It may be challenging for non-Slovak speakers to understand the recent stream of extraordinary measures imposed by the Slovak government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly if you are required to manage your businesses and/or employees in Slovakia and deal with new challenges that pop-up every day. To help keep you informed, we have updated our article published on 18 March 2020 summarising the latest extraordinary governmental measures.
The information below is not legal advice; it is a summary of current restrictive measures that we believe you may find helpful.
Most limitations have been in effect since 16 March 2020; further additions and tighter restrictions have been imposed subsequently. All restrictions remain in place until revoked.
Border closures and quarantine
- Borders with all neighbouring countries have been closed. Only (i) Slovak citizens and foreign nationals who hold a residence permit in Slovakia (either permanent and temporary) or (ii) persons who hold a residence permit within 30 km of the Slovak border and who are employed in Slovakia, are allowed to enter Slovakia.
- Effective Monday 6 April 2020 from 7.00 a.m. CET, anyone entering Slovakia is placed in quarantine at special facilities designated by the Ministry of Interior to undertake a test for the COVID-19 virus. If the results are negative, a self-quarantine must follow.
The only exceptions are:
(i) pregnant women, underage children, people with special disorders, people over 75 or diplomats, including those accompanying them; however they must remain in a 14-day self-quarantine,
(ii) people working in transport, logistics or in civil services,
(iii) persons who hold a residence permit within 30 km of the Slovak border and who are employed in Slovakia.
- Failure to uphold the conditions of the quarantine may be sanctioned with a fine of up to EUR 1,659.
- All Slovak international airports (Bratislava, Košice, Poprad) are closed and no public flight departures from or arrivals to Slovakia are allowed.
- No international passenger rail and bus transportation is allowed. Domestic passenger transportation operates on a limited (weekend) schedule.
- The import and movement of goods is not limited, however drivers are required to wear and use protective equipment and will be subject to random health checks at border crossings.
- River (maritime) transports are not allowed to enter any Slovak harbour, but vessels may sail through the territory of Slovakia without stopping, taking fuel, changing crew or taking mandatory rest periods for crew.
Closure of retail and services
- All retail businesses, shops, facilities and services (including taxi services) must suspend operations, under a penalty of up to EUR 20,000. As of 25 March 2020, most stores allowed to be open must still be kept closed on Sundays.
The allowed exceptions include:
(i) groceries, where entering without a facemask is prohibited and disinfectants or disposable gloves are mandatory at entrance. Only one visitor per 25 m2 of area is allowed to enter;
(iii) pharmacies, medical equipment shops, ophthalmic optics;
(iv) gas stations and newsstands;
(v) pet-food stores, including veterinary clinics;
(vi) telecommunications operators and post offices (with limited operating hours),
(vii) restaurants and fast-food outlets, BUT these may only provide take-away and delivery services,
(viii) postal, banking and insurance services,
(ix) car repair services, towing services, technical car inspections or emission control services,
(x) laundry and drycleaners,
(xi) goods delivery services,
(xii) online shops (e-shops) and delivery services,
(xiii) leasing services,
(xiv) notaries and attorneys,
(xv) gardening and construction equipment shops,
(xvi) electrical installation and computer services.
Ban on social, cultural, leisure or sport events
- The organisation of collective social, cultural, leisure or sports events are forbidden.
- Swimming pools, sports facilities, spa and wellness facilities and all similar facilities are closed. This does not apply to natural spas and spas providing rehabilitations and medical treatments.
- All educational facilities, such as pre-school and school facilities (including universities), leisure centres or other organised leisure activities for children are closed.
Availability of state and governmental authorities and hospitals
- The opening hours of customer centres at state and governmental authorities are limited to three hours daily, if not closed entirely; instead, hotlines and e-communication are operated.
- All visits to hospital patients or social care patients are prohibited.
Emergency in medical facilities
- All public medical facilities (mainly hospitals) are currently operating under an emergency regime, which means that all scheduled operations need to be postponed to allow medical facilities be prepared for a potential increase of patients with COVID-19.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.