STA, 23 July 2020 - Slovenia will not put Croatia on the red list of countries from which travellers must quarantine, Health Minister Tomaž Gantar said on Thursday. While he acknowledged the number of infections there has been rising, he said it was "encouraging they adopted quite a few measures after the election".
Gantar said that the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) had not yet proposed that Croatia be red-listed, and anyway the criteria for putting countries on one of the three lists had changed.
Get the latest from the Slovenian Police on the situation at the borders
Slovenia no longer considers just the number of infections per 100,000 inhabitants over a 14-day period, it also assesses the possibility of the infections spreading or being transmitted into other countries.
Gantar also said Slovenia would stop rapidly changing the status of countries, instead the decisions will be taken in conjunction with other countries.
Croatia is currently on Slovenia's yellow list. Citizens of those countries except for those residing in Slovenia are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine on entering Slovenia unless they are just passing through or fall under one of 18 exemptions. Slovenian arrivals are also checked more closely, as they need to prove they have not come from a red-listed country.
See more statistics on coronavirus and Slovenia here
STA, 23 July 2020 - The Finnish government has placed Slovenia on a list of countries for which restrictions apply on arrival due to the coronavirus outbreak. From Monday, the restrictions will also apply on arrivals from Austria and Switzerland.
According to a post on its web site, the Finnish government today decided to reinstate internal border controls for traffic between Finland and Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland. This is because these countries have seen an increase in the number of coronavirus infections since the previous assessment.
The Finnish government updates the list of countries for which restrictions apply about once a fortnight. EU countries already on the list are Spain, Luxembourg, Portugal, Poland, France, Sweden and the Czech Republic.
The restrictions entail a 14-day self-isolation on arrival. They can be lifted once the incidence of coronavirus has not exceeded eight new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 14 days.
Data from Slovenia's Covid-19 tracker site, which pools official data, shows that the country with a population of two million has 257 active cases as of 22 July, out of a total of 2,033 so far confirmed.
Slovenians can travel to virtually all EU and EEA/Schengen countries restriction free, one rare exception is Ireland.
STA, 22 July 2020 - Hit Alpinea, the biggest provider of accommodation at the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, is fairly happy with the occupancy rates this summer considering the situation. Most of the guests come from Slovenia with between 85% and 90% of them paying with the government vouchers.
The company's director Milan Sajovic has hailed the vouchers and the government furlough scheme as two very good measures in an interview with the STA. He would like both to be extended, the redemption of vouchers by the end of the 2020/21 winter season and the furlough scheme by the end of 2020.
Hit Alpinea, a subsidiary of the Nova Gorica-based gaming and tourism company Hit, employs over 200 people. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it did not hire seasonal workers this year, so it currently has some 20 staff fewer than last summer.
From the second half of March until the end of May, 90% of the staff was on furlough before the share gradually decreased as hotels started to open in June. By 17 July, all four Alpinea hotels reopened, providing a total of 418 rooms.
Hotel beds were initially well occupied at weekends, but now the rates have also improved during the week. "The occupancy rates are much lower than last year's when he had between 80% and 100% during the summer season, but we're glad the occupancy is good considering the situation," said Sajovic.
On the downside, the guests are spending less. "The bulk of the demand is generated by tourist vouchers," a measure that Sajovic described as excellent for Kranjska Gora as well as the coastal and spa resorts, but less so for Ljubljana and some other destinations.
He believes the vouchers could have a long-term positive effect. Many Slovenians are holidaying in Kranjska Gora for the first time and hopefully they will return, having realised that the alpine resort is an excellent alternative to the crowded seaside resorts.
There are few foreign visitors in Kranjska Gora at the moment, but the situation is getting better. Sajovic estimates that Slovenians will generate between 60% and 70% of the nights spent in tourism accommodation in Kranjska Gora this summer and the rest will be foreigners.
Those come mostly from the countries within the 1,000-kilometre radius of Kranjska Gora. Most visitors at this time are Hungarians, Czechs, Germans, Austrians and Italians. The hope is that the coronavirus situation in those countries does not deteriorate and that border restrictions are not stiffened.
While Sajovic understands the gravity and unpredictability of the situation, he believes the government could ease border restrictions for groups of athletes on preparations, who do not mix with other guests and travel in some sort of quarantine anyway. Such groups are a major market segment for destinations such as Kranjska Gora.
Hit Alpinea has been operating at a profit in recent years. "After growth, we were doing better than average in the past years," a trend Sajovic says has been interrupted by the pandemic this year. "The situation this year is unique, but we're looking into the future, we need but to survive this year."
All our stories on Slovenia’s tourism vouchers
STA, 21 July 2020 - The newspaper Primorske Novice says that Slovenia's less-known tourist destinations are the winners of the tourism voucher scheme designed to help the sector overcome the coronacrisis. They are being discovered because the well-known destinations are fully booked weeks in advance.
Only 6% of the vouchers, issued to all residents, have been redeemed so far and many people will be redeeming theirs in autumn or winter.
But this moment, many Slovenians are hoping to book a holiday at a destination that was far from the top of their list because the most popular destinations are full, the paper says under the headline We'll Be Back, Voucher or Not.
It also notes that there are two sides to every coin. While tourists want a nice and cheap holiday, service providers in some popular destination have doubled prices.
But the sector has also come to realise that domestic guests are the most reliable in this unpredictable world. They will not be able to save the season single-handedly, but the vouchers will see Slovenians discover their own country and decide whether they want to return.
"Data showing that domestic tourists have spread also across destinations they would not have considered usually ... is undoubtedly a positive outcome of this experiment."
All our stories on Slovenia’s tourist vouchers
STA, 20 July 2020 - Roughly 130,000 Slovenian residents have redeemed state-sponsored tourism vouchers worth EUR 20 million in the first month since the launch of a scheme designed to help the Slovenian tourism industry recover from the coronavirus epidemic.
The rate at which the vouchers are redeemed has been growing and more than 20,000 bookings have already been made for the coming days, Financial Administration director Peter Jenko told the press on Monday.
The bulk of the vouchers were redeemed at the most popular tourism destinations: coastal resorts, Gorenjska region and spas. Some 44% were spent on hotels, 20% for self-service apartments and roughly a tenth in campsites, he said.
Most people redeem just a portion of the voucher at one time, which means that many of the 130,000 who redeemed theirs still have credit.
Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said the figures showed the scheme was a success and people see the stimulus money as sensible.
Počivalšek being the author of the scheme, some have taken to calling the vouchers "Počivoucher", which the minister says showed "people have a positive attitude to this measure".
Vouchers worth a total of EUR 345 million, EUR 200 per adult and EUR 50 per underage resident, were introduced as part of measures to help the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
The vouchers are seen as a much needed boost for local tourism, although they will not be able to fully offset the shortfall of revenue generated by foreign guests.
Learn more about Slovenia’s tourism vouchers
STA, 15 July 2020 - New infrastructure for hikers, mountain cyclists and winter sports lovers has been set up at more than 40 locations in the western Karavanke mountain range on both sides of the Slovenian-Austrian border, as part of the Alps Adriatic Karavanke/Karawanken project, worth almost 2.5 million euro.
Mountain cyclists are also able to enjoy along Trans Karavanke/Karawanken, a new 132-km route leading from Jezersko to the Korensko Sedlo pass.
The three-year project has brought together 12 partners from Austria's Carinthia and Slovenia's Gorenjska, and has been led by Gorenjska's regional development agency.
It has also resulted in common promotional activities at fairs abroad and a strategy on further development and cross-border cooperation.
Apart from the Trans Karavanke cycling route, an adrenaline route for mountain cyclists was launched and a hiking trail expanded with four new routes.
Walking routes in valleys, a new centre for mountain cyclists, a children's winter park, and a winter centre in Jezersko featuring areas for skiing, cross-country skiing and sledding have also been launched.
Several mountain huts have acquired new equipment for outdoor activities and accommodation, and info boards for powder skiing have been set up.
"All partners agree that Karavanke is an opportunity for further cross-border cooperation, which will enhance further tourism and economic development in this area," project manager Barbara Špehar told the STA on Wednesday, as the partners in the project met in Jezersko.
The Alps Adriatic Karavanke/Karawanken project has been financed from the EU's Interreg Slovenia-Austria programme with European regional development funds.
Its partners would also like to pair up with the partners of Geopark Karavanke/Karawanken, a similar project on the eastern side of the Karavanke mountain range.
STA, 17 July - As of Friday Montenegro and Luxembourg are on Slovenia's red list of Covid-19 highly risky countries given their epidemiologic status. Croatia has meanwhile remained on the yellow list, which indicates a higher level of caution is advised, said the government on Thursday after a correspondence session.
Poland and the UK have been placed on Slovenia's green list of Covid-19 safe countries after the government was acquainted with a National Public Health Institute (NIJZ) report on the epidemiologic situations in member states, most notably Italian regions, Schengen area countries and Western Balkans countries.
Apart from Montenegro and Luxembourg, China, Algeria, Kazakhstan, Honduras, Israel, Equatorial Guinea, Cape Verde, Colombia, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Azerbaijan, Iraq, the Virgin Islands, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, Seychelles, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Eswatini and Suriname have been removed from the yellow list and moved to the red list.
A country is on the yellow list if it’s not on the red or green lists. You can see the most up-to-date lists on the police site, in English, here - noting that this story was pubished 17 July, 2020
If a person regardless of their citizenship enters Slovenia coming from one of the countries on the red list, they are put in a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Exemptions apply in certain cases.
As of Friday, Slovenia's list of Covid-19 safe countries has seen additions of Poland, Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Uruguay, San Marino, Vatican City and Morocco (all previously on the yellow list).
Certain countries have acquired or retained their status as a Covid-19 safe country even though their epidemiologic situation has slightly exceeded 10 infections per 100,000 citizens in a 14-day incidence period. The exceptions have been granted because cases are trending upward only slightly, epidemiologic data is reliable and coronavirus imports from those countries into Slovenia have been rare or non-existent.
Therefore, Austria, Belgium, France, Spain and the Czech Republic remain on the green list, whereas Canada, Monaco (both previously on the yellow list), as well as Andorra and the UK (both previously on the red list) have been moved to the green list.
Meanwhile, Iceland has been removed from Slovenia's list of Covid-19 safe countries.
Interior Minister Aleš Hojs announced at today's government coronavirus briefing that Slovenia would introduce a new model for categorising countries according to the level of safety regarding coronavirus contagion.
The limit of 10 coronavirus cases per 100,000 citizens in the past fortnight will not be amended, however the new model will put more focus on determining the source countries of infections recorded in Slovenia and the distance between the country in question and Slovenia.
Hojs also presented changes to the border policy under which people ordered to quarantine could enter Slovenia at any border crossing with Croatia as of Monday. Police officers will be the ones serving the quarantine orders on the border and inland under the new decree.
The authorities are striving to ensure the orders are issued and served as soon as possible, said Hojs, adding that even if the order was potentially served at a later time, the individual had still been informed of the mandatory quarantine measure.
On Thursday, more than 300 quarantine orders were served on the border and only 22 inland, the minister said.
Follow all the news on coronavirus and Slovenia
STA, 15 July 2020 - After reaching above-average levels in early July, the sea temperature has been significantly below average in recent days, hydrologist Mojca Robič of the Environment Agency told the STA on Wednesday. Lower temperatures are mostly a result of a strong bora wind pushing through the coast.
At the start of July, the sea temperature reached 27 degrees Celsius, whereas in recent days it was hardly above 20 degrees.
This month has not been extremely hot, said Robič, adding that a two-day period of a fierce bora and thunderstorms has contributed the most to the cold spell.
"The bora swirls the water, which is why it gets colder," said the expert.
The average July sea temperature stands between 23 and 25 degrees, according to the agency. Usually, the sea enters a warmer phase by the end of the month; this year's trend hence departs from the normal course.
HINA, July 11, 2020 – The Croatian Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said on Friday evening that Slovenian tourists did not need to worry about their arrivals in Croatia, particularly in the coastal Adriatic area where the epidemiological situation was good.
Cappelli, who was in Croatia's delegation led by Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic for the talks with their Slovenian hosts in Otocec ob Krki on Friday, said that the meeting had also revolved around tourism-related issues against a backdrop of the epidemiological situation.
"During the meeting in Slovenia we emphasised the importance of Slovenian visitors for the Croatian tourism industry. Currently, there are 92,000 Slovenians vacationing here, and 70% of them are in three Adriatic counties: Istria, Promorje-Gorski Kotar and Zadar, which are labelled as green areas that is epidemiologically safe and favourable just as the remaining four coastal counties," the minister told Hina.
The minister said that most Slovenian guests were staying in camp-site facilities and reassured them that that they did not have to worry about self-isolation.
In the coming days, Croatian and Slovenian epidemiologists will give additional recommendations for monitoring trends in the tourist trade and other events between the two countries on a daily basis, he said.
Special attention will be paid to efforts to prevent the emerging of any new hotspots of the virus in connection with public and private gatherings.
"I urge all tourists to abide by the current and new measures from the Croatian COVID-19 crisis management team. This is the only way to ensure the tourist trade and other economic activities can go on this year," Cappelli concluded.
Updated at 17:25, 8 July
RTV Slovenia reports that the government is now limiting most gatherings to no more than 50 people, and that all meeings and parties for between 10 and 50 people will only be allowed in the organiser has everyone’s details - names, addresses and phone numbers - and keeps them for at least a month. The restriction will apply to private events, including weddings.
Changes to the ban on gatherings do not apply however to the number of people in restaurants and pubs or on buses. Church masses are allowed.
Sports and cultural events with up to 500 people are still possible if there is a police presence and the seating order is known.
Meanwhile, STA reports that the government has amended the border regime in force for passengers arriving in Slovenia from Covid-19 red-coded countries. As a result, only the Obrežje border crossing with Croatia is open around the clock for arrivals who are required to quarantine since last midnight.
Under amendments to its decree adopted by the government late last night, quarantine orders will be handed daily only between 6am and 10pm at the Gruškovje, Obrežje, Metlika and Jelšane crossings on the border with Croatia, Pince on the border with Hungary and Ljubljana airport.
Meanwhile, quarantine orders for arrivals who come from the Covid-19 high-risk countries coded red will continue to be handed around the clock at the Obrežje crossing.
At checkpoints on the border with Austria and Italy and at airports in Maribor and Portorož police will collect data on passengers, referring them to the Health Ministry, which will hand quarantine orders at the address of residence or where the person will be quarantined in Slovenia.
Quarantine orders are being handed at the border since Saturday. More than 1,000 such orders were issued at the weekend at the six designated border crossings.
Under the new system, health inspectors will be able to perform up to 500 inspections of adherence to quarantine rules a day.
The Health Inspectorate will also step up oversight of how eating and drinking establishments abide by the rules and measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, including whether the distance between the tables is sufficient and whether antiseptics are available.
The Deputy Director General of the Police Tomaž Pečjak is quoted by RT Slovenia as stressing that it's very important for everyone entering Slovenia from Croatia to have evidence that they had not been travelling elsewhere. For Slovenians this would be a hotel receipt or proof of owning a property in Croatia. For Croatians the evidence is less clear, but Pečjak said that the Slovenian Police may contact their neighbours to find out if the travellers had recently been outside Croatia. All such evidence will be accepted at the discretion of the police officer, with Pečjak adding: "If they suspect that this person is not coming from only Croatia or any other EU country on the yellow list, they can issue a quarantine decision."
More on these lists here
He went on to say that a bill for coffee or lunch would not be sufficient for Slovenians, "as this only proves that this person was in Croatia", but not prove that they had not been in another country. The evidence “must be personalized and must prove that this person was present in the Republic of Croatia at all times and did not go to any of the areas on the red list.”
RTV Slovenia also reports that Austria is tightening controls on it's Slovenian and Hungarian borders. Crossings will still be allowed, but there will be more inspections.
This is a developing story, and there will probably be updates later today, so please check the main page, if needed,
STA, 6 July 2020 - The government has re-instated France and the Czech Republic, with the exception of the Moravian-Silesian Region, to the green list of the epidemiologically safe countries, with the decision effective as of Tuesday.
Announcing the news, the Government Communication Office said that the decision had been made following a briefing on the Covid-19 situation in the two countries by the National Public Health Institute.
France and the Czech Republic were put on the so-called yellow list along with Croatia on Saturday. The Moravian-Silesian Region in the east of the Czech Republic remains on the list.
Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from yellow-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined under certain conditions.
These include proving they own a piece of property or a vessel there or producing an original bill for accommodation etc.
If they are not able to prove this, they are considered as arriving in Slovenia from a high-risk country and subjected to two-week quarantine.
Slovenian citizens and foreigners with permanent or temporary residence in Slovenia arriving from green-listed EU or Schengen zone members are not quarantined.
Persons who have temporary or permanent residence in these countries are free to enter Slovenia without any restrictions or quarantine either.
More details on the green, yellow and red lists here - but be sure to click the links for updates
The first thing to note is that this is a dynamic situation, with countries adopting different policies with regard to easing the lockdown and thus different outcomes in terms of surges and second spikes expected. This article thus sets out the facts as they are (or were) on Sunday 5 July. For the very latest news, here’s all our stories on the coronavirus in Slovenia
Slovenia has a traffic light system of green, yellow and red countries, meaning free to enter, enter with some restrictions, and enter only under special circumstances.
The Green List
The green list (zeleni seznam) includes safe countries (or administrative units of countries) from which people can enter without quarantine. It’s produced based on the epidemiological status for individual countries, any bilateral technical agreements with neighbouring states, other EU Member States or members of the Schengen area.
As of 5 July there are just 21 countries on the green list: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. A regularly updated list can be found, in English, on the Ministry of Health website.
The red list (rdeči seznam) contains those countries where the covid-19 situation is getting worse or already bad. Anyone entering Slovenia from one of these nations – regardless of citizenship or residency status – has to undergo a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine period, with some exceptions (see here). The red list currently includes the following 36 countries (and the related police site, in English, is here, if reading this later in the summer):
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Republic of South Africa
Saint Thomas and Prince
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The yellow list (rumeni seznam) includes all those countries not on the green or red lists, with recent additions being Croatia, France, and Czechia (aka the Czech Republic). In principle, yellow countries are those with between ten and 40 active infections per hundred thousand inhabitants. For Slovenian citizens or foreign residents, nothing changes when a country moves from the green to yellow list, and no quarantine is required on returning to Slovenia.
Non-resident citizens of countries on the yellow list will need to undergo mandatory two-week self-quarantine on entry unless they’re just transiting the country or booked accommodation here while their country was still green, and also have a valid certificate proving they have tested negative for covid-19. There are some exceptions for work, medical treatment, family matters and so on (more details here, and the official border police site is here).
Croatia is a favourite holiday destination among Slovenes and others who live in the country, due to its vastly greater coastline. It’s currently on the yellow list, which means – as noted about – that no real restrictions apply when re-entering Slovenia if you’re Slovenian, a foreign resident, or citizen of an EU or Schengen state. However, because of the surge in cases in the Western Balkans you’ll need to show some evidence that you spent your time in Croatia, and not further south, such as a hotel bill or property ownership papers. Border police officers will have a discretion to decide whether your proof is valid, or else they’ll assume you’ve come from a red-listed Balkan country, and thus order you to undergo a two-week quarantine period.
You can find all our stories on coronavirus and Slovenia here.
Remember that Slovenian citizens and residents don’t need to worry about the yellow list, but others will need to self-quarantine for 14-days unless they can prove that they’re travelling for work, a medical examination, education, to attend a funeral, see a close family member, or have booked accommodation in Slovenia , persons crossing the border due to involvement in education, persons crossing the border due to funeral, persons maintaining contact with close family members, persons with urgent personal affairs, land tenants, persons booking accommodation in Slovenia, also need a negative a covid-19 test result not older than 36 hours and performed in a Member State of the European Union or the Schengen area or in an organization or individual authorized by the National Institute of Public Health.
A 14-day quarantine is ordered for all persons entering Slovenia who have permanent or temporary residence in countries with a worsened epidemiological situation (the so-called red list) and for all persons regardless of citizenship or country of residence coming to Slovenia from these countries.
Exceptions (i.e., access without restrictions and quarantine) apply only to: