Requirements for daily cross-border commuters simplified

Ljubljana/Ljubno ob Savinji – One day into the implementation of a decree that sets the public health rules for border crossing, the government has changed the decree to make it simpler for daily cross-border commuters and students, after complaints that the system was unsustainable due to insufficient testing capacity.

The changed rules that entered into force today required that cross-border commuters and students must provide a negative test no older than seven days, a requirement similar to than put in place by Austria that takes effect next week.

Under the changes expected to enter into force on Saturday, the negative test will only have to be submitted for arrivals from countries whose 14-day number of cases per 100,000 population is higher than Slovenia’s, government spokeswoman Maja Bratuša said Friday evening.

The same rules apply to EU and Schengen zone nationals who cross the border to help family, maintain contact with children, perform maintenance on property, and some other, smaller groups of exemptions.

The list of countries whose coronavirus statistics are worse than Slovenia’s is very short at present and includes only Spain, Portugal and Czechia. The list will be updated on a weekly basis, Bratuša said.

The decision comes after cross-border commuters living along the borders with Austria and Italy started complaining about potentially insurmountable hurdles, a point also raised by centre-left opposition parties.

In the Nova Gorica area in western Slovenia people lined up for hours today to get a free rapid antigen test before free-testing sites close for three days.

Slovenia has a bank holiday on Monday and those working or going to school in Italy on Monday would not be able to get tested on time otherwise.

Simon Vendramin, a senior member of the civil protection force in the region, said the local community health centre was overstretched and would not be able to handle large groups of daily commuters on top of all walk-in tests and regular testing of teachers each start of the week.

The changed government decree is to be published in the Official Gazette this evening and take effect today, according to Bratuša.