Policy responses for Slovenia - HSRM

Slovenia


Policy responses for Slovenia

6. Measures in other sectors

6.1 Measures in other sectors

Many MEASURES IN OTHER SECTORS beyond the immediate scope of the health system are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus. This section contains information on many of these areas, including border and travel restrictions and economic and fiscal measures, among others.

Borders

The Slovenian government worked with the Italian authorities to provide the necessary crossing of the border between Slovenia and Italy for daily migrants who travel across the border for work. Those who hold property – whether housing or agricultural – were allowed to cross as well as the members of their families accompanying them. Such travels are permitted only on a daily basis with return back home every day.
On May 10, 2020, the border between Slovenia and Croatia was also opened. Travelling is allowed for business, for academic purposes and for those who own real estate such as holiday apartments and houses in Croatia. For the time being, persons living in Slovenia who would spend more than 72 hours in Croatia would have to follow an obligatory quarantine upon return to Slovenia. This measure is under revision, pending a potential agreement between the two national public health institutes on the modalities of follow-up for such travellers.

Update 5 June:
There have been intense consultations with all neighbouring countries; the first border to be reopened was the one with Croatia, followed by Austria, and then most probably also with Italy. For these first three countries there is no longer a requirement to quarantine upon entry to Slovenia and no test is required to pass the border. The final decision on individual traffic across the border with Italy will be taken after the visit of Foreign Minister di Maio in Slovenia on the weekend of the 6th June.

Update 26 June:

Similarly to many other countries, Slovenia has seen an increase in the number of new cases in the week of June 22, as 37 new cases were notified (while there were 39 new cases in total for the month of May). These were almost all imported, mostly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, some also from Sweden and US or were close contacts of these. In other words, all the new cases had a clearly identified source. 

Consequently, the Government undertook several measures:

Travellers arriving from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, but also as previously listed from Kosovo and North Macedonia are now obliged to enter quarantine, regardless of their citizenship.

The validity of the certificate of a negative COVID-19 has been shortened from 3 days to 36 hours.

In July, the Slovenian government simplified the issuance of quarantine decrees, which are handed over to any person entering Slovenia from a high-risk country. The criteria for classifying countries as risk areas changed. In this context, the ranking of Croatia was discussed controversially given that the neighbouring country is the main holiday destination for Slovenians during summer. Nevertheless, in the last week of August due to a rise of positive cases in Croatia, the government declared it as a high-risk country and gave tourists on holidays in Croatia three days to return before a 14-day self-quarantine applied. From September 13, self- quarantine was shortened from 14 to 10 days as in other European countries.

Travel

On 11 May 2020 public transportation – urban and interurban bus transportation and trains – was reopened. Seats where passengers can sit are marked.
On 12 May 2020 airline traffic will be allowed again.
From 20 April 2020 some types of bus transport are permitted if they are organised for the specific transfer of employees in a town or local community. The standard requirements of distancing need to apply and not more than a third of passengers can travel based on the registered capacity of the vehicle. On the same date, car garages, services and shops with cars, bikes, technical and building materials were reopened. Also, technical proficiency tests were reopened for all types of motor vehicles.
Update 5 June:
All public transportation is functioning again, including airline traffic. The first regular flight from Belgrade landed on 29 May 2020, and other airlines announced a gradual resuming of flights between 15 June and end of August.

Update June 19: 
In response to the pandemic the Slovenian government has issued tourist vouchers in the form of a credit on the information system of the Financial Administration of the Republic of Slovenia. The vouchers are valid for vacations within Slovenia and can be used every person who permanently resided in Slovenia on 13 March 2020. The vouchers have a value of EUR 200 for adults (and every child of the value of 50 EUR) and are valid for qualifying accommodation in Slovenia. In general, there has been excellent experience with the tourist vouchers: the share of Slovenian holidaymakers spending their summer holidays in Slovenia was significantly higher this year more than over 60% of Slovenians spending their holidays in Slovenia in the first half of this summer.

Update 26 June: 
Portugal and Albania were added to the red list, which means that travellers are advised not to travel there unless it is an urgent need. Luxembourg and Montenegro were placed on the intermediate (yellow) list.

Economic activity

-The Ministry of Agriculture advertised seasonal jobs in agriculture in Slovenia and received around 450 applications. Nevertheless, this will not be enough to cover for all the needs in this period, so there will be some seasonal workers arriving from Romania.
-From 4 May 2020 hairdressers, barbershops and cosmetic salons will reopen based on the required distancing and respecting the regulations for their activity as prepared by the NIJZ.
Update 5 June:
Restaurants and bars are also open indoors, provided that guests enter wearing a mask, which they can later remove, while staff need to wear masks at all times.
Cinemas, hotels as well as other similar facilities and gyms are allowed to be open, provided that distancing is ensured and individuals wear masks as required.

Update 13 July:
The state extends co-financing (of up to 80% of gross salary) for those temporarily waiting for work at home until 31 July with retroactivity for June and with the possibility of extension to the end of September; a total of 65,000 employees benefited from this measure
The financing of quarantine is also transferred to the national budget (previously the obligation was on the side of the employer for up to 50%), when work from home is not possible:
• In the case of contact with an infected person: 80% remuneration
• In the case of contact with an infected person when working: 100% remuneration
• In the case of returning from a country on the green or yellow list: 80% remuneration
• In the case of intentional travel to a country from the red list – NO remuneration (unless the travel was for a death in the family or birth of a child, in such cases the remuneration is 50%)
Student food tickets can be used in the summer and students can use their public transport passes in the summer free of charge
Tourist vouchers for citizens can be used also in temporary (seasonal) settings
On 28 June, the government adopted an emergency bill to extend the ”waiting for work” scheme until the end of September.. By the end of July, there were 89,400 unemployed people registered in Slovenia, which was virtually the same as at the end of June but was a 24% increase than at the end of July 2019.


Education:
Primary and secondary schools will have partial reopening on 18 May 2020: for primary schools this will apply only for the first triad (the first three years), while in secondary education it will apply only for last year pupils preparing for their final year exams.
Kindergartens will reopen with strict limitations on the number of children per group and availability.
Update 5 June: Starting on June 8, all primary and secondary school children will go back to school, even if the school year ends on 24 June

Other:
The judicial system is operative again (update of 5 June), as are all the administrative services of the state and thus also the legal deadlines in the administrative procedures and processes.
Car licenses that expired between 13 March and 19 April 2020 were automatically extended until 19 June 2020. For licenses expiring from 20 April 2020 onwards the standard procedures apply.
Slovenia will participate in the Pan-European hackathon #EUvsvirus, and the participation is coordinated by the Ministry of Public Administration, Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Technological Park of Ljubljana.

Update 13 July
Due to the spread of the virus in two nursing homes, all nursing homes will stop receiving visitors until further notice.

Borders
Slovenia is bordered by Italy and given the rise in the epidemic there from late February onwards, the Government decided to limit border-crossings with Italy for non-essential passenger travel and reduced the number of crossing points to only 6. In these crossings, there are controls over traffic and travellers need to provide a negative test to COVID-19 no more than 3 days old. This measure was introduced on 12 March 2020 for all transit travel crossing Slovenia. Austria, Croatia and Hungary also limited personal travel on their sides for non-essential travel, first only for incoming passenger traffic and later also for transit. This caused some problems for certain groups of citizens of third countries in transit back to their countries, but it was successfully resolved with the mutual cooperation with transit countries (e.g. Croatia and Serbia) and target countries (e.g. Romania). For more information, please see “Transition measures: measures in other sectors”

Travel
On 16 March all public transport in Slovenia was stopped and at the International Airport of Ljubljana flights were mostly cancelled until further notice. This caused some problems for Slovenian citizen who were still abroad at that time. An extensive effort was put in place by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise repatriation of those citizens who desired to do so. Several flights were organised and paid for by the Government in an effort to repatriate several hundred citizens who were trying to get back home before a more extensive ban on international flight travel. For more information, please see “Transition measures: measures in other sectors”


Economic activity
Currently, activity in the country is limited. Although there is no full lockdown and no extreme movement restrictions are in place, such as in Italy or Spain, economic activity is constrained (apart from distribution services, supermarkets and other food providers, home delivery, pharmacies, petrol stations and bakeries), although it has been estimated that around one third of economic activity still takes place. This is best reflected by the Ministry of Public Administration’s data, where they see that there are more employers who now report their employees working from home than there were persons reporting working from home last year. For more information, please see “Transition measures: measures in other sectors”

Education
Primary schools’ final tests, which have a screening value, will not be carried out this year. On the other hand, the Ministry of Education still intends to carry out the baccalaureate finals, which are considered essential due to their importance for applications to universities. There are still controversies on how these finals can be carried out respecting distancing and other protection measures. For more information, please see “Transition measures: measures in other sectors”