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Slovenia eases virus curbs, reopens outdoor cafes, bars

Country one of the hardest-hit in the European Union

19 April, 14:42
(ANSA) - LJUBLJANA, APR 19 - Slovenia on Monday reopened cafe and restaurant terraces after six months following a decline in coronavirus infections and deaths. "It's not only about the coffee, it's the chats that we've been missing," said an ecstatic David Delfar, who runs Kapetanija, one of the busiest cafes in the port town of Koper. Since the pandemic spread in Europe in March 2020, cafes and restaurants had to close for a total of eight months. They still remain closed in four out of the country's 12 regions, including in the capital Ljubljana, where infection rates remain high. Social-distancing measures are also still in place, and tables have to be kept at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart. A partial 11-day shutdown over Easter helped keep the number of infections low with the now dominant British variant at a steady level, Tjasa Zohar Cretnik, the head of the National Health Laboratory, said last week. Earlier this month, the country of 2 million reopened shops, service industries and schools, while masks remain mandatory indoors.

Starting Monday, rallies of up to a 100 participants are allowed again after the Constitutional Court found that a ban breached the right of free expression. Slovenia has reported more than 4,160 deaths since the start of the pandemic, making it one of the hardest-hit countries in the European Union in terms of its population, with 200 deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants.


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