Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Montenegro lift daily curfew and ease certain COVID-related restrictions from May 15. Other restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Montenegro

This alert began 18 May 2020 17:46 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Easing of COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: May 15
  • Impact: Easing of restrictions; travel and business disruptions remain

Authorities in Montenegro lifted the daily curfew and eased certain coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions from May 15. Authorities have allowed all passenger travel, public transport, and taxi services to resume throughout the country; facemasks are mandatory on public transport. Authorities have also allowed restaurants, bars, cafes, shopping centers, malls, and beaches to reopen. In addition, both indoor and outdoor group and individual sporting activities are allowed to resume.

Authorities have indicated that there will be certain regulations and protocols that businesses will have to follow, including:

  • Stores must limit to 1 customer per 10 square meters (110 square feet) of space.
  • Hand sanitizers must be provided to customers on entry and exit to the establishment.
  • Businesses must ensure that there are at least 2 meters (7 feet) between persons in the store.
  • All employees must wear protective masks.
  • Only 4 customers can be allowed per table in restaurants, cafes, and bars, unless they are from the same household.
  • A distance of at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) is required between sunbeds at beaches.

All persons arriving in Montenegro will be subject to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Airports in the country remain closed indefinitely; freight, humanitarian, and expatriation flights are exempt. Marinas remain open; all foreign ships and yachts are required to self-isolate at berth for 14 days. All kindergartens, child care facilities, as well as elementary, secondary schools, and universities remain closed.

The implementation of future recovery stages is contingent upon no major increase in disease activity over the coming weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures correspond with similar actions taken by other European governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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