SOFIA (Reuters) - Bulgaria will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen at full capacity on Monday as the Balkan country further eased restrictions imposed in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Kiril Ananiev issued a new order on Tuesday night, allowing bars and restaurants in tourism-dependent Bulgaria to go fully back to business ahead of the summer season.
Ananiev also allowed the resumption of cultural and entertainment events, including theatres, concerts and stage performances. Dance classes could also resume, using up to 30% of their indoor capacity and up to 50% of the outdoor capacity.
According to the order, however, discos, piano bars and night bars must stay closed as the country remains under a declared epidemic situation because of the COVID-19 disease until June 14.
As of Wednesday, Bulgaria has 2,460 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 133 deaths, a relatively low number in Europe.
Ananiev has already given the green light for restaurants, bars and cafes in the Black Sea state to resume operations in their outdoor sections on May 5.
Bulgaria’s government introduced a state of emergency on March 14 that imposed travel bans, closed schools and shopping malls, and prompted many businesses to limit or halt operations due to restrictions and reduced demand.
It started easing the partial lockdown in late April but continued to enforce strict social measures on many of its citizens and businesses, helping prevent widespread community spread of the virus.
Bulgaria, a country with a population of less than 7 million, still requires social distancing in public places.
Reporting by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Kim Coghill
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