Slovenians allowed to visit their holiday homes
Ljubljana, 18 April - After Slovenia managed to flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, the strict lockdown restrictions in place since mid-March are being eased somewhat this weekend. Limited movement of residents outside their municipality will be allowed, but restrictions to people's movement and gathering remain in place.
Apart from being allowed to go to work, shopping, access emergency services, do farm work and care for family members, Slovenians will from now on also be able to access private land outside their municipality of residence for purposes such as maintenance and seasonal works.
To do that, they will have to possess a printed statement published on the websites of the Interior Ministry and Information Centre, containing basic information on the person travelling, the purpose of the trip and its expected duration.
To avoid fines, individuals will also have to show documents proving they own the property or have the right to use it if pulled over by police.
Those travelling to another municipality will, however, not be allowed to use any local infrastructure or services there.
Tens of thousands of Slovenians have property in the countryside and the relaxation in effect means they will be allowed to spend time on properties that many use as holiday homes and where many grow vegetables.
The decision, which the government adopted late on Wednesday, marks the first significant easing of lockdown restrictions that were introduced on 20 March to contain the spread of coronavirus.
More will follow on Monday, when DIY shops, shops selling cars and bicycles, dry cleaners and some repair shops such as tyre replacement shops will reopen after being forced to shut down on 16 March.
Some forms of public transportation will also be allowed to help get people to work, and annual vehicle roadworthiness tests will resume.
Bearing in mind the usual precautions about safe distance between individuals, outdoor courts and fields will reopen for sports such as jogging, cycling, golf, yoga, tennis, badminton and boules.
Hair salons and beauty parlours are expected to reopen on 4 May.
The government started indicating last week that some easing was being considered since the growth in new infections had started to slow down, but it wanted to make sure the flattening of the curve of infections was sustainable.
The number of new infections in Slovenia has been steadily declining, but more importantly, the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and intensive care has been broadly flat and has so far not come close to the capacity of the health system.
The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Slovenia rose by 36 to 1,304 on Thursday, while the number of deaths increased by five to 66. The vast majority of the victims have been nursing home residents with multiple underlying conditions.