Business welcomes temporary easing of measures, urges precaution
Ljubljana - A temporary relaxation of some anti-coronavirus restrictions is a major step towards relaunching the economy, Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said on Monday, noting that rules and guidelines by medical experts should be heeded consistently. Business representatives welcomed the step and urged compliance with the rules.
The minister warned at today's government briefing that the epidemiological situation was still alarming. The government gave the green light to certain non-essential services, however strict prevention measures should be heeded, he said, adding that compliance monitoring would be stepped up.
Počivalšek believes that services providers as well as their customers will act responsibly to help improve the situation. "Without respecting the rules, it will be hard to contain the epidemic."
From tomorrow until 23 December, certain services such as flower shops, car wash services, dry cleaners, hair or beauty salons - with the exception of full-body care and piercing and tattoo services, will be available again.
In regions with the most optimal epidemiological status additional services will reopen, including car dealers, sports, clothing or shoe shops, however trying on these items will not be permitted, Počivalšek pointed out.
The number of customers remains capped at one person per 30 square metres. Tech stores remain closed.
The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) welcomed the easing of certain restrictions, expressing hope that the step would not be only temporary.
"The OZS is convinced that the step will contain undeclared work, leading to monitored activities and compliance with strict preventive measures," the OZS said.
"The government has also realised that closing services did not result in an improved epidemiological situation. Our arguments in favour of a different approach to contain the epidemic have landed on fertile ground."
The OZS is part of a group call for responsible conduct and heeding prevention protocols by employers' associations.
Apart from the OZS, today's appeal was issued by the Chamber of Commerce (TZS), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), the Employers' Association, and the Association of Employers in Craft and Small Business (ZDOPS).
If the situation further escalates, complete lockdown of non-essential services is on the cards, the organisations warned, urging employers to step up compliance monitoring and use rapid tests among workers.
The Slovenian Business Club also highlighted that the easing of restrictions was not a result of an epidemiological improvement and urged responsible conduct ahead and during Christmas holidays to protect lives, jobs and the freedom of movement.
Addressing today's briefing, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec commented on a restart of public transportation as of tomorrow. Services will run at reduced capacity and on holiday schedule, he said, adding that the step would boost residents' mobility ahead of the coming holidays.
The minister also urged consistent compliance with the rules. Public transportation will operate in line with public health recommendations, he said, highlighting hand hygiene, wearing face masks and maintaining physical distance as key measures.
Public transportation providers pointed out today that they were abiding by the rules. Drivers have to wear masks same as passengers and provide hand sanitisers, bus operator Nomago said.
All regular intercity or city lines will be relaunched as of Tuesday, Nomago said, advising passengers to buy tickets in advance. The operator has boosted its disinfection efforts and believes the measures have been successful so far. It said there had been no reports on infections stemming from public transportation.
Ski resorts are not banned from operating, Počivalšek said at the briefing, adding that they would be closed in the event of non-compliance with the rules.
Both ministers urged residents to heed the measures, use the contact tracing app #OstaniZdrav (#StayWell) and register for Covid-19 vaccination. They urged employers to provide a safe environment for their workers.
The government is to review the latest epidemiological developments on Thursday and set down restrictions for the holiday season in line with EU guidelines.