Necessary information about quarantine in Bulgaria
The latest updates and guides to the current coronavirus situation as of 6 June 2021, 23:00.
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Written by Bozhidar Ivanov, Anastasiia Dehtiarova and Toni P. Lyubenova, edited by Lindsay Martin and Scott Green, photo by Anastasiia Dehtiarova.
What is the current situation?
The emergency epidemic situation in Bulgaria has been extended until 31 July.
From 19 May, children under five, who are Bulgarian nationals, or nationals of the UK, EU or Schengen countries, will not be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test when entering the country. The full list of nationalities exempt can be found here.
From 19 May sports competitions are allowed to have an audience, as long as it does not exceed 50% of the venue's capacity, and social distancing is observed.
From 31 May, in-person classes for school students from all grades will resume. From 19 May, in-person classes in universities will begin again.
From 1 May entry to Bulgaria is forbidden for arrivals from India, Bangladesh, Brazil and some territories in South Africa. Bulgarian citizens and people with a residency permit and their families are exempt from the rule, but will have to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival. More information about the entry requirements can be found in the article.
From 12 May restaurants and similar establishments will be allowed to open using up to 50% of their capacity. From 1 May, the requirement for limiting working hours from 6am to 11pm will be removed.
From 1 May, grocery shops will no longer provide “green corridors” for customers over the age of 65 between 8:30am and 10:30am.
From 1 May, sports competitions for all age groups can be held without an audience. Outdoor sports events can include spectators at 30% capacity and maximum 1000 people per sector. Wearing a face mask and observing social distancing will be required.
In-person classes for students from 5th to 12th grade can resume, following the schedule:
-5 May and 7 May – students in 5th, 9th and 12th grade.
-10-14 May – students in 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th and 12th grade.
-17-28 May – students in 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th grade.
PCR testing in Pirogov hospital costs 80 BGN.
Do you need a PCR test for a health checkup or traveling? Our community on Facebook Foreigners in Sofia & Friends has some suggestions for clinics and waiting times. Are you traveling to or within Europe? Check Re-open Europe for the latest updates about the regulations
From 6 June Bulgarian arrivals to Greece will be able to enter with the EU Digital COVID certificate. It needs to show evidence for either a negative PCR or antigen test, completed vaccination against COVID, or that the traveller has recovered from COVID.
From 4 June, Bulgarian arrivals to the Netherlands will no longer be required to present a negative PCR test or self-isolate when entering.
From 31 May, Bulgarian arrivals to Belgium will no longer need to present a negative PCR test or self-isolate. They will still need to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before arriving.
From 31 May, arrivals from Bulgaria to the Czech Republic will need to fill out a Public Health Passenger Locator Form, as well as present a negative PCR or antigen test. This measure is only for arrivals with public transport (bus, plane, etc). Arrivals with personal transport will be exempt.
From 29 May arrivals to Denmark from amber countries (including Bulgaria) who don't have Danish residency will need to present a negative PCR test before and after arriving in the country. No arrivals from amber countries will be required to self-isolate.
Bulgarian nationals can now enter Turkey by presenting a negative PCR test and either a vaccination certificate or a document that they have recovered from Covid-19. Children will be exempt from the requirement, as long as they travel with their parents, who present the documents.
From 28 May, all Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can move from Romania to Bulgaria without presenting any Covid-19 related documents, including a PCR test.
From 19 May, Bulgarians arriving in Austria will not be required to self-isolate as long as they can present either a negative PCR test, a vaccination certificate, or a document showing they have recovered from Covid-19 in the last 6 months.
Between 16 May and 30 July, Bulgarian arrivals to Italy will not be required to self-isolate, as long as they present a negative PCR or antigen test, taken up to 48 hours before arriving.
Bulgarian arrivals to Germany will no longer be required to self-isolate, as long as they can present a document confirming their vaccination, or have proof that they have recovered from Covid-19. A negative PCR test can be presented as well, and it can be taken up to 48 hours after arriving in the country.
Arrivals to Romania will not be required to self-isolate, as long as they can present proof for vaccination or that they have recovered from Covid-19. They can also show a negative PCR test, taken up to 72 hours before arriving in the country.
From 12 May Macedonia reduces its curfew hours to 0:00 to 4:00. From 9 May Tunis introduces a full lockdown until 16 May. Arrivals to the country will have to self-isolate for 7 days. From 10 May Cyprus removes its rule for sending SMS when leaving the house between 5:00 and 23:00.
Bulgarians arriving in Germany will need to present a negative PCR test, fill out a registration form, and self-isolate for 10 days - the measures will be in place at least until 12 May. From 6 May arrivals into Switzerland and Lichtenstein will no longer be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
From 24 April Germany will introduce a curfew from 22:00 until 05:00 in areas with a high density of Covid-19 infections.
From 23 April Greece will restrict movement between different areas of the country in order to minimise the spread of Covid-19 during the Easter holidays. The measures will be in place until 10 May. Entry restrictions to the country will remain in place until 3 May.
From 26 April Italy permits moving between the "white" and "yellow" regions of the country, by presenting a Green certificate.
From 19 April Slovakia removes the requirement for self-isolating if a passenger has been vaccinated or has recovered from Covid-19. A certificate confirming the vaccination will be required.
From 19 April Greece remove its 7-day quarantine requirement for passengers from the EU, as well as the UK and Israel. This will only be possible if arrivals present a negative PCR test or a vaccination certificate at least 14 days before arriving.
From 14 April Turkey introduces new measures for the duration of two weeks. Turkish citizens are forbidden to leave their homes from 19:00 to 5:00 during the week, and from 19:00 on Friday until 5:00 on Monday. Foreign tourists are exempt from the rule.
From 19 April, Belgium removes the restriction for unessential travel to and from the country from EU countries. A negative PCR test and seven days of self-isolation are still required.
Greece extends its entry restrictions until 19 April: it requires all passengers to present a negative PCR test, taken up to 72 hours before arrival, and self-isolate for 7 days.
Italy extends its 5-day quarantine requirement for passengers from Bulgaria until 30 April. From 6 April, North Macedonia introduces a strict curfew between 20:00 and 05:00 for the duration of two weeks.
From 30 March, arrivals to Germany must present a negative PCR test, taken up to 48 hours before departing. From 1 April, arrivals to Iceland must self-isolate in a hotel for 5 days, as well as present a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departing, take a test on arrival and another test at the end of the 5-day period. Between 1 April and 15 April, Portugal introduces a 14-day quarantine for arrivals from Bulgaria, as well as requiring a negative PCR test, taken up to 72 hours before departing.
Transit passengers in France are no longer required to present a negative PCR test when entering by plane. Greece extends its entry restrictions until 5 April - all arrivals need to present a negative PCR test, as well as self-isolate for 7 days.
Romania introduces a 20:00 curfew in areas where the infection numbers are high. Bulgarian arrivals to Czech Republic need to present a negative PCR test, taken up to 72 hours before arriving. They can no longer use an antigen test.
From 15 March, Turkey will require all arrivals by plane to fill out a registration form up to 72 hours before entering the country. Norway extends its entry restrictions until 7 April: only Norwegian citizens and foreigners with settled status can enter the country.
Romania no longer requires a negative PCR test for transit passengers with their own vehicle.
From 22 March all arrivals from Bulgaria to Switzerland must self-isolate for 10 days.
From 6 March to 6 April, Italy introduces new measures: arrivals from Bulgaria need to present a negative Covid test, taken no more than 48 hours before departing, when entering the country.
From 1 March, Czech Republic will require a negative rapid antigen test (taken no more than 24 hours before departure) test or a negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours before departure) for transit passengers.
Are you traveling to or within Europe? Check Re-open Europe for the latest updates about the regulations.
Temporarily, tickets will be again sold by the controllers on the public transport vehicles, until more ticket selling points will be added across the city. Follow Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova's Facebook page for more news.
More information can be found on coronavirus.bg.
You can consult all orders of the Minister of Health on their website (in Bulgarian).
Can I donate or volunteer?
The Ministry of Health has opened a donation account to raise funds to support the operation of hospitals during the emergency. The donation will provide safety kits for working medical staff, supplies, and equipment, including respirators. You can donate here:
Bulstat code of the Ministry: BG 000695317
The Bulgarian Red Cross is also providing packages of food for low-income families and collects donations.
Another new platform from the National Crisis Headquarters Dobrovolets.BG collects donations and recruits volunteers.
What's the traveling situation?
What are the quarantine conditions? What are the legal arrangements if we work from home?
Most businesses are advised to work from home. Especially the ones who deal with a high number of people, such as educational institutions and centers, banks, culture, and entertainment places. If your employer cannot offer distance working options you may be entitled to annual paid or unpaid leave. Unfortunately, the decision is solely in the hands of your employer. Statistics show that the number of layoffs and reduced working places has increased for the past couple of weeks.
What to do if you suspect you have coronavirus?
It’s a good idea to talk to a specialist if you have symptoms such as high fever, cough, joint or muscle pain, sore throat, or difficulty breathing.
The first thing to do is to contact your GP via the phone. Stay at home and do not visit any hospitals or medical clinics. This is very important to prevent other people from possible infection.
If you do not have a GP, then you can proceed in the following ways:
- First, find out your regional health inspectorate and call them. If you cannot find it online (search ‘RZI Sofia’ in Google), take step 2 and call the Ministry of Health to inquire.
- Call 112 (the national emergency center) to seek help or get information about the latest restrictions enforced by the Bulgarian Ministry of Health.
- Call the 24 hours COVID-19 hotline at +35928078757 to reach an expert epidemiologist and discuss your case, symptoms, what to do, etc.
Your GP or doctor in charge may issue you a sick leave for the period of your treatment according to the specific circumstances. If you put yourself in voluntary quarantine due to a visit to a risky destination, such as Italy or China, your GP or Regional Health Inspection Office is entitled to issue your sick leave.
Where can I order food?
From 6 May, several state-of-emergency restrictions will be removed. In particular, from 6 May, visits to outdoor areas (gardens, terraces, etc.) of restaurants, fast food venues, drinking establishments, and coffee shops are allowed, subject to the established anti-epidemic measures. The shops are mainly operating as usual (face masks are obligatory).
Here are some suggestions for food delivery websites:
Is there some entertainment online?
Our team put together a guide on what to do during your quarantine at home.
Will the government help the businesses in trouble?
The Bulgarian Finance Minister has announced the government is working on taking measures to alleviate pressure on affected businesses during the COVID-19 emergency. Some of the early measures include an extension of the deadlines for the annual accounting balance and local tax rebates until mid-year. He suggested that businesses affected by limited consumption and supply chain disruptions do not cut on staff. The government can support small and medium-sized enterprises with a budget of about 10 bln BGN.
To avoid large groups of people and also support small and medium-sized businesses, people are advised to shop for food and necessities from neighborhood stores.
The Bulgarian law has adopted measures to compensate for the businesses affected by the epidemic. Businesses that do not have a direct ban on activity (the ban is imposed on businesses in the agricultural sector, financial and insurance activities, government, education, and social work) can apply if their income in the month preceding the application has decreased by 20 % compared to the same month in 2019. If the employer wishes to benefit from the compensation, he cannot dismiss any of his employees for the period during which the company receives compensation. This prohibition of redundancies applies to both compensated employees and non-compensated employees.
What about sick leave?
The Health Minister explained that people returning from infected areas must call their employers and request leave. Only people who show symptoms and need to be hospitalized will receive compulsory sick leaves. The ministry is currently working on the current regulation of leave and working hours so that the situation does not severely impact workers.