Temporary easing of restrictions as of Tuesday

Ljubljana – The government has decided to temporarily ease some restrictions starting on Tuesday. Some services will resume nationwide, some will be limited to four regions with the best epidemiological situation, Prime Minister Janez Janša announced on Twitter on Sunday. The new measures will apply until 23 December.

Nationwide, public transportation will restart in limited fashion, which means up to half capacity. Gondolas will be limited to one person or one family, according to Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec. Hair salons, flower shops, car washes and dry cleaners will be allowed to reopen.

In four regions with the best epidemiological situation – Central Slovenia, Goriška, the coastal Obalno-Kraška region and Gorenjska – footwear, apparel and sports equipment shops as well as car dealerships will open.

Moreover, in these four regions individuals using the national exposure notification app #OstaniZdrav will be able to move between municipalities despite the general ban on inter-municipal movement.

Janša said the government was keeping an eye on the capacity of the health system and the 7-day rolling average of new infections by statistical regions.

“This is why there may be changes in individual regions,” he said on Twitter, noting that changes could go either way.

On Thursday the government plans to analyse the latest statistics and determine the restrictions regime during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, he said.

Janša thanked health workers “and everyone heeding restrictions and protecting health and lives”. “With your help we managed to stop the epidemic before it would exceed the capacities of our health system”.

The announcement comes after the government held separate meetings yesterday with representatives of the medical profession and business in a bid to gauge whether and to what extent is could relax the nearly two-months long lockdown.

Prior to the meetings, health experts indicated they were opposed to any relaxation of restrictions given the number of Covid-19 patients in hospital, whereas businesses were pushing for the opening of as many types of businesses as possible, albeit in exchange for strict precautionary measures.

Slovenia has had fairly high numbers of new infections and one of the highest mortality rates in the world in recent weeks, but the epidemic has been plateauing for over a month at roughly 20,000-21,000 active cases.

Slovenia’s twelve statistical regions have a seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants from 349 to 843, according to the latest data released by the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ). The four most favourable regions are in the 349-395 range.