Health Minister Kiril Ananiev orders abolishment of checkpoints from midnight May 6

Government announces ideas for measures to encourage tourism on the coast

Ruling coalition partners representatives at today's press briefing

Health Minister Kiril Ananiev issued an order today whereby all checkpoints, which were established at the entry points of regional centers due to the COVID-19 crisis, will be abolished as of midnight May 6.

When authorities announced the plan to free access to and out of the larger cities, they said they would wait till late afternoon on May 6 to do so.

May 6 is St. George Day, which is a national holiday and it was presumed the postponement was due to concerns of many people taking a trip for the day. Those apparently have been reassessed, and people may freely travel to and out of larger cities without having to be interviewed at checkpoints and provide a legitimate reason for travel.

Meanwhile the ruling coalition announced a plan – or rather ideas - to help the tourism industry during the summer season. Leaders of the coalition held a press conference to share the future measures with the press, but none of them are actually prepared to undergo proper legislative procedures.

One measure, which the partners announced was to oblige beach operators not to charge for easy chairs and shade. The idea was communicated in very certain terms. But after the briefing, it was quickly clarified that this could only be done if the operators agree, if certain terms apply, and so on.

Another idea is for holiday vouchers for the Bulgarian coast to be dispensed to the public. The panel seemed to be all in favor of such a measure, but specifics are yet to be worked out: who would be eligible to apply for such vouchers, what they would include, etc. Coalition leaders said that a lot of what the measure would end up including depends on variables, which are yet unknown – namely, for one, when the revised season will begin – but at least one aspect is clear: the vouchers will not be available to people with outstanding public debts.

The spekers also hinted a special measure is in the works aimed to relieve small tourist businesses – guest houses, family hotels etc., but – again – no specifics were given.

Meanwhile, coronavirus infections in Bulgaria rose to 1704 in total today. 52 new cases were confirmed since yesterday. 316 people are hospitalised, 39 are in ICUs. 78 people with the infection have died. 342 have recovered.

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