show a negative Covid test result no older than 7 days to enter.
  • It will be possible to travel between districts again while travellers must have a negative Covid test result no older than 7 days.
  • Church services will be allowed, with one person per 15 square metres and a negative test result no older than 7 days.
  • Swimming pools can reopen for no more than six people, also with the condition of a negative test result no older than 7 days.
  • Hotels will be opened for people from one household or a maximum of two adults per room, and a negative test result no older than 7 days. Restaurants in hotels will remain closed.
  • Museums, zoos and botanical gardens will reopen for individual excursions and visitors with a negative test result no older than 7 days, with one person per 15 square metres.
  • Libraries will open for no more than six people.
  • People will still be required to wear masks and FFP2 respirators both outside and inside public buildings.
  • Home office will be recommended, not mandatory.
  • The schools will follow the regional alert system from April 26.
  • The regime at the borders and conditions of obligatory quarantine will change from April 19.

For now, the curfew rules remain the same. The potential changes will be discussed on Friday, April 16, said Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO).

New rules for wearing masks and respirators

Masks outside will not be obligatory as long as people are more than five metres apart or they live together in one household. Teachers and pupils do not have to wear a respirator, only a mask.

The Public Health Authority has revised the rules and their ordinance will be valid from April 19.

The new rules will also apply to people who have a chronic disease of the airways or a facial skin disease.

In addition, respirators do not have to be worn by employees who cannot do so due to their way of working or working conditions - but only after agreement between the employer and the employees' representatives. Until now, this was only possible on the basis of a statement from the occupational health service.

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No district in black tier

No district will be in the black tier from April 19. 27 districts will be in the dark red tier, 48 in the red tier, and the remaining four in the light red tier.

Despite the improving situation, the reproduction number has been growing. Thus, people need to be careful and adhere to the currently valid rules, such as wearing FFP2 or KN95 respirators inside buildings and at least masks outside, while trying to be out in fresh air as much as possible, politicians stressed.

The best weapon against the virus is vaccination, as said by Matej Mišík, head of the Institute for Health Analyses, operating under the Health Ministry.

Almost 20 percent of people in Slovakia have received the first Covid vaccine shot, and 7 percent have received the second shot as well. At the same time, 80 percent of people in nursing homes have been vaccinated with the first dose and 52 percent with the second dose.

Slovakia should receive 300,000 more Covid vaccines by the end of April. The first supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also expected in the coming weeks.

Read more about the coronavirus developments in Slovakia:

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