State of alert might be extended, restrictive measures relaxed

Due to the evolution of the epidemic, the government may extend the state of alert, but with fewer restrictions, President Klaus Iohannis announced on Tuesday at a press conference. His announcement came after he discussed the development of the pandemic with PM Ludovic Orban and the directors of the various authorities involved.

Iohannis said that the number of new cases has not increased nor decreased significantly in the latest period, but he also pointed out that the last easing had an impact on the number of new cases, which “makes us remain cautious, and we believe that the state of alert should be extended.”

According to the president, the representatives of the authorities agreed that the state of alert – which ends on June 16 – should be extended, but they also think that some restrictions can be relaxed starting on Monday.

On June 15, shopping malls bigger than 15,000 square meters might reopen, but the restaurants and playhouses inside the malls would remain closed. Starting next week, 20 people can attend indoor events, while 50 people can attend outdoor private parties (birthday parties, baptisms, etc.). Meanwhile, private kindergartens and nurseries might reopen, and afterschool programs might restart. People will be able to enjoy outdoor pools and go back to the gym as long as they respect the rules of social distancing.

Iohannis stressed that several restrictions will not be eased, such as mandatory mask-wearing when in supermarkets and enclosed public places and when using public transportation.

The president did not specifically talk about the relaxation of safety measures at border crossings. But he did say that they would treat more “mildly” those countries where the number of new cases per million inhabitants has not exceeded five in the previous 14 days. “This category does not yet include France, Spain, Italy, Belgium or Sweden,” he stated.

If the government decides to extend the state of alert, it must be approved by the parliament. Călin Popescu Tăriceanu, the chairmen of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats (ALDE), and Victor Ponta, the president of the Pro Romania Party, already announced that their parties will not support the extension. Iohannis asked the decision-makers at the press conference to “act like responsible politicians” because it was proven that the measures taken previously to control the virus were effective.

Title image: According to Iohannis, the representatives of the authorities involved in infection control agreed that the state of alert should be extended. Photo: Facebook/Klaus Iohannis

Author: Orsi Sarány