Romania’s government has set an earlier curfew in the capital Bucharest and ordered shops to close earlier during the weekend in an attempt to curb a rise in new Covid-19 infections.
The new rules bring forward the curfew to 8 pm, while shops will have to close at 6 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays anywhere where cases exceed 4 per 1,000 inhabitants, which includes the capital.
For days, Bucharest residents have been discussing possible new restrictions and how they will impact business and people’s everyday lives.
Bucharest posted 2,171 cases on Thursday, an all-time high.
Prime Minister Florin Citu, the head of the emergency services, Raed Arafat, Health Minister Vald Voiculescu and Interior Minister Lucian Bode met Thursday to decide how far to go with the new restrictions.
They decided that in places where there are more than 7.5 cases per 1,000, the early curfew and early closing hours will apply all week long.
Cases have soared to 6.57 per 1,000 inhabitants in Bucharest. There is however a reluctance to impose a new lockdown, which would be complicated and politically unpopular.
As well as the curfew, gyms and fitness centers will close in areas where there are more than 4 cases per 1,000. The measures proposed by the National Committee for Emergency Situations were later adopted by the government.
Restaurants with outdoor tables will still be able to serve customers, but they will have to close by 8 pm when the curfew starts.
However, a decision that will be welcomed by churches, the government said that believers will be allowed to attend Easter services which go on until the early hours.
Western Christian churches celebrate Easter on April 4, while the Orthodox mark Easter on May 2.