Bulgarian minister of tourism announces anti-Covid measures for ski resorts

  21.10.2020 17:14  
Bulgarian minister of tourism announces anti-Covid measures for ski resorts

Bulgaria’s Ministry of Tourism announced on October 21, 2020 a uniform minimum package of measures which it said are to be respected by all places, companies, organisations and everyone else offering tourist services. “The recommendations of the Ministry of Tourism, coordinated with the Ministry of Health, regarding the 2020/2021 winter season provide that the hotel and restaurant services will be carried out in compliance with the regulations which are currently in force,” said Maryana Nikolova, the vicepremier-minister and minister of tourism. Regular inspections are planned in the resorts, she said.

The Tourism Ministry said that the package of measures complies with the measures which have been already announced by other countries with active winter tourism in the context of the pandemic – Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France. “The measures will be updated or supplemented if required due to changes in the epidemic situation or new scientific findings, or acquired experience from the European or world practice.” Regarding Gondola lifts, chairlifts and rope tows, the Tourism Minister said that tourists must cover their nose and mouth during their stay in the cabin as well as on the whole territory of lift stations with face masks, scarves, or another type of covering. This will apply to all lifts, rope tows, paths in the beginners’ zone, as well as in front of ticket offices where cards are sold. The number of people travelling in the cabins can be limited by a decision of the lift operator, if required. Cabins must undergo disinfection several times a day according to a schedule, with disinfectants which are approved by the Minister of Health, the statement said.

Hand disinfectants, approved by the Minister of Health, must be made available at the designated places before and after use of the cable cars. “All-day usage of the cabins has to be subject to maximum opened windows in order to let the fresh air circulate in them.” Face mask sign stickers should be placed in each cabin. A minimum of one-metre distance is required between people queuing for the lifts. Cafes and restaurants in ski zones must observe the guidelines for the functioning of accommodation establishments and food and entertainment establishments in the context of the danger of Covid-19 infection in Bulgaria, the statement said. Nose and mouth must be covered with a face mask, scarf, or another type of covering, at the ski garderobes. Periodic disinfection of all contact surfaces is to be carried out.

Measures are required to prevent crowding and observe a physical distance of 1.5 m between garderobe users. Ski school activities must be subject to strict rules, the Maryana Nikolova said. Groups may not be more than 10 people, there may be no participation of people in a visibly unhealthy state, and there must be no mixing between groups or transfer of people from one group to another. The requirement for physical distancing between the trainees and the ski instructors must be observed during training at ski schools. Face masks, scarves or other protective coverings are to be worn. A filter is to be provided before the beginning of the training (temperature measuring for the instructors, who are taking part in the process, of the ski school employees and of all trainees). During training, the distance between the clients must be a minimum of 1.5 m. “The individual form of training is the safest and recommended.” Awareness signs/screens and information materials with the instructions and rules to be observed must be placed at all points of considerable tourist flow – ticket offices, ski equipment stations, parking lots, ski garderobes and reception areas, among others.

In case of questions, tourists should seek assistance from the employees of the tourist site who must be aware of the safety measures, the minister said. In resorts, face masks must be worn in public transport, shuttle buses, taxis, pharmacies, polyclinics, clinics, hospitals, social homes, nursing homes, shops and all points of sale, banks, post offices and all public institutions, tourist information centres, in restaurants until food consumption, and all indoor public places. If a tourist feels ill, the tourist should avoid contact with other people, should remain in the place of accommodation, inform the manager or the receptionist and ask for help to get in touch with a health establishment or emergency telephone 112, the minister said.

Face masks must be worn at the following places in the resorts:

1. Public transport, shuttle buses, taxis

2. Pharmacies, polyclinics, clinics, hospitals, social homes, nursing homes

3. Stores and all points of sale

4. Banks, posts and all public institutions

5. Tourist information centers

6. In restaurants until food consumption;

7. All indoor public places;

Most important rules to be respected by everyone:

1. Keep at least 1.5 m distance from strangers

2. Proper wearing of face mask in indoor public places

3. Avoid hand-shaking upon greeting people

4. Cover your nose and mouth or wear a face mask when surrounded by many people even outdoors

5. Wash your hands frequently

6. Cough and sneeze into your elbow or tissue

7. Regular airing of indoor premises

8. Do not go out if you have symptoms or feel ill.

If a tourist feels ill

1. Avoid contact with other people

2. Let the tourist remain in his/her place of accommodation, inform the manager or the receptionist and ask for cooperation to get in touch with a health establishment or emergency telephone 112. 

Miroslav Ivanov