By: P.T., STA
The Slovenian government has decided to suspend the current regional approach to coronavirus restrictions and move the entire country into the red tier, meaning that kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school will be open across the country next week.
The news was announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Janez Janša, who noted that differences between regions had been significant only weeks ago, but now the incidence of new coronavirus cases had converged.
The tier classification affects not just school opening but also business. Janša said the government would meet representatives of business this evening to discuss the potential scope for reopening.
At the moment, essential stores as well as stores selling children’s equipment are open for in-person shopping in red-listed regions. Museums, galleries and libraries are open as well, as are ski resorts.
Under the decrees issued by the government, museums, galleries and libraries throughout the country can open on Friday, while ski lifts can start operating across the country on Saturday but only for skiers with a negative coronavirus test.
The current strategy lists several more types of businesses that may be slated for reopening in the red tier, including DIY stores and stores selling sports goods.
Janša said the talks with businesses would revolve around which businesses could reopen safely under the condition that customers get tested.
Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek, a deputy prime minister, said the currently shut businesses were ready for reopening and wanted to work, but this had to be done safely.
“We can’t ignore the fact that we’re still in a deep crisis and that opening across the board would do more harm than good,” he said.
Janša as well as Počivalšek and Defence Minister Minister Matej Tonin, who is also deputy prime minister, highlighted the importance of rapid testing despite recent concerns about the efficacy and reliability of tests.
Janša said the government regretted “attempts to discredit this measure” without a realistic comparison with other countries and noted that it had been clear from the outset that rapid tests were not as sensitive or reliable as PCR tests.
Tonin stressed that rapid testing had the potential to “significantly contain the spread of the virus” in that those who test positive can isolate and stop the chain of infections.
He also said it was important that the government stick to the five-tier plan, which he said provided “reliability and clarity”.
The government decrees released today affect kindergartens, schools, museums, galleries and libraries. A decree determining which businesses may open has not been released yet.