Restaurateurs in Bulgaria’s capital defy stepped-up anti-epidemic measures

Restaurants in Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia are defying an anti-epidemic measure requiring them to close by 10pm, reports on January 28 said.

An order by Sofia’s regional health inspectorate said that as of January 27, restaurants may use only up to 50 per cent of their capacity, must close by 10pm and must – as before – require a green certificate for admission.

This and similar orders in other parts of Bulgaria where the Covid-19 situation has worsened have been the subject of pledges of defiance by organisations representing the restaurant industry, who say that they are being unfairly targeted by anti-epidemic measures.

Bulgarian National Television said that on the first night after the order went into effect, there were large-scale inspections by joint teams including health inspectors and police.

In the student dormitory area of the city, Studentski Grad, the first restaurant inspected was found to be in violation of the closing time rule and the manager was fined. However, customers carried on eating their dinner, the report said.

The fines for violating the rules are between 300 and 1000 leva (about 150 to 500 euro) for an individual and between 500 and 2000 leva for a legal entity.

According to BNT, there would be large-scale inspections on the night of January 28 as well.

BNT quoted Richard Alibegov, head of one of Bulgaria’s restaurant bodies, as saying that the institutions were doing their job and carrying out inspections.

He said that restaurants were complying with all rules – green certificates, vaccinated staff and the wearing of protective masks – except those governing opening hours.

(Archive photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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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