As a state of alert has been declared at national level, the Romanian government has imposed a series of measures with a significant impact on the activity of economic operators.
The enactment of the state of alert for a period of 30 days was ordered by Decision No. 24/2020 issued by the National Committee for Emergency Situations approving the state of alert at national level.
Against this backdrop, we will outline below the main measures adopted by the authorities:
1. Starting on 15 May 2020, it will be compulsory to wear a mask covering the nose and mouth in commercial premises, on public transport, in the workplace and in other enclosed spaces.
2. Public institutions and authorities as well as public and private economic operators are required to organise their activities in such a manner that employees can work from home or, if the activity performed does not allow for this, to take measures to:
- ensure epidemiological triage, consisting of checking the temperature of staff and visitors at the access points to the premises;
- mandatory disinfection of hands before entering workplaces;
- observing the rules on conducting activities in offices with communal areas (open space) and the rules on operating hotel accommodation units;
- changing working hours at entities with more than 50 employees so that the working hours begin and end at intervals of at least 1 hour, for at least 3 hours, for groups of at least 20% of the staff.
3. Public institutions and economic operators that carry out commercial activities or public-facing activities which involve people entering their buildings must take steps to organise their activities as follows:
- access must be organised so as to ensure a minimum area of 4m2 per customer/person and a minimum distance of 2m between any two people;
- not to allow access by people whose body temperature, measured at the entrance to the building, exceeds 37.3oC;
- to ensure the disinfection of exposed areas and to avoid crowds of people, especially near the cash registers/counters.
4. Passenger transport operators, whether public or private, must organise their activity in such a way as to comply with the specific rules.
5. In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infections, the organisation and holding of rallies, demonstrations, concerts or any other gatherings in open spaces, as well as cultural, scientific, artistic, sports, entertainment, gambling, fitness, pool and spa activities will be prohibited.
The following activities are exempted from these measures:
- activities organised by religious officials with the participation of the public which take place only outside places of worship, as well as private practices and rituals inside places of worship (with the participation of up to 16 people) which are carried out in compliance with the established prevention and protection measures. Religious services held in public spaces, outside places of worship, are not considered public gatherings;
- personal care activities that take place in specifically designated spaces and in compliance with the prevention and protection measures;
- training activities of professional athletes in training camps which are carried out in compliance with the prevention and protection measures;
- cultural activities carried out in specifically designated spaces, namely museums, libraries and exhibition halls, which are carried out in compliance with the prevention and protection measures;
- outdoor recreational sports activities such as cycling, hiking, running, boating, mountaineering, hunting, fishing or the like, which take place with the participation of up to 3 people who do not live together.
6. The activity of serving and consuming products in communal dining areas inside restaurants, hotels, motels, boarding houses, cafes or other public places, as well as on the terraces outside these locations, is temporarily suspended. Preparation of food, as well as the sale of food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, which do not involve customers remaining in the spaces intended for this purpose, such as drive-ins, room service, customer delivery, takeaway food, etc., are exempted from this rule.
7. The retail sale of products and services in shopping centres with a built area of more than 15,000m2 in which several economic operators carry out their activities is temporarily suspended. The following exceptions have been considered:
- the sale of food, veterinary, pharmaceutical products, medical optics products and services and cleaning services;
- the sale of electronic products and household appliances, but only if the economic operators ensure their delivery to the buyer’s home/headquarters;
- the activity carried out by economic operators within shopping centres that have direct access from outside the premises, while communication with the rest of the complex is interrupted.
8. A prohibition on people travelling outside their city/metropolitan area has been imposed, with the following exceptions:
- a) travelling for professional purposes, including between one’s home and place(s) of work and back;
- b) travelling for humanitarian or volunteering purposes;
- c) travelling for agricultural activities;
- d) agricultural producers travelling for the sale of agricultural products;
- e) travelling to take care of or manage a property in another city or to have documents issued which are necessary to obtain certain rights;
- f) travelling to participate in programmes or procedures in treatment centres;
- g) travelling for other justified reasons, such as the care/accompaniment of children/family members, the care of a relative or dependent, assisting the elderly, sick or disabled persons, the death of a family member;
- h) travelling for medical assistance that cannot be postponed or offered remotely;
- i) travelling for individual recreational sports activities carried out outdoors (cycling, hiking, running, boating, mountaineering, hunting, fishing or the like), with the participation of up to 3 people;
- j) travelling to participate in family events with a limited number of persons and in compliance with the social distancing rules;
- k) travelling for car purchasing, servicing, performing the regular technical inspection or other vehicle maintenance operations and activities that cannot be performed in the city of residence.
According to the legislative act, the exempt situations must justified by a statement on one’s own responsibility. For this purpose, you can download the form for the statement on one’s own responsibility, as adopted by the authorities.
Another set of measures has been newly adopted or extended by Emergency Ordinance No. 70/2020, published in the Official Gazette on 14 May 2020 and applicable starting on 15 May 2020, for example:
(I) regarding employment:
- the aid granted by the state for technical unemployment has been extended until 31 May 2020;
- the granting of paid days off for parents has been extended until the end of the 2019-2020 school year;
- establishing individualised work programmes without the employee’s consent;
(II) regarding certain facilities and/or obligations of economic operators/other entities:
- the deadline for issuing emergency state certificates is extended until 15 June 2020 for economic operators whose activity has been affected in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic during the state of emergency;
- the deadline for filing the Ultimate Beneficial Owner Statement is extended until 1 November 2020;
- the activity of the Trade Register Office is carried out mainly by electronic means and by post;
- statements on one’s own responsibility that are attached to the application for registration/other applications may take the form of a deed with handwritten signature or in electronic form and may be sent to the Trade Register Office without any other formality, by electronic means, with an electronic signature, or by post and courier. Statements under one’s own responsibility can also be in notarised form, certified by a lawyer or made before the Trade Register Office.
By Alexandru Ene, Partner, and Rusandra Sandu, Partner, Noerr