- 384 registered cases.
- State of emergency declared.
- Serbian nationals and foreigners with temporary or permanent residency in Serbia who entered Serbia must self-isolate in their homes for 28 days.
- 28 days of quarantine for those who came prior to the ban from Italy, Switzerland, Iran, Romania, Spain, Germany, France, Austria, Slovenia and Greece.
- Mass testing and quarantine announced but no details available yet.
Movement of people
- Total closure of borders, except for road transport crews and other persons with special permit.
- Foreign crew transiting Serbia by inland waterways cannot be replaced within Serbia; Serbian crews to be isolated in quarantine for 28 days upon disembarking.
- Total ban on movement of senior citizens (65+ in populated areas with more than 5,000 inhabitants and 70+ in populated areas with less than 5,000 inhabitants), except on Sundays between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m.
- Ban on movement of other citizens between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. (between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Saturdays), except for:
- Licenced healthcare workers;
- Officers on duty;
- Persons granted a special permit for movement by the Ministry of Interior (such as employees working 3rd shift);
- Persons in urgent need of medical assistance with two persons accompanying them.
- Pets can be taken out for a walk within the perimeter of 200m for 20 minutes per day, between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.
- Permits for movement of employees previously issued for the 8 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew will be valid also from the extend 5 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew. Requests for new permits can be submitted to the Ministry of Economy electronically.
- Ban on public transport without special permit from the Ministry of Transport.
- Ban on gatherings in indoor spaces with more than 5 people.
- Ban on outdoor activities in parks and public areas intended for recreation and sports.
- Employees in the healthcare and social security sectors are subject to a travel ban to countries with intensive COVID-19 transmission.
- Movement of asylum seekers and irregular migrants housed in asylum centers and reception centers in Serbia is temporarily restricted, and an increased surveillance and security of these facilities established. These categories of people will be allowed to leave the facilities exceptionally and in justified cases (e.g. visit to a doctor), for a limited period, and with a special permission of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration of the Republic of Serbia.
- All border crossings (road, river and rail) closed from 8 a.m. 20 March 2020, except for road transport crews and other persons with special permit.
- International airports in Belgrade and Niš closed for commercial traffic. The airport will still be open for:
- Cargo and mail transport;
- Search and rescue;
- Humanitarian flights;
- Emergency medical transport;
- Technical landing and positioning of Serbian aircrafts;
- Emergency landing of aircrafts;
- State aircrafts and special purpose flights.
Courts, notaries, bailiffs
- Procedural deadlines suspended for the duration of the state of emergency.
- Court hearings adjourned, except in cases requiring urgent action.
- Debt collection and other enforcement actions suspended (with some exceptions)
- Certification of signatures, manuscripts and transcripts before notaries, as well as hearings in non-contentious cases suspended, except in particularly urgent and justified cases.
- Closed until further notice.
- Sick leaves automatically extended for 30 days.
- Employers are obliged:
- to enable remote work or all employees whose work can be done from home; a separate decision on remote work has to be issued to each employee; all employees working from home must be recorded;
- where remote work is not possible, work should be, if possible, organized in shifts, and employer must provide protective equipment;
- enable business meetings to be held electronically (video link, video call, etc);
- postpone official travel in the country and abroad;
- implement enhanced hygienic measures at facilities.
- Urban and suburban transport is organized healthcare workers and for employees who have to work during the state of emergency in Belgrade. Employers can submit requests for transport of their employees.
Trade and hospitality
- Shopping malls closed, except for supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies.
- All hangout venues (bars, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers etc.) closed except for take away and food delivery.
- Price control imposed for essential basic foodstuffs, protective equipment and disinfectants until 18 April 2020. Prices can only be raised within the limits of the annual inflation rate.
- Export ban on oil, semi-processed oil, whole sunflower seeds and sanitizers.
- Export ban on medications (both medications produced in Serbia and those which are currently on the territory of Serbia) until 15 April 2020.
- Limitation on purchases of protective equipment (10 masks/protective gloves per person) and disinfectants (2 large packs/5 small packs per person).
Financial measures and relief
- Financial stimulus to private sector in the amount of RSD 2.5-4 billion (primarily to small businesses and companies in the tourism sector). Details still to be hammered out. Aid will be reserved only for employers which will not have made employees redundant during the state of emergency.
- National Bank of Serbia reduced reference interest rate to 1.75%.
- Moratorium on loan and financial leasing (re)payments.
Capital investment measures
- Serbian Prime Minister announced that the Government will allocate additional EUR 200 million for capital investments.
- One-off aid in the amount of RSD 4,000 (cca. EUR 34) to retirees.
- Interest-free three-month moratorium on payment of utility bills for retirees.
- 10 % salary increase for healthcare sector starting from 1 April 2020.
- Moratorium on enforcement and interest calculation on tax debt under reprogramme.
- Interest on tax debt reduced to annual reference interest rate of the National Bank of Serbia (normally, the interest rate is equal to NBS reference rate plus 10 percentage points).
Other relevant measures
- Healthcare facilities will only accept emergency cases.
- All election campaign activities are suspended.
- All public institutions serving citizens at counters closed except for Tax Administration, Customs Administration and Treasury Department.
- Serbian Agency for Business Registers closed for clients.
- All identity documents of Serbian citizens (ID cards, passports, driver’s licenses, vehicle permits and weapon certificates) will be considered valid during state of emergency even if they expire. The Ministry of Internal Affairs will be issuing new traffic permits only for new vehicles and in case of transfer of vehicle.
- 52 registered cases.
- Montenegrin nationals and foreigners with temporary or permanent residence who entered into Montenegro prior to the total ban had to isolate in their homes for 14 days from the entry. Currently, Montenegrin citizens and foreign citizens with residence permit in Montenegro may enter the country only under special organization and must go into a quarantine upon the entry.
- Quarantine is also mandatory for persons who have been or are suspected to have been in contact with infected persons or with persons suspected to be infected.
- Publication of the identity (name and address) of the persons in isolation.
- Strict control of compliance. Obligation of the authorities to file criminal charges for non-compliance.
- Compulsory sale of protective equipment and disinfectants owned by wholesale drug stores to the public health system, at market prices.
- Adjustment of the functioning of the health system to the situation, through cancellation of non-urgent screening procedures.
Movement of people
- Entry to Montenegro possible only to Montenegrin nationals with special permit.
- Ban on any cross-border passenger transport until 31 March 2020.
- Ban on public passenger intercity, suburban, and city transport, including taxi service.
- Ban on intercity transport by private vehicles except for transport of goods, employees working outside their place of residence and people returning to their place of residence.
- Ban on:
- presence of more than two persons together in an open public place (sidewalks, squares, streets, parks, promenades, beaches, etc.), except for persons who perform work duties;
- Public gatherings and events, such as sports, political, religious, cultural and artistic events; private gatherings, ceremonies and events;
- Visits to hospitals and social and child-care institutions;
- Visits to prisons except for attorneys and court-appointed experts;
- Travels from Montenegro to Italy, Spain, South Korea, Iran, China (Hubei area), France, Germany, Switzerland and Denmark are banned. Travels for Montenegrin citizens to Japan, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and Austria are banned.
- The Ministry of Interior and Real Estate Cadaster closed for services at counters. In other state administrative bodies, limited number of people allowed on the premises (one person per counter).
- Sport facilities and pools closed.
- Hairdressers and cosmeticians closed.
- Wedding gatherings.
- Religious ceremonies.
- Funerals only within family.
- Maximum two adults can be in a passenger vehicle at the same time.
- Retail outlets that are allowed to work to implement social distancing measures.
- Chronic patients and people over 65 not to leave their homes.
- Shopping centres to reserve first two hours for elderly population and persons with disabilities.
- Prohibition of passenger flights until 31 March 2020.
- The following border crossings are closed:
- Sitnica – Zupci on the Herceg Novi – Trebinje road, Meteljka – Metaljka on the Pljevlja – Čajniče road, and Čemerno on the Pljevlja – Priboj road.
- The following border crossings are closed for passengers:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina: Scepan Polje – Hum, on the Pluzine – Foca road; Šula – Vitina, on the road Pljevlja – Foca;
- Republic of Albania: Potter – Baskim, on the Plav – Shkoder road; Sukobin – Muricani on the Ulcinj – Skadar road;
- Republic of Croatia: Kobila – Vitina, on the Herceg Novi – Vitina – Dubrovnik road,
- Republic of Serbia: Ranče – Jabuka, on the road Pljevlja – Prijepolje; Vuče – Godova on the Rožaje – Tutin road.
- Transport of goods is not banned, but special health and sanitary measures are taken at the borders.
- Entry ban for cruisers and yachts to ports: Bar, Budva, Kotor, Kumbor Port – Portonovi, Tivat (Gat I and Gat II) and Zelenika, until 2 April 2020.
- Court hearings postponed, except in employment and family law cases, until 30 March 2020.
- Judges of the Higher Courts to decide which non-ugent hearings will be held.
- Closed for at least 15 days, starting from 16 March 2020.
- During the shut-down of schools and kinder-gardens, one parent of a child not older than 11 years of age is entitled to a paid leave from work, with the exception of healthcare employees, and employees in certain state institutions. State has not undertaken to refund the employers.
- Recommendation to employers to organize remote work where possible.
- Sick leave can be extended to 30 April 2020 by GPs (normally, a committee is required for this long extension).
Trade and hospitality
- Closure of commercial shops (except for online shopping). Pharmacies and grocery shops, shops for hygiene products, gas stations, shops for construction products, plant protection products and seedling products, shops for animal food and medicines, baby shops and funeral homes, may be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Newsstands open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., work must be organized in two 4 hours shifts.
- Ban until 30 March 2020 on:
- on-premise consumption in hotels, except for hotel guests;
- nightclubs, on-premise consumption outlets (except for food delivery), playrooms, fitness centres, casinos, betting and gaming outlets;
- stands and on-premise consumption outlets in malls;
- a limited number of customers can be present in a shop at once (one customer per 10 sqm and no more than 50 customers at the same time (100 in markets);
- retail outlets have to ensure that there is at least 2-meter distance between two customers in a line and they are obliged to publish a notice on the maximum number of people permitted on the premises at the same time.
- 90-day moratorium on loan/financial leasing repayments upon request of the borrower.
- The Investment-Development Fund offers working capital loans to companies in the sector of medical supplies, tourism and hospitality, and food processing, up to EUR 3 million per borrower.
- Moratorium on rent payments to the state as lessor.
- Ban on public procurement except urgent ones and in the health sector.
- State will make advance payments on capital investment projects against bank guarantee.
- Ministry of Culture earmarked EUR 500,000 for cultural workers (musicians, actors, freelancers as well as companies in the film industry); funds to be granted on public tender.
- Excise on medical alcohol sold in pharmacies removed.
- Extension of the deadline for submission of financial statements and tax returns until 15 April 2020.
- Market inspections will monitor whether there is price abuse with respect to basic food products, hygiene products, drugs and medical devices.
Other relevant measures
- Personal ID documents issued after 2008 (including permanent and temporary residence and work permits, and vehicle permits if the vehicle is insured and has passed technical inspection) which have expired will be deemed valid.
- State and local authorities and state companies with public authorities ordered to deliver decisions by post.
- Municipal police officers asked to file criminal complaints for non-compliance with the measures.
- Removal of chairs and tables in front of restaurants and cafes ordered.
- One-off aid in the amount of EUR 50 to retirees.
- Online birth certificates and certificates from the register of Montenegrin citizens available free of charge.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
- 168 confirmed cases (Republika Srpska 114; Federation B&H 52; Brčko 2).
- Bosnia and Herzegovina declared emergency situation.
- Anyone with residence in Bosnia coming from abroad to be isolated for 14 days. Tent quarantines expected to be operational at border crossings Izačić, Bijača, Brod, Gradiška, Rača, Šepak, Vardište, and Klobuk. As of 23 March 2020, tent quarantine in Gradiška (Republika Srpska) became operational. Regulation on tent quarantine measures not published yet.
- Bosnians working in international road transport to be isolated until the next transport; foreign drivers working in international transport to be isolated in their vehicles while in transit.
- Publication of the identity (name and address) of persons who have breached home isolation measures; local governments units ordered to ensure facilities for isolation of these persons.
- Healthcare facilities to be organized to serve, as priority, persons infected by coronavirus.
Movement of people
- Ban on entry to Bosnia and Herzegovina for foreign citizens. The ban does not apply to:
- health workers;
- persons in need of medical assistance;
- civil protection representatives, NATO’s representatives;
- foreigners with residence in Bosnia;
- cargo road transport crews performing international transport; cargo transit is limited to 12 hours from entry into Bosnia and Herzegovina and foreign crews to be isolated in their vehicles;
- aircraft crews whose final destination is Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- diplomatic and consular staff accredited/with residence in Bosnia and Herzegovina;
- persons granted a permit by the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- Total ban on movement of senior citizens (65+).
- Ban on movement of all citizens between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. except of:
- Healthcare workers on duty;
- Officers on duty;
- Persons granted by employers a confirmation on required movement for the purpose of work process;
- Persons granted a special permit for movement by the Ministry of Interior;
- Persons in urgent need of medical assistance;
- Cargo road transport crews.
- Ban on all public gatherings until 30 March 2020.
- Intercity public transport suspended.
- Ban on movement of citizens younger than 18 and older than 65 until 31 March 2020.
- Ban on movement of all citizens between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m., except for those engaged on the implementation of COVID- 19 related measures and employees on shift regime.
- Persons must keep distance of at least 1.5 m while outdoor.
- Ban on public transport, excluding taxi, until 31 March 2020.
- Employees of health institutions not to leave Federation B&H.
- Ban on public gatherings until 31 March 2020.
- As of 30 March 2020, closure of all airports for passengers flights.
- Closure of border crossings with Serbia:
- Mali Zvornik (in the area of BP BiH BPU Zvornik) and IBCP Brasina – railway station inside the territory of Serbia (in the area of BiH IBCP Zvornik – railway border crossing point);
- Priboj (in the area of BP BiH GP BPU Mokronozi) and Most in Carevo Polje (in the area of BiH – under the Agreement within IBCP Uvac;
- Jamena – river (scaffolding) BCP (in the area of BP BiH BPU Donje Crnjelovo).
- Cargo transport in transit through Bosnia directed to the following border crossings: Croatia-Bosnia (Bijača – Nova Sela, Gradiška – Stara Gradiška, and Šamac – Slavonski Šamac), Serbia-Bosnia (Rača – Sremska Rača), Montenegro-Bosnia (Klobuk – Ilino Brdo).
- Inter-entity and local railway lines cancelled.
Courts and state administration
- Most courts cancelled hearings until 3 April 2020 except in urgent cases (detentions, security measures, family law cases etc.).
- Shut-down of kinder-gardens, schools, universities until 30 March 2020.
- Shut-down of universities, schools and kinder-gardens for 15 days.
- Time spent in isolation or self-isolation is treated as sick leave. It will be paid by employer but will be refunded by the cantonal health fund within 45 days from the request for refund. Sick leave certificate can be issued in a state-run healthcare institution or in a private practice.
- Recommendations for employers:
- reduction working hours and organization of remote work if possible;
- annual and other leaves to be allowed according to the law;
- to allow leave to parents of children not older than 10 years (one parent per family); unclear whether paid or unpaid leave;
- all business trips to be cancelled;
- meetings with a larger number of participants to be cancelled, and if necessary, to be organized in large rooms ensuring with sufficient distance between participants (1-2 meters).
Trade and hospitality
- Closure until 30 March 2020 of:
- Night clubs, wedding places, fitness centers, wellness and spa centres, and swimming pools;
- Retail outlets (excluding those selling food products and other FMCG, animal food stores, pharmacies, agri-pharmacies, wholesale stores, hotel and hostels, gas stations);
- Hospitality facilities;
- Private dental ordinations;
- Gaming outlets;
- Children playrooms;
- Shopping malls (except for supermarkets, pharmacies, and agri-pharmacies).
- Retail outlets which are permitted to remain open must limit the number of customers in the shop and put a notice at the shop entrance of a shop; distance between customers at the counter must be at least 1 m.
- Delivery of FMCG allowed between 7 am – 6 pm.
- On-premise consumption in hotels allowed only for hotel guests.
- Restriction on the quantities of certain products (flour, salt, oil, sugar, hygienic products) that may be purchased by one person.
- Suspension of services in cinemas, museums, theatres, concert halls, art galleries, public swimming pools and bathing areas, sports and recreation centres, until 31 March 2020.
- Suspension of services in all type of hospitality facilities (restaurants, bars, nights clubs, fast foods, casinos, betting shops and all similar facilities) excluding services of food production and delivery, public kitchens, production and serving food for hotels’ guests, until 31 March 2020.
- Suspension of services in beauty and hairdressing outlets, and children playrooms, until 31 March 2020.
- Retail outlets must ensure that there is at least 1.5-meter distance between customers, until 31 March 2020.
- Closure of open markets excluding those selling agri-food products, until 31 March 2020.
- Closure of retail outlets (excluding those selling food products, hygienic products, fish stores, specialized stores of medical and veterinary products and equipment, animal food stores, pharmacies, agri-pharmacies, wholesale of food, drinks and hygienic products, kiosks, gas stations, specialised stores of equipment for children, stores of orthopaedic and other assisting products, stores of construction, plumbing and electrical materials, chemical cleaning facilities, bakeries), until 31 March 2020.
- Closure of private dental practices.
- Banks obliged to devise a set of relief measures to be offered to clients whose ability to repay the loans has been affected by the COVID-19 crises (including six-month moratorium on loan repayments, grace periods, debt reprogramme, modification of exposures). The measures should be selected by the banks themselves, and offered on individual or portfolio basis. No fees can be charged to, and no higher interest can be imposed on, the clients in this respect. Relief does not apply to non-performing loans.
- The Government of FB&H announced a guarantee fund to be established to provide guarantees to banks for working capital loans to the most affected sectors.
- Price control on flour, all kinds of bread, pastries and other bakery products made from flour and cereals, milk and dairy products, eggs and egg products, sugar, salt for human consumption, rice, pasta, margarine, all kinds of fresh meat, fish and their processed products, fruits and vegetables, canned meat, canned fish, drinking water, edible oil, infant food, dietetic products, disposable diapers for children and adults, sanitary napkins, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, soap, disinfectants for water, facilities and hands (including concentrated alcohol), toilet paper, toothpaste, protective overalls and other protective and medical clothing and footwear, goggles and visors, safety gloves, shoe covers, surgical protective masks, face shields FFP2 and FFP3 and linen and other laundry for the healthcare system.
IRBRS supporting measures
- Three-month moratorium, starting on 1 April 2020, for loans granted by Investment-Development Bank of Republika Srpska.
- Relief on indirect tax for equipment and funds donated by Bosnian and international entities for the prevention, control and elimination of COVID-19.
- Deadline for submission of tax returns due by the end of March extended until 30 April 2020.
- Deadline for submission of tax returns due by the end of March extended until 30 April 2020; communication with Tax Administration only via registered mail, e-mail or fax; entry into Tax Administration’s facilities forbidden.
- Recommendation to taxpayers to submit requests for reduction of advance corporate income tax payments in accordance with Article 52, paragraph 4, point c) of the Income Tax Act which provides a monthly advance tax to be reduced upon request of a taxpayer in the case of natural or other disaster significantly affecting taxpayer’s business.
- Tax Administration of the Federation of B&H instructed to accept taxpayers’ requests for debt rescheduling.
- Lump-sum tax applicable to private entrepreneurs to be reduced.
Other relevant measures
- Truck drivers must have special permits issued by their employers for each transport.
- Reduced hours of post offices; international shipping for certain destination countries suspended.
- All public institutions and private entities in Federation of B&H serving clients at counters must ensure at least 1.5-meter distance between persons, until 31 March 2020.
- Visits to persons in social care institutions and detention-rehabilitation centres in Federation of B&H banned until 31 March 2020.
- All administrative authorities and other public institutions in Republika Srpska ordered to organize work with minimum number of people.
Note: Dear readers, you will appreciate that the governmental measures we report on are not always clear and straightforward. We give our best to interpret them properly. However, this CORONA-19 Update is not a legal advice and we do not undertake any responsibility to the readers for accurateness of information and interpretations reported here.
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