“We managed to pass through the Omicron wave without massive closures of schools or businesses. Our forecasts show that around March 20 it would be possible to end all restrictions in the country linked to the Green Certificate,” stated Bulgaria Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.
Plans are afoot to lift the obligatory Covid-19 “green certificate” for entry to restaurants, shopping malls and other public venues onwards March 20. The pass, a digital or paper certificate, is proof that the person has been vaccinated. It was made obligatory for most indoor spaces last year and led to widespread protests.
Bulgaria remains European Union’s least vaccinated member state. The Balkan country of 7 million people has seen a double-digit drop in new coronavirus cases on a weekly basis in the past three weeks. On Monday, it reported 1,235 new daily infections, compared with more than 12,000 new cases registered on January 26.
Petkov said his government would keep urging Bulgarians to get vaccinated and said the certificate would still be needed for those who want to travel to other European Union countries. The Balkan country will start easing restrictions from Feb 24, when owners of public venues such as shopping malls, cinemas, gyms and bars will be allowed to grant access to customers who do not have a green certificate.
From March 5, all foreign travellers who have a green certificate will be allowed entry to Bulgaria – a move that the Black Sea country hopes will boost its tourism industry.
As of March 20, if all goes according to the plan, the health pass will only be used to facilitate travel abroad, the country’s chief health inspector Angel Kunchev added.