Romania relaxed more lockdown rules on Monday. The reopening of outdoor cafes is seen as the biggest step toward a return to normal life after restrictions were imposed in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
June 1 is officially the first day of summer in Romania, so it seemed fitting that outdoor cafes and restaurants reopened after they were forced to close two and a half months ago when a state of emergency was imposed.
But it’s hardly back to the ‘old days,’ with patrons allowing a maximum of four people at a table (unless it’s a family) and a mandatory gap of two meters between tables.
The weather was less than summer-like on Monday reflecting the ‘sort-of-back-to-normal’ state. Scattered showers, overcast skies and a maximum of 21C is forecast across the country.
Not everyone who turns up at a café for a ‘suc’ or a non-alcoholic beverage, a favorite Romanian pastime, will be let in.
People with respiratory symptoms won’t be admitted, according to new government rules. Customers will be asked to disinfect their hands when they arrive.
The number of coronavirus cases has dropped to below 200 a day for the last two weeks, but there are fears of new infections if rules are relaxed too quickly. Romania has reported 19,257 cases of the virus so far, and 1,270 people have died.
New hygiene rules mean that menus or the salt and pepper pots can’t be passed from one table to another and tables will disinfected after clients leave.
Waiters will be required to wear face masks and gloves. Kitchens will have to be disinfected and cleaned more often, the government said.
Beaches opened Monday but beachgoers will have to put their deckchairs two meters apart unless they’re from the same family.
Outdoor concerts and other cultural events can resume starting Monday, with a maximum of 500 spectators.
Sporting competitions can also take place, except for contact sports, like football, volleyball or rugby.
One pastime that isn’t going back to pre-pandemic days is the going to the mall. Malls will stay closed for the time being.