Newsletter March 2020

  • 24/03/2020 22:27
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The state of emergency in the Republic of Bulgaria regarding the coronavirus threat was announced on 13 March. Only three days later - on 16 March, the National Assembly has received a draft law on measures during the state of emergency. It provides for a number of restrictions to ensure the prevention, limitation and control of the spread and infection of the COVID-19 virus for the period of 13 March until the end of the state of emergency.

Basically, the epidemic measures are as follows:

  • Visits to amusement and gaming halls, discos, bars, restaurants, fast food establishments, drinking establishments, cafes, patisseries and major shopping centers – type MOL, are prohibited, with the exception of banks and insurance offices, grocery stores and pharmacies . However it allows restaurants and fast food restaurants to deliver food to respective home address in compliance with the hygiene requirements;
  • All teaching activities in all schools, universities and all other training centers are prohibited. Where possible, distance learning is introduced;
  • Visitation of children in kindergartens, as well as any group activities with children and students are forbidden;
  • Any kinds of mass events, including sports, cultural, entertainment and scientific events are forbidden;
  • Planned pediatric and female medical consultations and examinations, including immunizations and organ transplants, are prohibited. Visits to hospitals and prisons cannot be made;
  • Training and business trips in the country and abroad are forbidden, as Bulgarian citizens who plan to travel abroad are obliged to take out medical insurance.

The bill stipulates that the National Coronavirus Operational Center has the right to envisage more severe measures than those mentioned above. For example, even before the bill was finally voted in parliament, the National Coronavirus Operational Center had envisaged more severe measures than those described above - for instance:

  • from midnight on 20 March visits to parks, urban gardens, playgrounds and facilities in open and closed public places are prohibited;
  • the police authorities must set up checkpoints at the entry and exit roads of the regional centers and check the purpose of the citizens' journey;
  • it is forbidden for persons under the age of 60 to visit grocery stores and pharmacies from 8.30 am to 10.30 am every day.

In addition to the aforementioned measures, it should be noted that all procedural time-limits in pending judicial, arbitration, administrative and enforcement proceedings have to cease, except in criminal proceedings.

All public sale procedures are terminated, and the imposition of liens on bank accounts of individuals and on remuneration and pensions is prohibited. Restrictions on notarial certification are also provided, and only urgent notarial certificates are allowed. In addition, the Notary Chamber of the Republic of Bulgaria must provide one notary on duty for each notary area.

As for employers, they should introduce a remote form of work where possible. If this is not possible, employers should ensure that hygiene measures are implemented.

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