Mix of relaxed, tightened restrictions planned for Christmas
Ljubljana, 19 December - A mix of relaxed and tightened restrictions is planned for Christmas under a roadmap that the government unveiled on Saturday. Restrictions will be relaxed or tightened depending on the epidemiological situation and may be extended into the New Year's holiday.
"The government has assessed that we've lived with the currently applicable measures long enough and that we are increasingly aware how important they are to protect the lives of those most vulnerable and to beat the epidemic," government spokesman Jelko Kacin told the press after a government session on Saturday.
Kacin said this is why the government opted for a "gradual, controlled relaxation" of individual measures.
One of the linchpins of the plan is the complete closure between 24 December and 4 January of all services activities where there is direct contact with consumers; if the epidemiological situation does not improve, the closure will be in effect until 10 January.
The same applies to shops, with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, shops selling medical devices, petrol stations, postal and delivery services, selected therapeutic services, and deliveries of food or other goods.
Under this plan, the first three grades of primary school would open from 4 January assuming the epidemiological situation improves. The same goes for kindergartens.
On the relaxation front, the complete ban on gatherings will be eased on 24 and 25 December to allow up to six persons from a maximum of two households to gather privately. The person limit applies to those aged over 15.
On those two days, between noon on 24 December and 8pm on 25 December, people will also be allowed to leave their municipality and region for visits.
If the epidemiological situation improves or remains stable, the same regime would apply on 31 December and 1 January.
All other restrictions remain in place, including the ban on public gatherings and prohibition of the sale and use of fireworks.
The government also issued an appeal to companies to decree remote work or collective leave if possible between 24 December and 10 January.
Kacin said the relevant decrees will be released in the coming days.
The announcement comes after the daily case count declined substantially on a week-to-week basis for the seventh day in a row and the number of people in hospital fell to a one-month low.
Outside the Christmas measures, one more region, Primorsko-Notranjska, has been added to the four statistical regions with the lowest incidence of new cases where more shops are allowed to open, including clothing and footwear stores.