Policy responses for Slovakia - HSRM

Slovakia


Policy responses for Slovakia

1.2 Physical distancing

Despite gradual improvements to the epidemic situation in early January where the 7-day incidence average decreased from a peak of 597 cases per million on 6 January to 395 cases on 17 January, the government adopted a resolution to tighten pandemic measures. The resolution was two-fold: first, a mass screening required all civilians aged 15-65 to undergo an antigen test. Second, a tightening of the curfew for persons without a negative test result.  

The idea behind the mass screening was to be able to sort Slovakia’s districts into two categories based on their respective epidemic statues. Based on results from 18-26 January, 36 districts had a lower rate of positivity. Thus, the residents of these districts were not required to have a negative test and overall curfew measures in the district were relaxed. For other districts with higher positivity rates, a stricter curfew came into effect on 27 January and was to last until the number of hospitalized patients fell below a total of 2500 or until 7 February in the regions with higher positivity rates. 

If a person had a negative test, the following exemptions from the curfew applied:
 trips to and from work for jobs where the employer decided that duties could not be carried out from home office;
 trips for business or any other related activities that could not be done from home office;
 trips for outdoor recreation, such as individual sports within the district;
 trips to the dry cleaners, the gas station, the purchase of newspapers and printed media, the optician's office, the bank, the insurance company, bicycle and motor vehicle services, the post office or to a shoe repair shop; 
 trips to pick up e-commerce goods;
 trips to the airport leaving the country and the way back when returning from abroad;   
 trips for students of the appropriate grades to and from school and school facilities;  
 trips for adults accompanying their children to school and school facilities;
 trips to events authorized by the public health office.
 
There were also exceptions that did not require any test, for example:
 trips for essential shopping (i.e. food, drugs, drugstore, hygiene products, pet food);  
 trips to the pharmacy or to a medical facility for the purpose of urgent medical care, preventive examinations or planned health care, including escorting a close contact or relative;
 trips to testing facilities to carry out RT-PCR test for COVID-19 or to mobile sampling sites for the purpose of carrying out an antigen test;
 children under the age of 15 and seniors over the age of 65 did not even need a test to stay outdoors;    
 trips to funerals, wedding ceremonies or baptisms;
 trips to care for close contacts or relatives;
 walking dogs or cats up to 1000 m from the residence;     
 trips to health facilities for people older than 65 years and those with physical disabilities to a distance of 1000 meters from the residence; 
 trips for nursery school and first grade students to school and school facilities;     
 trips to court hearings and to subpoena authorities active in criminal proceedings.   

On 27 January, Prime Minister Igor Matovič presented the results of the mass testing that took place 18-26 January. Altogether 2 949 017 people were tested with 36 547 of them testing positive for COVID-19, representing a 1.24 % positivity rate. The half with the worse test results were tested again.

However, widespread testing was accompanied by several problems. The Union of Slovak towns and villages complained about the lack of government support as well as errors in the published data, since the Ministry of Health had three press conferences about the screening results published different data each time.

Early February measures

The epidemic situation did not improve over the course of February and stood at 418 cases per 1 million population on 2 February. As the incidence rate went up again after  the nationwide screening, the government began implementing a new COVID-19 “traffic light” system from 8 February onwards. Compared to the earlier version in December 2020, there were exemptions from curfew in the case of a negative test result, regional situation depending.

The system comprises seven levels, including white, orange, red and black. In the worst areas (level 7) a test will be required on a weekly basis. In level 6 a test will be required every 14 days and in level 5 every 21 days to have grant exemption from curfew rules.

The list of districts and their score in the new traffic light system are being published by the Ministry of Health every Tuesday and will be valid from the following Monday.   

Early March measures

The government adopted new measures on 28 February, which were to last for three weeks until 21 March. If the government’s desired goals (which were not publicly defined) were not reached by 21 of March, a total lockdown of Slovakia was to be implemented.

The plan consisted of several tweaks of existing measures and included some new changes:

Mask mandate
In shops and on public transportation, wearing the FFP2 mask became mandatory on 8 March. Similarly, wearing a protective mask in indoor shops was required starting on 15 March. The measure does not apply to children who use a mask.  

Recommendations for home treatment, control of reporting positive people to doctors

To improve the prehospital management of positive patients, the publicly available a new comprehensible information system is to be prepared- "The COVID-19 Patient Pathway". It will contain recommendations for home treatment and a list of quality pulse oximeters. This system also enables reporting positively tested persons to a general practitioner without delay. Checks on the availability of doctors by regional authorities were also improved. The heads of the regional health authorities are to set up emails, a non-stop link and a website to report the unavailability of general practitioners
The government is also acting to rapidly procure therapeutic monoclonal antibodies to reduce the risk of hospitalization, while mayors should ensure that citizens are tested for COVID-19 on their territory from 3 March as part of the new traffic light system.

Home- office
People should only be physically going to work if they have a certificate from the employer specifying the working hours, place of work and the necessity for the worker to commute.  

Kindergartens and primary schools are open to children of employees who must go to work in person. Staff and students will be tested twice a week by self-tests. These (antigen) tests should be distributed to households, with positive results being verified by RT-PCR tests.   

Updated exemptions from the curfew
The validity of all exemptions from curfew is limited to the period from 5.00-20.00. From 20.00-1.00, the only exemption to curfew is to travel to work or for necessary medical treatment. Positively tested people will no longer be able to go to the store or leave the house for various purposes. In justified cases, only a doctor or pharmacy are valid destinations. The current exception, which allowed a positively tested person to go grocery shopping, should be abolished by the Chief Hygienist of the Slovak Republic from 8 March.

Search for virus mutations
Weekly sequencing of at least 500 randomly selected COVID-19 positive samples was initiated promptly, including testing all positive samples every two weeks for the presence of mutations of the virus. Testing should also be targeted at people with symptoms and areas with existing outbreaks. This clinical trial will also inform the vaccination strategy in Slovakia.  

Controls will be tightened, and the army and general police will help
The Ministry of the Interior has been tasked with ensuring a significant increase in the control of anti-epidemiological measures by the Police Force without delay. As such, strict adherence to minimum area of 15 m2 per customer in stores will be check and a 24-hour hotline, e-mail or a website should also be set up to report any violations (not set up as of the end of March). Additionally, random physical checks on compliance with quarantine were intensified. E-quarantine (a digital, bluetooth based application on smartphones to track the location of quarantined) will also play a part in this, as soon as it is up and running.

The changes and tightening of controls also affected the border regime. The exception to travel to and from abroad is a negative result of an RT-PCR or antigen test performed in the European Union, not older than seven days. The exemption also applies to people whose medical condition does not allow for the test to be performed, to persons recovered from COVID-19 and with a document not older than three months and to persons vaccinated with a second dose of vaccine who at least 14 days past the second dose.

Following the introduction of e-quarantine, a choice between domestic or state quarantine should be introduced.

In practice, however, scientists complained that their requirements were not met, respectively less than 50% of them were put in practice.  The epidemiological situation eventually escalated, forcing minister Krajči to resign on March 12, 2021.

Sources:

Miušovič D. et al. (2021). Lockdown sa sprísni. Negatívny test bude treba na cestu do práce aj do prírody – do potravín a na venčenie psa nie (Lockdown will tighten. A negative test will be needed on the way to work and in nature - not to do groceries nor to walk the dog). Available online from: https://dennikn.sk/2227983/lockdown-sa-sprisni-negativny-test-bude-treba-na-cestu-do-prace-aj-do-prirody-do-potravin-a-na-vencenie-psa-nie-detaily/

Ministry of interior affairs (2021). Definitívne výsledky skríningu: z 2,9 milióna ľudí malo pozitívny test 1,24 percenta (Definitive screening results: 1.24 percent of the 2.9 million people tested positive). Available online from: https://www.minv.sk/?tlacove-spravy&sprava=definitivne-vysledky-skriningu-z-2-9-miliona-ludi-malo-pozitivny-test-1-24-percenta

Folentová, V. et al. (2021).  Vláda rozdelila Slovensko podľa výsledkov testov, v horšej polovici zopakuje plošné testovanie (The government divided Slovakia according to the test results, in the worst half it will repeat the area testing). Available online from: https://dennikn.sk/2244540/vlada-rozdelila-slovensko-podla-vysledkov-testov-v-horsej-polovici-zopakuje-plosne-testovanie/?ref=tema,

Folentová V., Osvladová L and Barcíková M. (2021). Vláda mala tri tlačovky za týždeň, Bratislava sa dozvedela zakaždým iný výsledok testovania (The government had three press releases a week, and Bratislava learned a different test result each time). Available online from: https://dennikn.sk/2248261/vlada-mala-tri-tlacovky-za-tyzden-bratislava-sa-dozvedela-zakazdym-iny-vysledok-testovania/?ref=tema

Folentová, V., Barcíková, M and Geherová, R. (2021). Ministri sa dohodli bez premiéra: testy do práce budú platiť od 7 do 21 dní podľa okresu a dopravy (Ministers agreed without the prime minister: tests to work will be valid from 7 to 21 days, depending on the district and transport). Available online from: https://dennikn.sk/2259020/ministri-sa-dohodli-bez-premiera-testy-do-prace-budu-platit-od-7-do-21-dni-podla-okresu-a-dopravy/?ref%20=%20in

Ministry of interior affairs (2021). Vláda prijala nové opatrenia na potlačenie pandémie, ak nezaberú, hrozí tvrdý lockdown a uzatvorenie krajiny (The government has taken new measures to curb the pandemic, if they do not work, there is a risk of a hard lockdown and closure of the country). Available online from: https://www.minv.sk/?tlacove-spravy&sprava=vlada-prijala-nove-opatrenia-na-potlacenie-pandemie-ak-nezaberu-hrozi-tvrdy-lockdown-a-uzatvorenie-krajiny

TASR (2021). Krajčí skončil, Matovič mu poďakoval za statočnú prácu a zaútočil na ľudí (Krajčí resigned,  Matovič thanked him for his brave work and attacked the people). Available online from: https://spravy.pravda.sk/domace/clanok/580931-krajci-poda-demisiu-este-dnes/

After July 1, no significant measures regarding physical distancing and prevention were introduced until mid-August. Due to the worsening epidemiological situation, the Ministry of Health, jointly with the Public Health Authority, announced that as of  September 1, it will not recommend organizing public events with more than 1000 people, including sport events. Furthermore, they will also ban mass events indoors (if there are more than 500 people and after 11 pm). At indoor events with a smaller number of people, it will be mandatory to wear a face masks. Further measures are expected on regional basis, depending on the epidemiological situation.

New rules on public events

Starting from 1st October, any public event can be open to a maximum of 50 people - including performers and service staff. This limit applies to sports, cultural, religious and any other types of events. Restaurants, hotels and other similar facilities are also prohibited from organizing any mass event (beyond 50 people). It is also forbidden to organize wedding receptions, celebrations and ribbon festivities.
This regulation reflects on the decision of the prime minister not to ban all events altogether, as earlier recommended. Hence, if the number of performers and service staff exceeds 50, a mass event may be held, but without the presence of the audience. However, an unlimited number of participants may take part in the event if all participants, including performers and service staff, demonstrate a negative coronavirus test not older than twelve hours.

The same rules apply to church services, which can be attended by a maximum of 50 people, including priests or ministers. Church hygienists recommend organizing specially designated services for people over the age of 65. In both cases, every other seat in church is recommended to be omitted.
 
New rules on covering mouth and nose and number of customers

Starting from 1st October, the obligation to cover mouth and nose also applies outdoors, when people from other households approach closely (under two meters distance).

Shops and department (re-) operate with a limited number of customers (maximum of one customer per ten square meters of sales area). Establishments must also ensure that people in queues, for example at the cash registers, maintain a distance of at least two meters, except for people living in the same household.

Restaurants, pubs and bars must set their tables apart for at least two meters (measured by the edges of each table). Public catering can only be open from 06:00 until 22:00 and can only serve to seated customers.

All the new rules apply to all regions of Slovakia, irrespective of the current “traffic light” rules that wereput in practice in September. According to the prime minister, the epidemiological situation in Slovakia is so serious that it does not make any sense having local measures. The only exception remains schools that still apply traffic light measures according to the current epidemiological situation.
Due to the worsening epidemiological situation, the prime minister announced on October 12th a new set of measures. If these measures are not successful in pushing the median of new cases below 500, a total lockdown will be considered.
The new measures include:
• It is mandatory to wear a face mask, including exterior events;
• all mass events except for the five largest professional leagues will be banned;
• it is prohibited to meet in a group larger than six people;
• restaurants will be allowed to serve food only in exterior or via take-away;
• fitness centers and wellness centers, swimming pools, swimming pools, aqua parks and saunas will be closed;
• secondary schools will switch to distance learning;
• in shops and shopping centers, the rule of 1 person per 15 square meters will apply;
• seniors will have reserved time slots in food and drugstores: from 9:00 to 11:00;
Most measures took effect on October 15. High schools switched to distance learning from October 12.

As a result of record numbers of daily cases, Health Minister Marek Krajčí announced on December 16, 2020, that the government would reimpose strict measures. The basic pillar of the measures is the closure of all shops and services (except those deemed essential), churches and ski resorts and a curfew beginning on December 19.
The Slovak Government did not call this a lockdown, as several exemptions were written into the curfew that began at 5AM on December 19 from and is expected to last up until January 10, 2021.
The exemptions were a subject to a great deal of criticism since they are extremely vague and have potential to be easily abused. Exemptions from the curfew included:

- meetings between members of two different households are exempt from the curfew. At the beginning of the curfew, it was necessary to consider forming a ‘bubble’ with one other household and could continue to meet with them, but no other two households should meet except ‘bubble’ partners;
- travel to hospitality facilities (hotels, models, etc.) for recreational purposes. Members of a maximum of two households (sharing a ‘bubble’) can travel in this way, for instance with close relatives and friends;
- travel is not banned but should be limited to minimum. The government has recommended the use of distance communication when possible;
- travel to the extent necessary to meet the necessities of life - food, medicine, medical devices, hygiene and drugstore goods, pet food and other animal needs;
- travel to work or the performance of business and similar activities. The government resolution contains recommendations for the use of work from home as much as possible;
- travel is also permitted for refuelling and printing (newspapers, for example);
- travel to the optician's office, insurance company, bank or bicycle service, with the provision that it should be the nearest possible location;
- travel to pick up orders from online shopping and other outlets will also be allowed;
- travel to medical facilities for urgent medical care, to a pharmacy or testing for a possible COVID-19 infection;
- individual sports and outdoor activities. Ski resorts will be able to be open even during the curfew, as everyone has a permit for individual outdoor sports;
- Holy Mass. Regional hygienists are to decide whether churches can be opened in the region and how many people can be in them. Travel to baptisms, marriages and funerals have also been exempted;
- in the case of the care of a close person;
- for a trip to purchase a Christmas tree or to fish outdoors;
- a trip to travel abroad;
- a journey for a child who is placed in a centre for children and families based on a court decision;
- a journey of a client, a family member or a close person of a client of a social services facility to or from this facility, conditional on having a negative test result for COVID-19.

The government also agreed to use a traffic light system beginning on January 10 that will automatically tighten or relax measures, depending on a variety of indicators.  There are total 7 indicators. Three are used to determine a need for nationwide measures and the other four are regional measures. The three national measures are: average number of new COVID-19 cases per seven days; number of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and R0. The four regional indicators are: weighted 14-day incidence of COVID cases, number of hospitalised COVID patients per 100 000 inhabitants, dynamics od weekly changes and evaluation of public health authority of that particular region.

As experts worried, these measures did not stop the spread of COVID-19 in Slovakia and the country recorded its highest total of registered daily cases (12 269) to date on December 31, 2019. The government thus immediately announced new measures that closed churches, ski resorts and reduced number of exemptions from the previous curfew.
The measures took effect on January 1, 2021 at 5AM and are expected to last until  January 24.
 
Exemptions from the previous curfew that are repealed:
- From midnight December 31, 2021, all ski resorts are closed;
- churches must remain closed;
- hotels may not accept new guests. Guests already there can stay in them, but they may not extend their stay;
- it will not be possible to consume food outdoors (for example on tables or in front of windows), it will only be possible to take food home;
- while staying in nature remains allowed, it is only permitted within the district inhabitants are registered to live in;
- employees must work from home unless their presence at work is necessitated by the nature of their employment.

Exemptions that remain in force:
- travel to work or the performance of business and similar activities, if it is not possible to work from home;
- a journey to procure essential necessities - food, medicine, medical devices, hygiene and drugstore goods, pet food, other needs for animals and fuel;
- travel to medical facilities for urgent medical care, travel to a pharmacy or testing for COVID-19;
- trips to the insurance offices or the bank ;
- travel in the case of providing care for a close person who is dependent on such care.

Sources: Office of Slovak government (2020) Lockdown bude od 19. 12. do 10. 1. 2021, platiť budú výnimky – súhrn (Lockdown is imposed from 19.12-2020 to 10.1.2021 with exemptions - overview). Available online. Accessed from:
https://www.vlada.gov.sk//lockdown-bude-od-19-12-do-10-1-2021-platit-budu-vynimky-suhrn-2/
TASR (2020) Lockdown sa sprísnil, výnimiek je menej. Pozrite si prehľad zmien (Lockdown is tightened, there are fewer exemptions. Overview of changes). SME. Available online. Accessed from: https://domov.sme.sk/c/22565062/koronavirus-nastava-prisnejsi-lockdown-zakaz-vychadzania-covid.html

The roadmap was presented by the prime minister and a group of experts on April 20 and originally comprised 4 phases. The first phase was to be implemented from April 22 onwards with other phases to follow in two-week intervals. Strict hygienic standards will apply in all open stores and facilities - mandatory covering of the upper respiratory tract, hand disinfection, regular cleaning and ventilation of the premises, compliance with two-meter spacing or limiting one customer to 25 m2 of sales area.

In clothing stores, customers are not able to use changing rooms to try on clothes. Markets had to provide one entry and exit and points of sale must not be closer than two meters. Only certain types of operations could continue to operate in shopping malls.

The epidemiological situation is to be evaluated before entering further phases. Several key performance indicators are used to guide individual transitional measures. The final decision is, however, still based on a voting procedure and recommendations from the group of experts. The group comprises the top experts on public health, virology, tropical medicine, epidemiology and analyst.  
Key performance indicators used include the seven-day moving median of the daily increase of patients with COVID-19. Patients who are in compulsory quarantine or already placed in some quarantine facilities are not considered into the median. Results are analysed on a daily basis.

For the first phase, if the value of the indicator is less than 100, the operations will be opened according to the published schedule. If the range of the indicator is from 100 to 150, the opening of establishments from the previous period will be maintained and new establishments will not be opened. If the increase in the indicator is above 150, the operations that were opened in the previous phase will be closed. For phases two and three, the cut-off median was set to be 50 cases. If the increase in cases reaches this point, Slovakia will revert to the previous phase. 

The value of the indicator is published on a daily basis at 9.00 online on the website: https://korona.gov.sk/en/

Phase 1 (as of April 22, 2020) – opening of wider range of stores and services:
• stores with a sales area of up to 300 square meters
• stores for cars, vehicles, parts, car dealerships
• Public caterings and fast foods (including sales from the dispensing window)
• following stores can be opened on sundays: veterinary clinics and "emergency pharmacies", hospital pharmacies and public pharmacies, gas stations, operations of telecommunications operators, public catering establishments and fast foods, posts, banks and insurance services,
• outdoor marketplaces
• only if a separate entrance and a separate exit with one-way movement of customers is provided,
• if customers are able to keep 2m distance
• restaurants within the markets can sell food and drinks only through the dispensing window; consumption is allowed only outside the market area,
• farm products, seedlings, flowers, seeds for planting and seasonal fruits and vegetables should be allowed on the market.
• outdoor sports activities under strict hygienic conditions


Phase 2 and 3 (as of May 6, 2020; merged due to the good epidemiological situation)
The following openings came into effect:
• public catering - outdoor terraces,
• hairdressers, barbershops, pedicures and manicures, cosmetics and solariums,
• hotels and accommodation services (short-term, without boarding, with toilet, with bathroom, without other common areas)
• museums, galleries, libraries and exhibition halls,
• outdoor tourist attractions (castles, zoos and others),
• taxi services
• churches + weddings
• shops and services in small shopping centers with less than 35 retail outlets.

Following places and services remain closed:
• natural and artificial swimming pools,
• physical education and sports facilities,
• human body care procedures (wet treatments, tattoo parlors and others),
• facilities for children and young people (including childcare facilities for children under age of 3),
• wellness centers, including swimming pools in accommodation facilities,
• entertainment and leisure facilities (casinos, cinemas and others),
• shops in shopping centers where more than 35 separate retail establishments are assembled (with the current applicable exceptions remaining in place).

Additional information:
• Opening hours for people over 65 remain from 9.00 am to 11.00 am, however, this only applies to grocery stores and drugstores
• The provision of social services remains closed according to phase 1
• Trying on clothes is possible after prior hand disinfection

Hygienic measures:
• entry and stay in the operation only with the covering of the upper respiratory tract (eg face mask, scarf, etc.), this obligation does not apply to the time required for the consumption of beverages and food in public catering establishments,
• disinfection of hands or provision of disposable gloves upon entry into operation,
• at least 2 m distances among persons,
• input max. 1 customer per 25 m2 of the area of store, this obligation does not apply to children,
• visible placement of a notice of the obligation to comply with the above hygiene measures and a notice of the maximum number of customers at one time for all store entrances,
• perform frequent ventilation of the stores,
• disinfect touch surfaces such as handles, shopping carts or baskets, etc
• wash the floors of the stores wet every day,
• obligation to maintain the premises closed and disinfected every Sunday until further notice (so-called sanitary day) - except for establishments that may be open on Sundays.

Prime Minister Igor Matovič announced on May 18, 2020 that the 4th phase of the release measures would start according to the schedule, i.e. on May 20. Key changes were:
• mass events, cinemas and theaters with the participation of up to 100 people and catering in interiors are allowed
• all shopping centers can reopen, with the exception of respective children's corners
• indoor sports grounds and swimming pools are allowed, but only for sports clubs
Hygienic standards also changed. The covering of the upper respiratory tract (mouth and nose) is not mandatory outdoors unless the distance between people is less than 5 meters. Furthermore, as for shops and services, the limit on the number of customers is reduced to 15 m2 per person. The opening hours of the catering facilities are extended until 22:00. For the time being, the shops remain closed on Sundays.

On May 27, a consortium of experts, together with the prime minister, decided to further relax the measures. According to the prime minister, Slovakia has to wait for the full 5th phase of the release of measures.  Key changes were:
• Indoor facilities can choose from three options that regulates volume of customers:
    1. 15 m2 per customer
    2.  two-meter spacing between customers
    3.  two-meter distance from the edges of the tables (for catering facilities).
• Public catering can be provided after 22:00. However, it is necessary to keep a list of participants in such an event and it must be available 30 days after the event
• Cinemas, theaters, taxi services, driving schools, tourist information services and outpatient sales services can be open on Sundays
• Relaxing quarantine requirements for some countries (see Section 1.3 – Isolation and Quarantine)

Fitness centres, night clubs, events for groups bigger than 100 people are still not allowed. Despite the very good epidemiological situation, the prime minister refuses to call off the emergency state and declared that it is likely that it will be further extended by another 90 days. The emergency state was declared on March 16 and should last until June 15, 2020. According to a variety of legal experts, the emergency state should have been abolished already (TASR, 2020).

The prime minister announced on June 9th, that as of June 10th, additional measures will be eased. 

In the last week of June, all children were able to return to school - including secondary school students.  On a voluntary basis, high school students and students of the 6th to 9th grade could return to school in the last week of June. The Minister of Education expects that schools will use this week to pass on certificates and to coordinate with teachers.

From Monday, June 15, the restrictions on the number of pupils in kindergartens and of students of the 1st to 5th grade were further lifted. 

The distribution of tables in restaurants to ensure minimal distance of two meters was made no longer mandatory, only recommended. Children's corners in shopping malls and nightclubs could open gradually.

Moreover, the number of people allowed at mass gathering was increased to a maximum of 500. As of July 1, this figure further increased to 1000.

TASR (2020). Vláda si nemôže dovoliť zrušiť núdzový stav, hovorí Matovič [The government cannot afford to call of the emergency state, according to Matovic]. [Online] Available at: https://domov.sme.sk/c/22413497/premier-matovic-vlada-si-nemoze-dovolit-nudzovy-stav-zrusit.html 

Ministry of Health (2020) All information about COVID-19 (Všetky informácie o KORONAVÍRUSE COVID-19). [Online] Available at: https://www.health.gov.sk/Clanok?Hlavna-sprava-COVID-19

As of March 16, 2020, all small-trade businesses and all other businesses providing services should be closed, with the exception of:
• grocery shops, butchers, bakeries, fruit and vegetable shops, grocery stores with food for particular nutritional uses for infants and toddlers, and grocery stores with products for special medicinal uses;
• pharmacies, shops and dispensaries of medical devices;
• drugs stores;
• fuel and propellant service stations;
• newspaper and kiosks with the press;
• shops with foodstuffs for animals, and veterinary practices;
• outlets for telecommunications operators;
• public catering operations and fast food establishments;
• post, bank and insurance offices;
• Internet shopping operations (e-shop) and home delivery services;
• cleaning and laundry services;
• auto repair services, towing services;
• taxi services for providing only transport of goods or deliveries (no passengers transportation is allowed);
• funeral services, cemetery services and crematoriums.

With effect from March 16, 2020, it is prohibited for the public to visit public catering establishments and fast food outlets: the ban does not apply to the open-air businesses or those whose facility has a dispensary window (e.g. fast food stands with dispensary windows, or take-away outlets and so avoiding the gatherings in closed spaces).

Since April 2, 2020, it is possible to prepare and dispense meals by the school canteens, on the basis of an individual decision of the founder of school catering facilities. School canteen staff must follow strict hygiene measures as well as strict hygiene practices. For socially disadvantaged children only dry food can be prepared and served. The administration of dry food to socially disadvantaged children is justified in terms of epidemiological risk as the least risky. Food is supplied only by delivery.

As of March 16, 2020, all Slovak citizens (or foreigners with the residence or work permit in the Slovak Republic), who has returned/will return to the Slovak Republic from the impacted areas abroad or have been/will be repatriated (by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic) have to stay in mandatory quarantine in designated facilities of the Interior Ministry for a period inevitable for carrying out a laboratory analysis and subsequently after a negative result is confirmed, this person is released and ordered the home isolation for the period of 14 days in total. Foreigners are banned to enter the Slovak Republic except for those specified above.


-All schools and educational establishments are shut down.
-International and domestic train and bus transport is limited, except for imports and supplies.

-Bars, leisure facilities and premises (ski centers, wellness centers, fitness centers, amusement parks and aquaparks) are closed.

- Social and cultural establishments are shut down.

- The opening hours of customer centers are limited

- Visits of the hospital patients will continue to be prohibited.

- The organization of sporting, cultural, social and other mass events is prohibited.

- Restaurants are open only for take away, hotels stay for now open.


Measures adopted in the Slovak Republic, with effect from March 30:
• A limit on the number of customers in the stores is imposed.  At a time, only one customer per 25 m2 is allowed in the store.
• All citizens are obliged to wear a facemask covering nose and mouth whenever in public
• In shops, there must be a mandatory disinfection for hands or disposable gloves provided at the entrance and a minimum distance of at least 2 metres must be assured in lineups
• Sale of respirators is prohibited for general public so that the availability of respirators is assured primarily for the frontline workers
• From 30 March, the following additional shops, services and facilities are to be re- opened:
     - opticians,
     - car emission control services
     - leasing services,
     - bicycle shops and service,
     - notaries and lawyers,
     - building, horticulture,
     - haberdashery, textiles
     - paints, varnishes,
     - electrical installation services,
     - hardware store,
     - collection yards,
     - computer and telecommunications services,
     - key services.

All these establishments must meet hygiene standards– mouth and nose covered, hand disinfection, gloves, minimum space for customers etc.
• At the entrance to hospitals and industrial facilities, the body temperature is checked
• For seniors over 65 years, exclusive opening hours from 9.00 to 12.00 were set
• All stores are closed on Sunday (general disinfection), except for emergency pharmacies and veterinary ambulances.
• On March 16, 2020, a state of emergency was declared for the health care sector, as of March 25, 2020, the state of emergency applied also to social care facilities providing health care.
• Municipalities and towns have to set up phone lines for food delivery and other help for the elderl and disabled persons
• Cancelation of the free railway tickets for students until the end of crisis
• Three hospitals will be red-flagged for the exclusive treatment of COVID-19 (Eastern Slovakia, Central Slovakia, Western Slovakia). In other hospitals there should be separate pavilions for patients with COVID-19
• The state bans the export of the necessary medicines and PPE that are essential to ensure the proper functioning of the hospitals
• The state authorities will be able to use people's location data provided by mobile operators during crisis in order to monitor those who are infected

Measures adopted in the Slovak Republic, with effect from April 6, 2020 :
• For all persons who enter the territory of the Slovak Republic is ordered isolation in facilities designated by the Slovak republic  for the time necessary to carry out the laboratory diagnosis of COVID-19. After the diagnosis is provided with negative result, the person is ordered to stay home in isolation for 14 days. The home isolation is also ordered to the persons living in the same household.