Covid-19 in Bulgaria: EC approves wage support scheme extension

The European Commission said on March 30 that it has approved the extension and modification of a Bulgarian wage-support programme under the EU state aid temporary framework to support the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure is aimed at providing wage support for employers and income support for self-employed people in several sectors most affected by the coronavirus pandemic – transport, hotels, restaurants and travel agencies, the Commission said.

Under this scheme, companies and self-employed individuals would receive a monthly subsidy of 290 leva a month for each job preserved. The Commission initially approved the measure in July 2020.

The duration of the scheme is extended until December 2021 and its budget is increased from 40 million leva to 150 million leva.

The Commission said that it also approved “extending the scope of the eligible beneficiaries, employees and self-employed persons for which aid may be granted,” as well as other “technical modifications” of the scheme.

In a statement, the EC said that the modified measure was in line with the conditions set out in its state aid temporary framework and concluded that it “remains necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance” caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

In other news regarding the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria on March 30:

Sofia municipality has begun installing sensors on traffic lights for pedestrians so that they do not have to physically touch them.

The first 20 sensors on traffic lights are already operating at the intersections of Konstantin Velichkov Blvd. and Pirotska Street, Konstantin Velichkov Boulevard and Vazkresenie Blvd., and Shipchenski Prohod Boulevard and Ivan Dimitrov-Kuklata Street, the municipality said.

It described the move as “both a hygienic and reliable solution in a COVID-19 pandemic situation”.

The sensor was developed at the request of the municipality and is an entirely Bulgarian product, the statement said. A further 200 are currently being manufactured.

Bulgaria’s Education Ministry said that the dates of the spring school holidays remain unchanged.

On April 1 and 2, pupils will continue to study via distance learning.

For pupils from grades one to 11, the holiday is from April 3 to 11 inclusive, and for 12th-graders, from April 8 to 11 inclusive.

Bulgarian National Radio reported on March 30, quoting the Yambol regional health inspectorate, that Covid-19 wards in the district remain full. All intensive care beds are occupied.

The Kyustendil regional health inspectorate said that “green corridors” for vaccinations against Covid-19 for all comers will open on April 1.

Only AstraZeneca vaccines will be used.

In Kyustendil, vaccines will be given in an immunisation office in the regional health inspectorate building, every day from 9am to 3pm.

An immunisation office is opening in Dupnitsa on Veliko Turnovo Street, which will be open every working day from 9am to 3pm, and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 1pm.

There will also be an immunisation office in Dimitar Blagoev Street in Bobov Dol, on weekdays from 9am to 4pm.

(European Commission headquarters Berlaymont building. Photo: JLogan)

For the rest of The Sofia Globe’s continuing coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria, please click here.

The Sofia Globe’s coverage of the Covid-19 situation in Bulgaria is supported by the Embassies of Switzerland and Finland.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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