How to protect yourself from coronavirus (COVID-19)
DEAR FELLOW CITIZENS,
We are facing a great challenge that we can handle together – with responsibility and discipline. This also means the cost of temporary restrictions and change in our daily routines.
My personal position is that at this stage we still need to apply stricter measures. This is a way to limit the spread of the virus and keep our healthcare system running. This is our first task at this point, which will enable everyone to receive adequate medical care.
In this regard, today I have proposed the following measures that have been adopted by the Sofia Operational Headquarters.
FOR THE PARENTS:
From Monday, March 16, the schools in Sofia are closed. The Ministry of Education is currently preparing the implementation of distance learning programs.
We put under a ban all activities related to the gathering of children and students, including study halls, green and ski schools, etc.
As of Monday, March 16, kindergartens and nurseries in the territory of Sofia Municipality are closed. It was difficult to make this decision, knowing that it would create difficulties for many parents who could not be absent from their jobs. Following our initial intention to leave kindergartens open, we received numerous requests from staff for refusal to work. Therefore, at this stage we close them as per the order of the Ministry of Health.
As of Monday, March 16, the municipal children's food complexes, the municipal children's kitchens at the respective district administrations, as well as the municipal kitchens (distributing points) to the independent nurseries on the territory of Sofia Municipality are closed. Purchased coupons will be valid for the period after the introduced anti-epidemic measures are lifted.
FOR THE UNIVERSITIES:
All universities in Sofia are closed and switch to distance learning.
FOR CULTURAL INSTITUTES
All cultural institutions are closed – theatres, cinemas, libraries, concert halls, museums and galleries.
The zoo of Sofia is temporarily closed.
FOR INDOOR PUBLIC SPACES VISITED BY MANY PEOPLE:
All food establishments, bars, night clubs, clubs, discos are closed by an order of the Minister of Health.
Fitness halls, sports halls, dance clubs, clubs for creative activities, etc., which involve gathering of people, are closed, by an order of the Minister of Health.
We issue instructions to the managers of Sofia Airport, BDZ, Central Railway Station, Central Bus Station and other stations and bus stations to arrange for enhanced disinfection. The staff at cash points and customer service desks should be provided with protective masks.
We are urgently calling on managers of stores, pharmacies, food supply companies, bank branches, currency exchange offices, cash desks for utility bills payment, utility companies and freight forwarding companies to ensure disinfection of premises at least 4 times a day and to provide their staff with protective masks. To provide disinfection of ATMs and POS terminals.
FOR OUTDOOR PUBLIC SPACES:
Begins a step-by-step washing with disinfectants of containers, waste bins and underpasses.
Begins a step-by-step washing of streets and squares, on days when the weather permits.
In Roma neighbourhoods are disinfected places where there is larger gathering of people.
We are closing the farmers' markets and temporary markets, including those for Sports Goods in front of the National Stadium, in the Malashevtsi Quarter, the livestock markets in the Poduyane Quarter and in Bogrov.
Disinfection at all sites of municipal markets continues.
FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT
All public transport vehicles are disinfected at least twice a day.
Disinfection of subway stations is enhanced.
The sale of tickets by the drivers is temporarily suspended and the first door is banned for boarding and deboarding. The aim is to guarantee the operation of public transport.
The night public transport is temporarily suspended.
The doors of all public transport vehicles open automatically without pressing a door button.
The traffic lights switch to automatic mode without pressing the pedestrian crossing button. The measure will be implemented in several stages.
FOR ELDERLY PEOPLE AND CITIZENS WHO USE SOCIAL SERVICES:
Sofia Municipality through the Municipal Enterprise "Social Patronage" declares its readiness to purchase essential food and prescription medicines for lonely, disabled and bedridden patients and elderly people without relatives. Orders can be placed daily from 09:00 to 16:00 hours on phone numbers 02/8188522 and 0879 811403. Users of the service shall provide the funds for the requested goods. We urge those who do not meet the criteria listed to refrain from making calls so as not to overload telephone lines. Orders of persons outside these categories will not be fulfilled.
The senior citizens’ clubs are closed.
Centres for social services remain closed to outsiders and with enhanced disinfection.
The Crisis Centre for homeless people continues to operate and the dwellers may go out only if necessary.
FOR PHYSICIANS AND MEDICAL STAFF:
Our doctors, nurses, paramedics and hospital staff are the ones we rely on and must preserve. Therefore, the Sofia Municipality will provide additional financial resources to provide protective clothing and salaries during this difficult scheme of work.
Today I spoke with the Bulgarian Medical Association, the Sofia Medical Group and the directors of all major public and private hospitals in Sofia. At this stage Sofia has the necessary capacity of beds. Private hospitals have expressed a desire to participate with medical staff, equipment and beds as needed. We are ready to assist the Ministry of Health in coordinating this process.
TO ALL CITIZENS
I call on all citizens to comply with the prescribed restrictive measures, despite the temporary inconvenience they cause. This is the way to preserve our own health and that of our loved ones.
Avoid handshakes and maintain good personal hygiene by frequently washing your hands with warm water and soap.
Avoid social contacts and gatherings with more people without an urgent need.
We strongly recommend not to hold family celebrations, attended by a large number of people (including weddings and christenings). Currently, the ritual halls will perform wedding ceremonies, but without the presence of guests in the hall.
Avoid traveling to other places.
Whenever possible, use non-cash means of payment (contactless credit and debit cards) in order to avoid contact with banknotes and coins.
We recommend managers of apartment blocks and condominiums to organize daily washing and disinfection of entrances, elevators and stairs.
I urge all citizens to discipline and responsible behaviour!
It depends on us to be able to get control over the spread of COVID-19 infection. With these restrictions, we will support the work of all our fellow citizens and institutions that have the task to protect health and life.
Together we will get through this!