Restaurateurs and hoteliers, as well as other businesses, in the Bulgarian mountain resort of town of Bansko face enormous challenges as it awaits the end of its quarantine, currently scheduled to end on March 31 at 8pm.
Bansko was placed under two-week quarantine on March 17 because of confirmed cases of Covid-19 linked to the resort town.
Even if Bansko’s quarantine ends on March 31, national restrictions on various businesses, including the closure of restaurants, bars and coffee shops, have been extended by order of Health Minister Kiril Ananiev until April 12 throughout Bulgaria. The national State of Emergency voted by Parliament on March 13 is in effect until April 13, unless MPs vote to extend it.
Bulgarian National Television reported Bansko mayor Ivan Kadev as saying that quarantine requirements had been strictly observed and that people had been responsible and had acknowledged the need for these measures.
The quarantine declaration allowed only food shops, pharmacies, bank offices and fuel stations in Bansko to remain open.
Kadev expressed hope that the quarantine would come to an end as planned. From then on, there would be restrictions on entry to and exit from the town.
“I expect and hope that the relevant authorities will give clear, precise and specific guidance on how to proceed,” Kadev said. He said that he hoped that businesses that resumed work would do so in compliance with all sanitary and hygiene requirements.
Residents of other places who had remained in Bansko had been under full quarantine. Seasonal workers stayed in their rented accommodation. Those who left their accommodation stayed in a special hostel set up by the crisis staff of the municipality, the BNT report said.
Malin Bistrin, head of the Bansko Tourism Business Union, said that the union was looking forward to the lifting of the quarantine.
“The goals before us are to get business moving, to get the wheel turning,” Bistrin said.
“It won’t be easy to start the machine, to run hotels, restaurants, cafes, but optimism and a positive attitude are coming, and the fear of coronavirus is giving way to our desire for life,” he said.
Nova Televizia reported mayor Kadev as saying that after the quarantine is over, “we will have to do everything possible with the help of all state structures and institutions to get out of this crisis and to get small and medium-sized enterprises in the town working as fast as possible”.
During the quarantine, Bansko residents have got free medical consultations through social networks and other platforms, BNT said.
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