Slovenia enters third pandemic lockdown

Ljubljana – Slovenia is going into its third lockdown in just over a year on Thursday, as it wants to buy time for vaccination and stem the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic, driven by the highly virulent British variant. The lockdown is planned until 11 April, with the exception of Easter Sunday, when up to two households will be able to socialise.

Schools will once again switch to remote teaching, while kindergartens will provide childcare for children of parents working in critical infrastructure only.

Once again, face masks will be obligatory outdoors, except during recreation in the natural environment.

People will be banned from leaving their region, barring exceptions such as going to work, providing aid or accessing diplomatic missions, among other things.

Outdoor hospitality, where allowed, will shut down again, and direct sales of goods and services to consumers will be banned baring several exceptions, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and florists, among others.

A gathering ban will be in place and people will be allowed to socialise only with members of their own household. All celebrations will be banned and a 10pm-5am curfew will remain in place.

Easter Sunday, celebrated on 4 April, will be an exception. People will be able to travel across the country to visit family. A maximum of two households will be allowed to socialise, but the total number of people above the age of 15 must not exceed six.

Museums, galleries, libraries and archives will also close today, events have been cancelled for the next 11 days and religious ceremonies will be held without the presence of worshippers.

While the government called on businesses to allow work from home wherever possible, the public administration will only provide essential services. Courts have cancelled all non-urgent hearings and notaries will only take clients with appointments.

Public transport will be running on holiday schedules, while ski lifts will not operate at all.

Leading up to the lockdown, many have expressed concerns. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry called on the government to expand the list of exceptions and allow more people working abroad to cross the borders and to provide childcare not only to critical infrastructure workers but also to parents who are very needed in their jobs.

Hauliers worry that the lockdown will leave toilet and other facilities at motorway resting places locked, as was the case in the first lockdown.

After border crossing restrictions were stepped up even further on Monday, Slovenians living in Italy called on the government on Wednesday to reopen several border crossings used by locals.