The number of confirmed cases with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has alarmingly increased not only in Romania but also in the European states and other states as well, leading to the necessity of drafting and adopting of more restrictive measures in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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COVID-19
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Applicable measures during the state of alert as of 15 October

The number of confirmed cases with the SARS-CoV-2 virus has alarmingly increased not only in Romania but also in the European states and other states as well, leading to the necessity of drafting and adopting of more restrictive measures in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In Romania, due to the registration of a large number of cases, the Government has decided the prolongation of the state of alert for another period of 30 days, as of 15 October 2020. Considering the current context, through the Government’s Decision no. 856/2020 (hereinafter “HG 856/2020”), the Government provides a series of new measures, which will be applicable depending on the infection rate in each county, city, or village.

The County departments for Public Health, including the one for Bucharest, on a daily basis, will  calculate the incidence of the cases for the last 14 days and will present the analysis to the county committee/the Bucharest committee for emergency situations within 24 hours as of the date the indicated limits have been reached. The applicable measures for each place which will exceed the level provided under HG 856/2020 will be adopted through a decision of the county committee/the Bucharest committee for emergency situations, on a case by case basis, within 48 hours as of the date these levels have been reached. Main measures that may be applicable depending on the infection rate in certain places are presented below:

Areas with an infection rate lower than 1,5/ 1,000 people:

Among the main measures which are currently provided under HG 856/2020, we can identify:

  • Requirement to wear a mask in public closed spaces, commercial spaces, in means of public transport and at the workplace;
  • Requirement to wear a mask in public opened spaces, like: markets, fairs, waiting spaces (bus stations, platforms and others similar to these), waterfronts, areas where celebrations and pilgrimages take place, the exterior of tourist attractions, the commercial pedestrian areas and in the nearby of education institutions up to a 50 m distance until the entrance into the school area;
  • Prohibition to organize and conduct meetings, demonstrations, processions, concerts or other type of meetings in opened spaces, but also to organize and conduct cultural, scientific, artistic, sports or divertissement meetings in closed spaces, with the exceptions further presented depending on each particular situation; 
  • Approval to organize and conduct public gatherings, meetings and demonstrations with maximum 100 participants but following the health and safety measures, but also the social distancing rules;
  • Approval to undertake activities in cinemas, performance/concert institutions with the participation of the public reaching 50% of the maximum capacity of the space;
  • Requirement to wear a mask by the candidates and the campaign teams during the events/ gatherings/actions concerning the campaign organized for the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies in 2020;
  • Performance of the religious activities, including the religious services and collective prays, will be held inside or outside the places of worships following the health and safety measures;
  • Approval to organize and conduct processions and religious pilgrimages only with the participation of persons that have their domicile or residence in the area where that respective procession or pilgrimage takes place; other persons are prohibited to participate to such events;
  • Prohibition to organize private events (e.g. weddings) in closed or opened spaces (such as bars, restaurants, coffee shops);
  • Approval of undertaking activities in restaurants and coffee shops, inside, without exceeding 50% of the maximum capacity of the space and only during 6”00 – 23’'00;
  • Approval of undertaking activities by the economic operators licensed in the gambling industry without exceeding 50% of the maximum capacity of the space;
  • Approval to organize and conduct drive-in shows only if in the vehicle there are members of the same family or a group of maximum 3 participants;
  • Approval to organize and conduct outdoor, public or private shows, concerts, festivals or other events only if there are maximum 300 participants, with seats, placed at a distance of minimum 2 meters one from the other, who need to wear masks;
  • Requirement to perform an analysis regarding the manner in which the working schedule is organized and conducted, namely based on a teleworking or a work for home regime for all the public or private institutions/ operators, which is preferred; to the extent that these regimes are not possible, organizing the working schedule in order for the personnel to be split in at least two groups which should start/ finish the activity at least one hour apart;
  •  Prohibition of activities in bars, clubs or discos.

Areas with an infection rate between 1,5 and 3/1,000 people:

The measures presented above will apply to these areas as well, however certain measures are more restrictive and there also are other new rules instituted:

  • Prohibition to organize and conduct drive-in shows, outdoor public or private shows, concerts, festivals or other events;
  • Approval to undertake activities in cinemas, performance/concert institutions with the participation of the public reaching 30% of the maximum capacity of the space;
  • Approval of undertaking activities in restaurants and coffee shops, inside, without exceeding 30% of the maximum capacity of the space and only during 6”00 – 23’'00;
  • Approval of undertaking activities by the economic operators licensed in the gambling industry without exceeding 30% of the maximum capacity of the space.

Areas with an infection rate higher than 3/ 1,000 people:

The measures presented above will apply to these areas as well, however certain measures are more restrictive and there also are other new rules instituted:

  • Requirement to wear a mask in all public open spaces;
  • Prohibition of all kind of activities in restaurants and coffee shops, inside the buildings;
  • Prohibition of activities in cinemas, performance/concert institutions with the participation of the public;
  • Prohibition of undertaking activities by the economic operators licensed in the gambling industry.

As Bucharest exceeded the infection rate of 3/1,000 people, calculated for the last 14 days, the Bucharest Municipality Committee for Emergency Situations adopted, on October 19, 2020, the Decision no. 24. The decision provides the measures that will be applied in Bucharest for 14 days, starting 20.10.2020, namely:

  • wearing a mask is mandatory in all open public spaces;
  • cinemas, entertainment and/or concert institutions, as well as gambling operators are forced to close their business;
  • serving customers in indoor spaces anymore it is no longer allowed in restaurants and cafes, and restaurants and cafes operating in the accommodation units can only serve people accommodated in the unit;
  • teaching activities that involve physical presence are temporarily suspended, and they will take place online.

The measures adopted by the Romanian Government are similar with the ones undertaken in other countries, such as France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Switzerland, considering the record case numbers registered in this period on their territory, leading to the adoption of, even, more restrictive rules than the ones mentioned above, as for certain regions the emergency state has been declared.

The significant growth of the number of cases as well as the restrictive measures undertaken by the Romanian Government raise serious concerns amongst the economic operators activating in sectors such as  HoReCa, transport, auto, events planning, constructions, putting pressure on the political environment for developing, adopting and implementing of a legal framework, needed to ensure a package of support measures, designed to overcome these difficult times.