Authorities in Bulgaria plan to tighten the country's coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions due to an increase in infection rates. Effective Oct. 29 through at least Nov. 12, all high schools and universities will move to online classes. In addition, all conferences, seminars, exhibitions, and other public events will be limited to 30 people; all cultural and entertainment events will be limited to 30 percent of the venue's capacity. Indoor entertainment venues such as discos, bars, and nightclubs will be closed. Furthermore, the capacity of all public, commercial, and administrative facilities will be limited to no more than one person per three square meters (32 square feet).
Bulgaria's national state of epidemic emergency and associated measures remain in effect until at least Nov. 30. The state of emergency makes it easier for authorities to enforce temporary extensions and restrictions. Most nonessential businesses and services have been permitted to resume operation provided they comply with strict hygiene and social distancing requirements. Protective face coverings remain mandatory in all enclosed public spaces, including on public transport. Airports in the country remain open but are operating on a reduced schedule.
Bulgaria permits citizens from the EU and the Schengen Area, as well as the UK, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Uruguay, Serbia, Belarus, and Turkey to enter the country without restrictions. Travelers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Israel, Kuwait, Moldova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, and Ukraine are allowed to enter if they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to arrival. Additionally, all medical professionals, transport staff, foreign officials, seasonal workers, and persons traveling for humanitarian reasons will be permitted entry regardless of citizenship as long as they possess negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results.
Authorities may extend or otherwise amend restrictions in the coming days in response to disease activity in the country.
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.
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.