All hospitality facilities across the country, including bars, restaurants and cafés in hotels, hostels, etc., will shut down as of Wednesday and until April 20, in line with a Government’s decision in a bid to prevent further COVID-19 spread and protect people’s health.
The only exception are cafés at the Skopje and Ohrid airports, as well as hotels with guests already there.
Fitness centers and betting shops may not be open, either. Bets may be placed through a window.
Restaurants may still take delivery orders and offer take-out food.
A ban is also in place on organizing conferences, workshops, training instruction, seminars, etc.
Nationwide curfew began at 8 pm on Tuesday and and lasted until 5 am on Wednesday.
The Government decided on a two-week curfew, until April 20, in order to ease the pressure on the health system and avoid a possible closure for the coming Easter and Ramadan holidays.
Farmers are allowed to move with a permit from regional units and municipal crisis headquarters, exclusively for working purposes.
Citizens who have had their COVID-19 vaccination appointment immediately before the start of the curfew, will be allowed to return to their homes upon presenting the vaccination certificate.
Pet owners are allowed to take out their pets within 100 meters of their residence between 10-11 pm.
Authorities say the restrictions aim to protect the people’s health. According to them, the current, third coronavirus wave is the worst one thus far, and restrictions are crucial at this point.
Health Minister Venko Filipche said Tuesday we must be aware that with our own behavior, responsibility, wearing face masks and keeping distance, we will contribute to stop the third wave of pandemic as soon as possible.
“Over the past period, there was a large increase in the numbers of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and we succeeded to maintain healthcare system and provide a hospital bed for each patient in the COVID-19 units,” Filipche said.
He added that the healthcare system is now under pressure.
“Given the experience from last year when during Easter and Ramadan holidays, epidemiological situation was seriously complicated, we believe that if it happens now with an already burdened healthcare system, then we will face a crisis situation that will be difficult to handle. Therefore, we are introducing additional restrictive measures in order to stop the third wave of the pandemic, which has been the worst so far. I urge the citizens to adhere to the measures. We must be aware that with our own behavior, responsibility, wearing face masks and keeping distance, we will contribute to stop the third wave of pandemic as soon as possible,” Filipche noted.