Restrictions tightened under near-universal Covid pass mandate

Ljubljana – Nearly all employees and users of services will have to comply with the vaccinated-recovered-tested rule, known in Slovenia by its PCT acronym, under a new regulation which the government adopted on Saturday and which becomes effective on 15 September.

The new rules determine that all workers will have to be vaccinated, have proof of recovery no more than 180 days old, or test at least once a week, whereby PCR tests, rapid tests and self-testing are allowed.

The cost of testing will be covered by the state. Employers are allowed to sanction those who do not comply in accordance with regulations governing safety at work or employment relationships.

The requirement applies to all users of services as well, only they will have to pay for testing out of their pocket.

There are a handful of exemptions, including for children up to 12, persons who bring children up to grade three to school, those accompanying children up to 15 to the doctor’s, and students on public transportation.

The only industries in which the requirement is waived are grocery stores and pharmacies, unless they are located in shopping malls, in which case the rule applies to them as well.

Compliance will be checked by employers.

The mask mandate has been expanded as well.

Masks have long been mandatory in indoor public spaces and outdoor when it is impossible to have a distance of at least 1.5 metres. Now they are mandatory in cars if the riders come from multiple households.

Children up to age six are exempted everywhere as are persons with special needs who cannot wear masks.

In educational settings, masks are not mandatory for children up to grade five, during sports or music class, for kindergarten teachers, and university teachers when they speak from behind a glass panel.

Public speakers do not need to wear masks if a distance of up to 1.5 metres can be secured, and performers at cultural events do not need them either.

For indoor hospitality, masks are not required as long as patrons are seated.

With the vaccination rate persistently low albeit rising in the recent days, Slovenia has been relying on the PCT rules to stem the surge in infections while keeping businesses open.