Ban on travel outside of home municipality lifted as of Thursday

Ljubljana, 29 April - The government has lifted a ban on non-essential travel outside the municipality of residence starting on Thursday as Prime Minister Janez Janša announced Slovenia had achieved a turnaround in the fight against coronavirus that allowed it to gradually ease restrictions.

Prime Minister Janez Janša speaks to the press about topical issues related to the coronavirus epidemic.
Photo: Nebojša Tejić/STA
File photo

The restriction confining people to their home municipality except to go to work, seek emergency services or offer assistance to relatives was introduced a month ago to minimise the spread of coronavirus epidemic around the country and has been one of the most unpopular government measures, in particular in small and densely populated municipalities.

It was relaxed once already to allow people to do seasonal and maintenance work on property outside their home municipality.

Delivering a video address after a cabinet session, Janša said on Wednesday that the number of active infections had "dropped to the degree that allows us to adopt a plan of gradual lifting of restrictions in the foreseeable future", which he said was an "important stage victory in the fight against the epidemic".

The plan, adopted based on recommendations by health experts, is to be presented tomorrow. Janša said some of the dates in the plan were fixed, while others are merely indicative and necessarily so.

Under previously announced plans, businesses such as hair salons and massage parlours will reopen on Monday along with stores outside shopping centres that are under 400 square metres. Bar terraces will reopen as well. All businesses will have to adhere to strict safety rules.

Janša said the reopening was thanks to people complying with the rules, making Slovenia the most successful neighbour of coronavirus hotspot Italy. Such conduct "prevented hundreds of deaths as a consequence of Covid-19 and a collapse of the health system".

He said responsible behaviour would be required going ahead. "Only by consistently adhering to instructions issued by health professionals can we retain the number of infections at a level low enough to avoid new outbreaks of the epidemic and renewed restrictions."

"Slovenia is currently among the most successful countries in the fight against the epidemic. And this is thanks to you. Due to the rapid preparation of corona legislative packages, it is economically and socially among the least affected. Let's continue down this path," he said.

© STA, 2020