At the end of last week, new restrictions were made official in order to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, by means of Government Decision no. 935/2020 for the amendment and completion of annexes no. 2 and 3 to the Government Decision no. 856/2020 regarding the extension of the state of alert on the Romanian territory starting with October 15, 2020, as well as the establishment of the measures applied during it to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (hereinafter “GD 935/2020”).

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COVID-19
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New measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 applicable as of November 9

At the end of last week, new restrictions were made official in order to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, by means of Government Decision no. 935/2020 for the amendment and completion of annexes no. 2 and 3 to the Government Decision no. 856/2020 regarding the extension of the state of alert on the Romanian territory starting with October 15, 2020, as well as the establishment of the measures applied during it to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (hereinafter “GD 935/2020”). GD 935/2020 was adopted based on the the National Committee for Emergency Situations’ proposals, enlisted in Decision no. 52/2020 on the establishment of additional measures necessary to be applied to prevent and combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic (hereinafter “Decision 52/2020”).

The new measures came into force on Monday, November 9, 2020 and will be applicable for 30 days throughout the country. Unlike the measures adopted so far, which were applied differently from one area to another, depending on the rate of infection, the restrictions imposed by GD 935/2020 apply uniformly, regardless of the rate of infection in each administrative unit. Thus, the applicable restrictions are the following:

1.  The obligation to wear a protective mask in all open public spaces

While until now it was mandatory to wear a protective mask in all closed public spaces, in crowded open public spaces and in all open spaces in areas with an infection rate over 3/1,000 inhabitants, from now on it is mandatory for any person above the age of 5 to wear a facial mask correctly in all open public spaces.

2.  Night-time curfew

As of November 9, everywhere in Romania, the movement of persons outside the home/household between 23:00-05:00 is prohibited. However, there are some exceptions to this rule:

  1. travelling in professional interest
  2. travelling for medical care that cannot be postponed or performed remotely, as well as for the purchase of medicine
  3. travelling outside the town/village for persons who are in transit or make journeys whose timeframe overlaps with the prohibition period, such as those made by plane, train, buses or other means of transport and which can be proved by ticket or other means of paying for the trip
  4. travelling for justified reasons (e.g. caring for a child, caring for an elderly or sick person, death of a family member, etc.)

The situation described in point i. above shall be proved by means of a staff ID card or a certificate issued by the employer or a personal statement. The other situations described above shall be proved by means of a personal statement. The templates for the employer certificates and the personal statements were published here: https://stirioficiale.ro/informatii. These documents can also be stored on mobile electronic devices, only if the person's handwritten signature also appears on them. In addition, the personal statement may also be written entirely by hand, provided that it contains all the elements of the published template.

3.  Restrictions on enclosed terraces

Enclosed terraces, i.e. outdoor spaces that have a roof/ceiling and at least 2 walls, will be subject to the same regime as the interior spaces of restaurants and cafes. Thus, they will be able to operate without exceeding 50% of their maximum capacity and only between 6:00 and 23:00, in the administrative units where the cumulative incidence of cases in the last 14 days is less than or equal to 1.5/1,000 inhabitants. If the incidence of cases in the administrative unit is higher than 1.5 and less than or equal to 3/1,000 inhabitants, they may operate without exceeding 30% of the maximum capacity and during the same timeframe. If the infection rate exceeds the threshold of 3/1,000 inhabitants, the activity of enclosed terraces is prohibited.

4.  Restrictive schedules for stores

According to the new regulations, economic operators carrying out trade activities or providing services must organize their activity only between 5:00 and 21:00, regardless of whether the spaces are closed or open, public or private. Outside this timeframe, economic operators can only interact with economic operators that provide home delivery services.

Some economic operators are exempted from this rule, namely gas operators, pharmacies and home delivery operators.

5.  Prohibition of closed agri-food markets

As for closed agri-food markets, GD 935/2020 initially provided that they will be closed from November 9. Therefore, their activity in open spaces is permitted. However, fairs, mixed markets and flea markets will be closed.

However, on November 10, 2020, the Parliament adopted a draft law for the approval of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 78/2019 on the amendment of certain normative acts and the establishment of some measures in the field of agriculture, as well as for the approval of some fiscal-budgetary measures. The draft law provides that, during the state of alert, closed agri-food markets, fairs, mixed markets and flea markets will be able to continue their activity, subject to restrictions regarding social distancing and health protection measures. We note that, at this time, the amendment brought by Parliament is not yet in force. The adopted law was sent for promulgation to the President of Romania on November 10, and it will enter into force after promulgation, 3 days after its publication in the Official Gazette.

6.  Obligation to implement telework or staggered schedules

Employers with more than 50 employees, both in the public and the private system, are obliged to organize their activity by means of teleworking or working from home. If this is not possible, employers are required to organize the work schedule so that employees are divided into groups that start or finish work at least one hour apart.