Ministers Vrtovec and Hojs and State Secretaries Cuderman and Orehovec present latest Government decisions
- Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)
Mr Vrtovec began the press conference by announcing the Government’s decision that from Monday (15 February) skiers will be allowed to take to the slopes on presentation of a negative coronavirus test that is not more than seven days old. Until this amendment, the test could not be more than 24 hours old. It is, however, important to observe measures such as social distancing when queueing for ski lifts. With the reopening of schools, public transport will return to the regular weekday timetable.
As with skiers, in the case of driving schools an amendment is introduced by which driving instructors and learner drivers must be in possession of a negative test that is not more than three days old. The same applies to taxi drivers when providing taxi services.
A new rule is introduced regarding the submission of proof of a negative coronavirus test, in that individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are not required to undergo testing in the period from 21 days to six months following a positive test. Testing is likewise not required for those who have already been vaccinated. The exemption regarding proof of a negative test also applies to children under 12 who are accompanied by their parents.
The Ordinance on the temporary suspension of the sale of goods and services to consumers that is currently in force is extended until Sunday, 14 February. For the most part, the additional new Ordinance, which will be in force from Monday, 15 February, maintains the same exceptions as the current Ordinance while also introducing a number of changes. Ms Cuderman confirmed that the new Ordinance allows the reopening of all commercial activities.
The Ordinance introduces a number of minor changes:
- the exception regarding the sale of agricultural produce on farms will henceforth be covered by the exception regarding the collection of goods and food in person at pick-up points, where testing of employees is not required,
- in the case of professional or business education and training services, the new Ordinance provides that these may be attended by up to 10 people, following the lifting of the ban on gatherings,
- one activity that was previously explicitly listed among the exceptions, namely the sale of goods at outdoor markets, is henceforth included under the indent on commercial activities.
In the case of the provision of services, the same restrictions on the permitted number of customers per square metre (one customer per 30 m2 or a limit of one customer if the premises are smaller than 30 m2, and one customer per 10 m2 in the case of outdoor markets) continue to apply. In the case of the provision of educational services, the restriction of gatherings to a maximum of 10 participants shall be observed.
The biggest change in the new Ordinance is that it no longer requires consumers or customers to submit a negative test result in order to access certain services.
It does, however, envisage two categories for the provision of activities. The first category does not require a negative test for providers, while in the second category a test is obligatory.
Exceptions where a test is not required remain unchanged, while the following services are also added to the same category:
- distance selling of goods and remote supply of services,
- preparation of food and beverages in the case of delivery,
- preparation and service of food and beverages in organisations that provide a catering service for their employees or clients.
The second category, where a test is required for providers or employees, includes a partial amendment regarding the personal hygiene sector, where all such services, including hairdressing and pedicure services, are now included among the exceptions that require testing for the provider.
Accordingly, the second category, in which the conditions of obligatory testing and the submission of a negative test result for providers or employees continue to apply, now includes:
- the performance of commercial activities as regulated by the law governing trade,
- other repair shops with an area of up to 400 m2 and manufacturing, maintenance and installation services,
- property brokerage services,
- personal hygiene services (e.g. hairdressing services, cosmetic treatments, pedicures, manicures, body care salons),
- professional or business education and training services (e.g. tutoring, language schools, professional workshops) for up to 10 people,
- services in pet care salons.
Employees may now present the following in place of a negative result from a rapid antigen test or PCR test:
- proof that they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, on condition that at least seven days have passed since receiving the second dose of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine, at least 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of the Moderna vaccine, or at least 21 days have passed since receiving the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and that no more than three months have passed since the passing of the respective number of days specified for each individual vaccine.
- proof of a positive result from a rapid antigen test or PCR test where a minimum of 21 days and a maximum of six months have passed since the swab, where the individual is able to prove that they have recovered from the disease and acquired immunity, or certification from a doctor that the individual has recovered from COVID-19 and that no more than six months have passed since the onset of symptoms.
A screening protocol will be introduced for employees in the commercial sector, similar to the one in place for employees in education. The state will reimburse the costs of testing.
Mr Orehovec had some good news for primary school students: a total of 107,227 primary school students and around 6,000 teachers in western Slovenia will be going back to school next week, while 83,820 primary and secondary school students in eastern Slovenia will be beginning their winter holiday.
The following provisions will apply to primary schools:
- all teaching will take place in a single group or bubble that is the same as the students’ class,
- both class teaching and subject teaching will take place in students’ own classrooms. Students will not change classrooms,
- activities which are not part of a school’s programme and which are provided by external providers will not take place in indoor school sports facilities.
Next week a total of 11,000 students in the final years of secondary education will also return to class, along with 655 students enrolled in lower vocational education programmes. School premises and workshops will be open for the provision of practical instruction to secondary school students and around 100 participants in adult education.
There will also be a partial relaxation of measures in technical colleges and higher education institutions, where the amended Ordinance now permits the holding of exams and seminars for up to 10 participants. Individual teaching is now permitted in arts gymnasia and music schools.
There are no changes with regard to preschool education. Nursery schools are open as usual and the national nursery schools association reports that approximately 74% of nursery-age children in the country are currently attending nursery schools.
In the field of sport, from Saturday onwards contactless training will also be permitted once again for those registered athletes not previously included among groups with exemptions. Contactless training can take place individually or in groups of up to 10 athletes consistently maintaining a distance of at least two metres from each other. Sports training may take place in safe training groups or bubbles. Contactless sport and recreational activities that are carried out individually or in groups of up to 10 participants are also permitted once again, provided a distance of at least two metres between participants is maintained at all times.
Mr Hojs announced that the Government has confirmed that restrictions of travel between municipalities and regions will no longer apply, and that movement throughout the entire country will be permitted from Monday, 15 February. The night-time curfew remains in force, as is the case in the majority of European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia. Most European countries have already lifted restrictions on movement between regions. Slovenia will be joining this group from Monday.