Romanian authorities say pandemic restrictions will be lifted in the capital in time for the Easter which Orthodox Christians celebrate this weekend after a fall in new coronavirus cases.
On Monday, the capital had an infection rate of 3.46 per 1,000 inhabitants, just below the figure which triggers extra restrictions. The figure is calculated over a rolling 14-day period.
As a result of the drop in cases, restaurants and shops can stay open until 10 pm during the week and 9 pm at the weekends, prefect Alin Stoica said, relaxing the current curfew.
Gyms and fitness centers can reopen as well. The new rules start at midnight Monday.
However, cases need to fall below three to 1,000 inhabitants before theaters, cinemas and concert halls can reopen, he said.
Romanian authorities have already announced that they will lift restrictions for Easter services which start late and last until dawn on Sunday.
The easing of restrictions is a relief for pandemic-weary businesses in the capital and other badly affected areas. They which have had to close shops and restaurants at 6 pm during the weekend since the beginning of April.
Traffic light system
Churches and believers will welcome the reopening of churches for Easter this year. In 2020, authorities closed churches as they grappled with the pandemic which was in its early stages.
Bucharest is one of three areas that is still in the red zone in Romania’s traffic light system with more than three cases per 1,000 inhabitants.
It posted 275 cases on Monday, but the figure is artificially low due to reduced testing over the weekend.
Romania added 1,256 new cases on Monday and 117 deaths over the last 24 hours.