When will Slovakia open more shops? Will travelling to the sea be possible this summer? What will happen with summer festivals? Will children go to schools before the end of this school year?

Governments in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Denmark have started opening shops and plan to send pupils to schools; some will open restaurants and pubs before the summer. In Slovakia, the council of epidemiologists working for PM Igor Matovič (OĽaNO) is drafting the timeline for lifting measures, to be published on Monday, April 20.

Compared to neighbouring countries, Slovakia is behind in lifting the lockdown despite the fact that it has the lowest number of coronavirus infections, even in the per capita comparison.

Many European countries that have announced that easing the measures led to a drop in new daily COVID-19 cases at the turn of March and April. Slovakia has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases recently in some social services homes and among excluded communities, yet retains a very low day-to-day increase of cases.

The prognoses suggest that there might be fewer cases in Slovakia, but they will be spread over a longer period of time than in other countries, and easing the measures might be spread over a longer period of time as a result.
How the timeline of lifting the measures could look

Small and medium-sized shops outside shopping centres, outdoor terraces of restaurants and pubs under strict hygienic measures could possibly open by the end of June.

Fitness centres could reopen while their showers and locker rooms remain closed.

During the summer, if the number of new infections is low, hotels, swimming pools and wellness centres could open. Indoor restaurants, cafés and pubs are considered too risky.

Music and culture festivals, and cultural and sporting events will be the last to restart, probably no earlier than September.

Masks might remain obligatory and other hygienic measures could remain in place for many more months.

Source: Zuzana Krišúfková, epidemiologist

Crossing the border into Slovakia? Authorities announced new rules

Authorities have defined cross-border workers, exemptions from quarantine.

Cross-border workers will need to have their negative coronavirus test result at hand when entering Slovakia.

The requirement to prove they are COVID-19 free with a test no older than 30 days will become effective as of May 1. Chief Hygienist Ján Mikas informed of the updates to the measures applying to border crossings that the crisis staff approved on Friday.
Who are “pendlers”?

The cross-border workers, so-called pendlers, have been defined more properly as well. They are not required to go into state-run quarantine facilities after they enter Slovakia.

The Public Health Authority in its directive specified the definition of cross-border workers, or pendlers, as people whose home or workplace is up to 30 km road distance from the nearest open border crossing.

Persons who are exempt from the requirement to be quarantined in state facilities are required to show confirmation from a doctor. This goes for pregnant women and persons with limited orientation and movement abilities. They also need to show a COVID-19 negative test no older than 48 hours.

“Those who fulfil these conditions do not go into state quarantine but only into home isolation,” Mikas said. Those who are ordered to go into home isolation must inform their doctor about it. If they do not have a doctor in Slovakia, they should inform the doctor of the respective regional authority.

Who does not go into quarantine?

Health care workers with permanent or temporary residence in Slovakia working in hospitals in four regions in the east of the Czech Republic (Juhomoravský, Olomoucký, Zlínsky, Moravskosliezsky) are not required to be quarantined after their entry to Slovakia. They need a confirmation from their employer and a COVID-19 negative test no older than 48 hours. This measure is valid as of April 20.

The exceptions now also include people working in cargo transport (road, ships, trains) travelling to Slovakia using other means of transport. It is presumed that they are moving to the place in Slovakia from where they will conduct cargo transport. They need to prove this with confirmation from their employer.

Persons who enter and exit Slovakia with the aim of healing serious health conditions, the transit of police corps through the territory of Slovakia to fulfil tasks linked with EU membership and members of the Slovak armed forces and NATO, are also exempt from quarantine.

EU citizens transiting through Slovakia on their return to their home country, without stopping, are also exempt. This includes pregnant women and people with restricted movement as well.
Changes in the repatriation form

The crisis staff also assigned the Foreign Ministry the task of adjusting the repatriation form available on the ministry website. Under the planned rules, people returning to Slovakia should report their return 72 hours in advance.

“People who register and keep to the day and time and border crossing they stated will be handled as a priority,” PM Matovič informed as quoted by the TASR newswire.