This Article contains up-to-date information at the time of publication (22 March 2020). For further information please join our webinar or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulgarian Parliament declared a state of emergency in the country until 13 May 2020 and adopted a series of measures in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.
Below we have outlined some of the measures which will affect the larger part of the Bulgarian population and the foreign nationals who reside in Bulgaria or plan a trip to the country.
Travel between cities in Bulgaria is limited
Bulgarian citizens and foreign nationals would be able to travel between cities in Bulgaria only in order to return to their current or permanent address, for work-related reasons or for health-related reasons. The need to travel shall be proven by an official note by the employer /work-related reasons/, medical certificate /health-related reasons/ or an ID /return to permanent address/. In case a person does not live at the address indicated at his/her ID he/she should complete a declaration recently adopted by the Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria and present it to the authorities in case of a check. The declaration can be downloaded from the following link.
Entry of foreign nationals from non-EU country is banned
- According to an order adopted by the Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, entry into the territory of Bulgaria shall be temporarily prohibited from 20 March until 17 April 2020, inclusive, to all third-country nationals at all border crossing points and with any means of transport, including aviation, maritime, rail and road.
- The ban applies also to foreign nationals arriving from the following EU Member States and Schengen countries: Italy, Spain, France, Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland, with the exception of Bulgarian citizens, family members of Bulgarian citizens and persons with permanent and long-term residence status on the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria. Citizens from these EU Member States and Schengen countries and their family members are allowed to transit through the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria in order to return to their country of residence.
- The ban does not affect nationals of EU Member States and Schengen countries and their family members with the exception of the nationals covered by p. 2.
- The ban does not affect the following groups: healthcare professionals, health researchers and elderly care professionals; transport personnel engaged in the carriage of goods, crews of aircraft engaged in commercial air transport and other transport personnel as necessary; diplomats, officials of international organizations, military personnel and humanitarian workers in the performance of their duties; persons traveling for humanitarian reasons; third-country nationals who hold a long-term residence permit in an EU Member State and pass through Bulgaria in order to return to their country of residence.
Visits to parks and playgrounds are not permitted
Visits to parks, city gardens, playgrounds, outdoor and indoor facilities are suspended. Pet owners, however, are allowed to bring their animals in the parks.
Limitation to visit grocery stores and pharmacies
It is forbidden for people under 60 years old to visit grocery stores and pharmacies from 8:30 to 10:30 every day.
All forms of group activities have been suspended
Nurseries, kindergartens, schools, universities will remain closed during the state of emergency. All kinds of events, including sports, cultural, entertaining and scientific events (cinemas, theaters, concerts, museums, conferences, symposia, sports and SPA centers, gyms, etc.) are suspended.
Employers may introduce remote form of work
Employers, depending on the specifics and capabilities of the respective work activity, are entitled to introduce a remote form of work for their employees. Where this is not possible, employers arrange for enhanced anti-epidemic measures to be taken in the workplaces, including filter, disinfection and ventilation, coaching for personal hygiene of staff and do not allow employees or outsiders with symptoms of acute infectious diseases to enter the work premises.
New arrangements for payment of salaries
According to the newly adopted Act on the measures during state of emergency, the National Insurance Institute will cover 60% of the amount of the social security income of employees, affected by the state of emergency;
Furthermore, employees will be entitled to a compensation of 50% of their gross salary in case of termination of their employment contract during the state of emergency;
Interest rates and penalties on delayed debt payments shall cease to accrue
Until the state of emergency is lifted, the effects of late payment on the obligations of individuals, including interest and penalties for late payment, as well as non-monetary consequences such as request for an early payment, contract cancellation and seizure of property, will not apply.
Certifications by notaries are limited only to urgent cases
Notary services in Bulgaria are limited to cases when the notary certification is urgently needed. The Notary Chamber provided a list with notaries which will continue their work during the state of emergency whereas the ration is at least on notary public on duty per every 50,000 inhabitants for the respective area. The list could be found on this link.
Changed working time of the Migration Directorate /important for foreign nationals/
During the state of emergency in Bulgaria, the Migration Directorate in Sofia located at 48 Knyaginya Maria Louisa Blvd. shall continue to work every business day. However, from 1:00 pm to 1:30 pm the work of the counters in the Administrative Services Lounge will be temporarily suspended for the purpose of carrying out disinfection. For information regarding residence permit’s issues, please follow this link.
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