Emergency epidemic situation in the country until 14 June 2020 – measures and restrictions
Breaking Legal Newsletter | 19 May 2020
Currently Bulgaria is in a regime of an emergency epidemic situation, declared by Decision of the Council of Ministers No. 325 from 14 May 2020 for one month until 14 June.
The Act on Amendments and Supplements of the Health Act, which regulates the nature of the anti-epidemic measures after the abolishment of the state of emergency, was promulgated in the emergency issue of State Gazette on 13 May 2020. The originally proposed texts underwent some changes. According to the final version of the act, in the case of an imminent danger for the life and health of the citizens due to epidemic spread of a contagious disease, the Council of Ministers has the right to adopt a decision to declare an emergency epidemic situation for a certain period of time upon proposal by the Minister of Healthcare.
The final provisions of the act include important changes for businesses in acts such as the Act on Measures and Actions during the State of Emergency, declared by a decision of the National Assembly on the 13 March 2020, and Overcoming the Consequences (“The State of Emergency Act”), the Labour Code, the Social Security Code, etc.
- The term of the measure 60/40, introduced by the State of Emergency Act, is extended to 30 June 2020;
- For additional two months, the employers and appointing authorities shall have the right to assign unilaterally work from home to their employees. During this extended period, the employers shall also have the right to provide to their employees up to ½ of the paid annual leave without the employees’ consent;
- When an emergency epidemic situation is declared, the employers are entitled to the same rights and obligations as those applicable during the state of emergency.
- The unpaid leave up to 60 working days under Art. 160, para. 1 of the Labour Code used in 2020 shall be considered as work experience. The period during which the employee used unpaid leave for up to 60 working days shall be counted as contributory service for 2020 under Art. 9, para.2, item 3 of the Social Insurance Code.
- The terms that have suspended during the state of emergency, shall resume 7 days after promulgation of the amendments of the Health Act.
The Minister of Healthcare with Orders of 14 and 15 May determined the anti-epidemic measures that shall remain in force and the ones that shall be repealed during the current emergency epidemic situation.
All employers and appointing authorities, depending on the specific nature of the work, shall organize, if possible, a distant working regime to their employees - working from home or teleworking. If a distant working regime is not possible, the employers shall implement special mandatory anti-epidemic measures for the purpose of securing the life and health of their employees, e.g. disinfection according to an approved algorithm, non-admission to work spaces of persons with symptoms of respiratory diseases, special instructions, work organisation in such manner that a distance of at least 1.5 m between different persons is ensured, etc. If working with clients, facemasks or safety helmets are obligatory. Working with clients through transparent mechanical safety bulkhead is also permitted.
In addition, all natural and legal persons who own or/and manage sites of community importance* providing services to citizens shall:
- Organize their activity in such a manner that allows a distance of at least 1.5 m between the persons on the territory of the site to be kept- Provide hand sanitizer at the site entrance
- Organize the control of the site at entrance in order to insure that the requirement for minimum distance between persons is kept and people crowding is prevented.
The obligation for all citizens to wear a disposable or reusable protective facemask that covers the nose and mouth while being indoors in public places remains in force until 14 June. The facemasks are also mandatory at workplaces. In absence of a mask, scarves, towels, and similar means to cover the nose and mouth might be used.
As of 18 May 2020 the prohibition for visits at shopping malls is abolished, visits at gyms are also allowed in strict compliance with the restrictions prescribed in the order of the Minister of Healthcare.
The theatres remain closed, and no concerts and stage performances are allowed. The visits to cinemas, museums and galleries with a seat occupancy limit of up to 30% are allowed. The following prohibitions remain:
- visiting indoor restaurants and fast food establishments, as well as at entertainment and gaming halls, bars and nightclubs;
- conducting any organized group gatherings of over 10 (ten) people;
- conducting mass scientific events – conferences, trainings, etc.
In the period between 14 May and 14 June 2020 the national borders remain closed for all regardless of citizenship and means of transport. Exhaustively listed exceptions are provided. The obligatory 14-day quarantine for the persons entering the country’s territory remains in force.
*sites of community importance are all places publically accessible to all persons, such as public transport, commercial, sport and cultural sites, administrative sites, etc.
Deloitte Legal Law Firm remains at your disposal for further information and questions. Deloitte Legal Law emergency contacts:
- Attorney-at-law Reneta Petkova - Managing Partner, Banking and Finance, email: email@example.com
- Attorney-at-law Georgi Simeonov – Director, Tax practice, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attorney-at-law Zvezdelina Filova - Senior Manager, Labour and Commercial Disputes, email: email@example.com
- Attorney-at-law Miglena Micheva - Manager, Labour Law, email:firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attorney-at-law Kaloyan Yordanov - Manager, Commercial and Corporate Law, email: email@example.com
- Attorney-at-law Adelina Mitkova - Manager, Banking and Finance, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attorney-at-law Pavlin Stoyanoff - Manager, Energy and Resources, email: email@example.com