By: P.T., STA
The government has decided that all stores will be allowed to reopen in Slovenia on Monday, while consumers will no longer have to produce a negative coronavirus test, whereas now this is required for several services. However, skiing will be an exception to this, with skiers required to produce a negative test no older than 7 days.
All retail services will be allowed without restrictions from Monday, Economy Ministry state secretary Ajda Cuderman told the press after the government session in Thursday.
While consumers will no longer be required to show a negative test, those working in retail, beauty and massage services, as well as hairdressers, will still have to get tested regularly.
So will staff in manufacturing, maintenance and installation, real estate, training and animal grooming services, which are now reopening. Apart from car shops, services are limited to 400 square metres of surface area, said Cuderman. Staff training will be allowed for up to 10 people.
Retail and service staff required to get tested, will get priority treatment in testing, the government decided today. Moreover, testing will be paid for by the state.
The restriction of one customer per 30 square metres remains in place in closed spaces and one customer per 10 square metres in open air markets.
The government also decided to loosen restrictions currently in place for ski lift operators. From Monday, skiers will be able to buy fares with a negative test no older than 7 days, whereas until now the test had to be no older than 24 hours.
Ski lift staff in direct contact with clients will also need to have test no older than 7 days, Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said.
Changes have also been made to the rules applying to taxi services and driving schools. Taxi drivers will have to be tested every three days, while driving school students will require a test no older than three days, whereas now it is limited to 24 hours. The rules remain unchanged for driving school instructors, who need a test no older than three days.
Moreover, the minister said changes are planned for public transport, as schools will once again reopen on Monday. “When schools open, public transport will run flawlessly.”
Those who have recovered from Covid-19 will not have to get tested for six months and will be able to access services with a doctor’s note. Negative tests will also not be required for those who have been vaccinated.
“This is important, considering that we have at least 200,000 people who recovered from Covid-19,” said Vrtovec.
The Chamber of Craft and Small Business (OZS) welcomed the loosening of restrictions for services, above all the abolishment of tests for customers, noting that many beauty salons did not reopen while this requirement was in place.
Primary schools reopening
Primary schools throughout the country will fully reopen on Monday after almost four months of closure. Final year secondary school students will also return to school and exams will again take place at the university level along with seminars for up to 10 students, a government official said on Thursday.
Primary schools will reopen in the western half of the country for about 107,000 pupils, while 83,000 pupils from the eastern half of the country will start a one-week winter holiday, Education Ministry State Secretary Damir Orehovec told the press.
Some 6,000 teachers will thus also return to schools.
Strict safety measures will be adhered to at schools. Pupils will not be leaving their classrooms for different lessons to avoid contacts outside their class. Schools also are urged to organise school meals in a way to minimise contacts outside the bubbles.
No other activities will be organised at schools, and excursions and swimming and other additional lessons have been cancelled. However, individual music and art lessons will be allowed.
Some 11,000 high school students in the final year are also expected to return to their classrooms next week as are 655 students of vocational schools. Practical classes for secondary school students and adult education will be allowed again.
Exams will again take place at the university level along with seminars for up to 10 students. The same exceptions will apply for student dormitories.
Universities have already welcomed the changes. Ljubljana university chancellor Igor Papič sees this as an important step forward, which however is not essential, as the exam period ends this week and the summer semester begins next week. Still, the changes are welcome as universities will have to make up for the last three months, he told the STA.
Maribor university chancellor and the head of the Chancellors’ Conference Zdravko Kačič said the possibility of assembly of up to ten people would enable them to organise courses to make up for any backlogs and conduct exams with up to 10 students.
There will be no changes for kindergartens and the first three grades of primary school, which are already open. According to Orehovec, kindergartens had 74% of the children there this week and the first three grades 90%.
As of Monday, non-contact sports will be allowed again for up to 10 people if the two-metre distance can be maintained at all times. Exercising will no longer be limited to families or individuals.
Schools and universities were first closed on 16 March last year when the Marjan Šarec government declared an epidemic. Pupils returned to school after two months of remote learning. On 18 May, the first three grades returned to school along with the final year secondary school students.
A week later the final year primary school pupils returned to their classroom, and than gradually all other grades. Secondary school students remained at home until the end of the school year.
The new school year started on 1 September as usually but schools were forced to switch to remote teaching soon. On 19 October, pupils from up to 6th grade could no longer go to school, and after the autumn break all other pupils staid home as well.
As the epidemiological situation in the country finally improved somewhat, the first three grades of primary school reopened in the regions faring the best on 26 January and also in other regions this Tuesday.