Bucharest to close schools, cinemas, theaters, indoor restaurants as it enters “red scenario”
Schools in Bucharest will continue classes exclusively online after the city entered the red scenario, Romania's prime minister Ludovic Orban announced on Sunday, October 18.
The “red scenario” means that the incidence of COVID-19 infections passed three cases per 1,000 inhabitants over the rolling 14 days. Other restrictions to be implemented in this scenario include making masks mandatory in all outdoor spaces, and closing theaters, cinemas, indoor restaurants and cafes, according to the PM.
Orban assured the parents who will have to stay home with their children as long as schools are closed that the Government would pass an ordinance to pay 75% of their salaries during this period. The measure applies only for one parent and only for children under 12.
The closing of schools will be decided after all procedural steps are followed and the official announcement will come from the Municipal Committee for Emergency Situations, PM Orban said. Education minister Monica Anisie said the schools will probably close starting Tuesday, which will also be the first day of online learning for all students in Bucharest. Several schools in the city already switched to online courses after COVID-19 cases were recorded among students or teachers. However, most schools in the capital have been functioning in a hybrid system in recent weeks, with half of the students in class and the other half following the courses online.
The authorities delayed triggering the red scenario in Bucharest last week by changing the methodology for calculating the incidence rate. Thus, the infection cases recorded in COVID-19 clusters, such as retirement homes, were excluded from the total count. However, Bucharest's infection rate increased, nevertheless, due to the high community transmission of the virus. On Sunday, Bucharest recorded 770 new COVID-19 infection cases in the last 24 hours, out of 3,920 cases at a national level.
The Strategic Communication Group thus announced an official incidence rate of 3.02 in Bucharest on Sunday, October 18, based on the new methodology. The total number of cases in the capital in the last 14 days amounted to 7,876 and the total incidence rate calculated at an official population of 2.15 million is 3.66 per thousand, Romania-Insider.com has calculated.
Valcea and Alba counties are also very close to the 3 per thousand level for entering the “red scenario”.
(Photo source: Inquam Photos / Sabin Cirstoveanu)