Most districts are in red and light red tiers. Look at the measures valid from May 10

Find out which rules apply when crossing borders, wearing masks and respirators, and going to schools.

A shopping centre in Bratislava.A shopping centre in Bratislava. (Source: TASR)

Slovakia started opening up after the winter lockdown on April 19. Non-essential shops and some schools reopened, along with swimming pools, museums, galleries, libraries, zoos and botanical gardens. More restrictions were lifted a week later.

At the same time, people were allowed to travel between districts again, while new rules concerning travel across borders and wearing masks in public came into force as well.

Still, some rules remain valid, such as the stricter curfew in place after 21:00, the ban on travelling abroad for holiday, and the requirement to show a negative test result in certain cases.

Rules for curfew change from May 3, meaning that in some districts with better situation, people may, for example, visit each other during the day, which was not allowed previously. More measures were lifted a week after.

Here is a summary of the rules that are currently in place.

What is open?

All shops and services have reopened, but they have to follow several restrictions. Only one customer is allowed per 15 square metres. Special shopping hours for older and disabled people between 9:00 and 11:00 on weekdays have been scrapped.

Swimming pools can be open for no more than six people. In light red and red districts, they can be used by sports club from May 10, with capacity limitations:

  • light red tier: maximum of 50 people outside, 25 people inside (plus swimming and water polo);
  • red tier: maximum of 10 people both outside and inside.

Hotels are open for people from one household or a maximum of two adults per room. Restaurants in hotels remain closed.

Museums, zoos and botanical gardens are open for individual excursions and visitors. One person per 15 square metres is allowed.

Libraries are open for no more than six people.

Church services are allowed, with a maximum of one person per 15 square metres.

Restaurants, pubs, cafes and similar establishments are able to serve food and drinks on their outdoor terraces as long as they are not walled on more than two sides. Tables must be 2 metres apart. Visitors need to wear masks unless eating or drinking. More details here.

Fitness centres are open, but they can only let in six clients at a time. They are required to increase the frequency at which they clean and disinfect surfaces. Clients are not required to wear masks while exercising. More details here.

Under the rules that come into force on May 3, a negative Covid test no older than 7 days or confirmation of vaccination (in the case of mRNA vaccines, i.e. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, more than 14 days should have passed since your second dose, or in the case of the vector vaccine, AstraZeneca, more than four weeks should have passed since your first dose) or confirmation that one has recovered from Covid in the last 180 days will be required only in districts in the dark red tier.

People are allowed to return to the tribunes of five professional sports (ice hockey, football, handball, volleyball and basketball) from April 27. Their number cannot exceed 25 percent of the seating capacity, with a maximum of 2,000 people in the case of outdoor events, and 1,000 in indoor events. Two tests (a negative PCR or LAMP test no older than 36 hours and an antigen test no older than 12 hours) and a respirator are required.

Cable cars can be used again in light red and red tier from May 10:

  • light red tier: unlimited capacity;
  • red tier: one person or people from one household.
Special shopping hours end, some isolation rules change Read more 

Curfew rules

In red and light red districts, only the curfew between 21:00 and 1:00 remains in place, with the exceptions granted to people going to work, the doctor’s or a medical facility; those walking pets; those taking care of a relative or a close person; and those travelling abroad for other than holiday purposes. People going to work or travelling abroad need a negative test result (no older than 14 or 21 days) or a confirmation of vaccination (in the case of mRNA vaccines, i.e. Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, more than 14 days should have passed since your second dose, or in the case of the vector vaccine, AstraZeneca, more than four weeks should have passed since your first dose). A negative test result is also not required if you have recovered from Covid in the last 180 days. More details here.

This means that people in the red and light red tiers may, for example, visit each other during the day, which was not allowed previously.

In dark red districts, curfew remains in place between 5:00 and 1:00, with several exceptions (some require showing a negative test result or a confirmation of being vaccinated or recovering from Covid). Stricter curfew rules are in place between 21:00 and 1:00. More details here.

There is a ban on travelling abroad for holidays during any time of the day.

Changes to isolation

Starting on May 10, close contacts of people who test positive for Covid do not have to self-isolate if:

  • they have no symptoms and were vaccinated:
    • with an mRNA vaccine: at least 14 days after the second shot;
    • with a vector vaccine: at least 4 weeks after the first shot;
    • have recovered from Covid and were vaccinated with any vaccine within the following 180 days: at least 14 days after the first shot.

Schools

Schools are now following the rules for the tiers they are situated in.

In light red districts, all schools are open, and the same applies to art schools and language schools for group classes. Dormitories can reopen as well, following stricter conditions.

In red districts, kindergartens, all grades of primary schools, special schools, secondary health schools and the final years of secondary schools are open.

In dark red districts, kindergartens and grades one to four and eight and nine of primary schools, special schools, secondary health schools and the final years of secondary schools are open. Art schools can open for individual classes.

Pupils and teachers are allowed to wear masks rather than FPP2/N95 respirators inside the school buildings.

Starting on April 29, parents and their children will no longer have to show a negative Covid-19 test when going to school, kindergarten, special school, language school or entrance exams. The only exception will be schools in the black tier districts.

Teachers will be required to show:

  • a negative test result:
    • negative PCR or antigen test no older than 7 days for dark red- and black-tier districts;
    • negative PCR or antigen test no older than 14 days in red-tier districts;
    • negative PCR or antigen test result no older than 21 days in light red-tier districts;
  • or confirmation that you have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 180 days;
  • or confirmation you were vaccinated against Covid-19. In the case of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) more than 14 days should have passed since your second dose, or in the case of the vector vaccine, AstraZeneca, more than four weeks should have passed since your first dose;
  • or confirmation that you have recovered from Covid-19 and have been vaccinated up to 180 days previously with either a vector or an mRNA vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since your first dose;
  • or confirmation that you could not be tested.

Wearing masks and respirators

FFP2 or KN95 respirators are still required inside buildings, including shops.

People can wear masks outside and take them off if they are with members of the same household or if people from outside their household are more than 5 metres away.

Teachers and pupils do not have to wear a respirator in school, only a mask.

These 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 the nature of their work or working conditions - but only after an agreement is made between the employer and the employees' representatives.

Crossing borders

Everybody crossing the borders from February 17 has to register with the eHranica online form and self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

There are some exceptions for cross-border commuters and slightly different rules for people working in countries that do not border Slovakia, vaccinated people and people who have recovered from Covid. See more detailed rules here and here.

From April 19, new rules came into force for incomers who have been in the EU, or in Iceland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Switzerland or the UK in the previous 14 days and:

  • have been vaccinated (in the case of the mRNA vaccines more than 14 days need to have passed since their second dose, or in the case of the vector vaccine, AstraZeneca, more than four weeks have passed since their first dose);
  • have recovered from Covid-19 and were vaccinated up to 180 days previously with either a vector or an mRNA vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since their first dose;
  • or have recovered from Covid-19 within the last 180 days.

They still need to register with the eHranica online form, have a negative Covid test result (72 hours PCR, 48 hours antigen) when entering borders and enter isolation, but do not have to wait 8 days to take a PCR test in Slovakia in order to end their isolation.

An exception was also given to people who:

  • come to Slovakia to get married or to attend the funeral of someone close to them (this requires proof);
  • have permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia and cross the border to visit a foreign embassy accredited to Slovakia, located in the Czech Republic, Hungary or the Republic of Austria. This visit may not exceed 12 hours; in this case, a negative test for COVID-19 is not required.

From April 26, the distance limit for cross-border commuters from neighbouring countries changed from 30 to 100 kilometres. As a result, people who have permanent or temporary residence in the neighbouring state up to 100 kilometres from Slovak borders and who work in Slovakia, also up to 100 kilometres from the border, will not need to go into quarantine.

Several exceptions from isolation were added.

Cultural events

From May 3, cultural events for more than 6 people can be held in red and light red districts. This includes theatre performances, outdoor screenings, concerts and various audiovisual events, exhibitions and festivals, but not balls or open-air markets.

Cultural events are still allowed for a seated audience only. The permitted events include theatre performances, outdoor film screenings and other audio-visual performances; concerts, music and dance performances; art exhibitions; festivals and tours related to art and culture. Indoor film screenings (in cinemas etc.) and events for schools are still not allowed.

The number of people is limited to 50 percent of capacity, with the following restrictions (from May 10):

  • light red tier: maximum of 500 people outside, 250 inside;
  • red tier: maximum of 200 people outside, 100 inside.

Participants will have to show a negative PCR or LAMP test no older than 72 hours or an antigen test no older than 24 hours. They will have to wear a mask or respirator based on the current ordinance from hygienists.

Organisers will be required to keep the phone and email contacts of participants for two weeks after the event is held.

Conditions for holding events:

  • covered faces;
  • cannot be held for schools;
  • without the work with audience;
  • checkerboard seating recommended;
  • no refreshments indoors; if outdoors, tables need to be 2 metres far from each other;
  • disinfection at the entrance, frequent ventilation.

This article was first published on April 26, 2021.

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