Covid-19 in Bulgaria, May 26: Opening of theatres and opera, and another promise about restaurants

Theatres, opera houses and dance halls are re-opening, Bulgarian National Radio said on May 26 after representatives of dance associations and the Union of Bulgarian Actors held talks with the ministers of culture and health.

The report said that Health Minister Kiril Ananiev would issue an order to that effect by the end of the day.

Milena Nalbantova of the World Artistic Dance Federation told Bulgarian National Radio that it had been agreed that in dance halls, physical spacing would mean one person per four square metres, with a limit of up to 20 people in one room.

Actors union president Hristo Mutafchiev said that theatres would be allowed to have up to 30 per cent of their indoor capacity filled.

The statement came after an earlier announcement allowing theatres to hold only productions outdoors, with a 30 per cent limit on seating capacity.

Tourism Minister Nikolina Angelkova said in a May 26 television interview that indoor sections of restaurants would be allowed to be open to the public from June 1.

Angelkova’s statement came after Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on May 19 that the government was considering allowing the indoor sections of restaurants, bars and coffee shops to re-open on June 1. Thus far, there has been no Health Ministry order on the matter.

Outdoor sections of restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Bulgaria were allowed to re-open as of May 5, with rules on physical spacing of tables, wearing of masks by staff and regular disinfection of tables, chairs and other surfaces.

Bulgaria’s Employment Agency said that between March 13 (the start of the two-month State of Emergency) and May 15, a total of 1455 applications were lodged by non-EU nationals for access to Bulgaria’s labour market for seasonal work.

A total of 1231 applicants had been approved, the agency said.

Bulgarian daily Sega reported that four companies that are among the largest foreign investors in Bulgaria had received the largest sums under the 60:40 scheme, by which the state covers 60 per cent of the payroll costs of companies in listed sectors at risk from the coronavirus crisis, while the employer must pick up the remaining 40 per cent.

The two plants of SE Bordnetze-Bulgaria, in Karnobat and Mezdra, which have close to 2500 workers, got 2.124 million leva from the state for March and April.

Turkish-owned Sisecam – Pasabahce got more than 746 000 leva, Sisecam Automotive more than 456 000 leva and Trakia Glass close to 279 000 leva. Payments to Sisecam began in mid-April.

On May 26, the European Commission published a report on success stories of companies in the EU that had transformed their operations to respond to the Covid-19 crisis, listing among them Medhouse Swiss Bulgaria, which produces medical textiles, and which is now manufacturing about 75 000 surgical masks a day.

According to the European Apparel and Textile Confederation (EURATEX), more than 1000 textile and fashion companies in the EU converted their production in order to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), mainly masks, the European Commission said.

(Archive photo, of a restaurant at the Drama Theatre in Plovdiv: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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