Romania’s leaders say they won’t interfere with Easter and other religious holidays as they work toward a return to pre-pandemic norms.
Prime Minister Florin Citu met religious leaders ahead of Palm Sunday this weekend and Easter which the Orthodox Christians celebrate on May 2.
The prime minister told leaders the government doesn’t plan to introduce extra pandemic restrictions and will allow religious services after curfew hours.
Last Easter, Romania was under a state of emergency and church services were banned. The ban was unpopular among some Orthodox believers and priests who considered the shut-down excessive.
There are currently curfews in some parts of Romania where virus cases are high, potentially interfering with midnight services.
With that in mind, the center-right government said restrictions would be lifted for the Easter weekend and the end of Ramadan.
Ramadan started at sundown on April 12 and lasts 30 days and ending at sundown on Tuesday, May 11.
The prime minister said religious leaders had reassured him that believers would comply with social distancing measures and mandatory masks.
. „I appreciate that the religious groups at this meeting are willing to support authorities efforts to fight the spared of the new coronavirus,” he said.
“We are all concerned about people’s health. We want to make sure that the measures in place are understood and respected. “
“Only if we follow these rules and, in parallel, we will be vaccinated in large numbers, we will be able to overcome this difficult period faster and return to a normal life,” he added.
“The success of the vaccination campaign is not a fad or a someone’s personal ambition; it is is essential for the protection of people’s lives and health, ” he added.
President Klaus Iohannis also said that authorities would lift restrictions for Easter night because “we don’t interfere with religious customs.”
The government extended the state of alert on April 13 for another 30 days. But it allowed provisions for the Easter weekend which this year falls on May Day, a national holiday.