Closure of “Non-Essential” Shops Extended Another Week

By , 13 Dec 2020, 14:17 PM Business
The parts of supermarkets selling "non-essential" goods are also off limits The parts of supermarkets selling "non-essential" goods are also off limits Neža Loštrek

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STA, 13 December 2020 - The government has extended for another week the temporary closure of shops offering non-essential goods and services to consumers in person, as it is due to resume debate on coronavirus restrictions today.

A new decree extending the ban, which was first imposed on 16 November in a bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic, is effective from Sunday.

The government opted for the extension late last night following consultations with health and business officials, the assessment being that the coronavirus situation in the country is not improving.

At the consultations, held at Brdo estate yesterday, hospital managers warned that hospitals have limited reserves for any potential increase in the number of Covid-19 patients.

According to a report by TV Slovenija, the officials warned the number of patients requiring hospital treatment could increase by up to 30% in January, also due to other respiratory conditions.

"We've given the reserves we had into fighting Covid-19. Patients with other diseases who also need beds are coming," Aleš Rozman, director of the Golnik University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases, told Radio Slovenija.

Bojana Beović, the head of the Covid-19 advisory group, speaking to reporters ahead of the meeting with the government, said: "We can secure, let's say an extra 100 beds, but this means another 100 gravelly ill, more dead and more people with long-term consequences."

Under the government lockdown exit strategy, the number of hospitalised patients should fall bellow 1,200 or the number of daily infections below 1,350 on average over the past seven days for the first easing of measures.

While data for Saturday are yet to be published, a total of 1,276 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised on Friday, as the seven-day average of new cases stood at 1,526, according to tracker site.

The government also met yesterday representatives of businesses, who have been stepping up their calls for the reopening of some shops such as hairdresser's, florist's and small clothes stores.

After the meeting, which dragged late into the night, Branko Meh, the head of the Chamber of Trade Crafts and Small Business, told the STA the government heard out their arguments so they expected some easing soon.

"We talked mainly about regional opening of hair and beauty salons, flower shops and clothes stores," he said, adding that the business expressed their commitment to abide by safety measures.

Boštjan Gorjup, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, also expects that the government will start easing some measures gradually in the coming days.

The government will resume debate on coronavirus measures in a scaled-down format today, according to the Government Communication Office. Another possible item on the agenda is the 7th stimulus package.

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