COVID-19 Update #45: Serbia/Montenegro/Bosnia and Herzegovina

Changes to the yesterday report are marked.

On 5 May 2020, there are no changes to our last daily report on Serbia and Montenegro.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • 1947 confirmed cases (Republika Srpska 985; Federation B&H 942; Brčko 20).
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina declared emergency situation.
  • Republika Srpska declared state of emergency; in force as of 3 April 2020.
Health measures
  • Individuals with residence in Bosnia coming from abroad to Republika Srpska are quarantined in special facilities, and those coming to Federation B&H are placed under health monitoring and movement restriction as determined by federal sanitary inspector, for a period of 14 days;  in Republika Srpska, quarantine measures do not apply to drivers in international traffic – local drivers have to isolate in their homes in between the tours while foreign drivers are not allowed to leave their vehicles while in transit; accredited diplomatic and consular staff; health workers; cross-border agricultural workers, subject to proof of land ownership/possession; President, Prime Minister, members of Government and Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina); in Federation B&H, health monitoring and movement restriction measures do not apply to persons moving in the border area traffic, cross-border workers, drivers, pilots, and crews in international traffic – local drivers have to isolate in their homes in between the tours while foreign drivers are not allowed to leave their vehicles while in transit.
  • In Banja Luka and certain other towns in Republika Srpska, infected persons are placed in the isolation facilities.
  • Publication of the identity (name and address) of persons who have breached home isolation measures; people who breached isolation measures to be isolated in quarantine facilities.
  • 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, members of the military forces of NATO countries, members of EUFOR’s and staff of the NATO’s headquarters in Bosnia;
    • 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;
    • drivers and persons accompanying them in funeral vehicles;
    • international cargo railway and waterway crews;
    • foreigners in transit through Bosnia to their country of residence;
    • cross-border agricultural workers and owners of agricultural land, subject to proof of land ownership or confirmation of the owner that the person crossing the border works on the land.

Republika Srpska

Until 11 May 2020:

  • Curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. every day.
  • Ban on leaving the municipality/city of residence during weekends (between 12 p.m. Saturday and 6. p.m. Sunday).
  • Senior citizens (65+) living in urban areas may leave their homes only between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. from Monday to Friday; senior citizens in rural area (up to 75) may leave their homes to engage in agricultural activities; persons having registered apiaries allowed to move between their home and apiary every day from Monday to Friday, except between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and on weekends without any time limitations.
  • Bans do not apply to:
    • 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 gatherings of more than 3 people outdoors. Social distancing measures (2 m between persons and use protective mask and gloves).
  • Ban on all public gatherings.
  • Intercity and suburban public transport suspended.
  • Truck drivers must have special permits issued by their employers for each transport.

Federation B&H

  • Until 15 May 2020, senior citizens (65+) may leave their homes only on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and those younger than 18 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (transport by vehicles allowed every day). The restriction does not apply to agricultural workers while working, persons on duty in a legislature, executive, judiciary branches (members of parliaments, members of the Presidency and Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, entities’ governments, notaries, attorneys, judges, prosecutors, etc), employees, persons in need of urgent medical assistance, persons caring for children or senior persons, and children with special needs.
  • Persons must keep distance of at least 2 m while outdoor and use protective mask, scarf or similar face covers.
  • Ban on public transport, excluding taxi, until 15 May 2020.
  • Employees of health institutions not to leave Federation B&H.
  • Ban on public gatherings until 15 May 2020.
Air traffic
  • Closure of all airports for passengers flights until 1 June 2020.
Road traffic
  • 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).
  • Closure of 28 border crossings for border area traffic between Croatia and Bosnia.
Railway/waterway traffic
  •  Inter-entity and local railway lines cancelled.
Courts and state administration
  • Procedural deadlines in court proceedings suspended in Republika Srpska during the state of emergency, except in urgent proceedings (family law cases, discrimination and harassment at work place cases, company registration, detentions, criminal proceedings for public health and state of emergency related crimes, etc); statute of limitations tolled during the state of emergency.
  • Procedural deadlines in administrative proceedings suspended in Republika Srpska where participation of parties to the proceedings cannot be ensured due to COVID-19-realted measures or for other justified reason. Procedural deadlines for legal remedied against first instance decisions in tax proceedings suspended. Procedural deadlines are not suspended in urgent cases(proceedings involving life and health of people, public order, and public safety are under risk, etc).
  • Hearings postponed except in urgent cases (detentions, criminal cases under risk statute of limitations to expire, misdemeanours for breaching COVID-19 related measures, security measures).
Universities/schools/kinder-gardens

Republika Srpska

  • Shut-down of kinder-gardens, schools, universities.

Federation B&H

  • Shut-down of universities, schools and kinder-gardens.
Work place

Federation B&H

  • 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

Republika Srpska

  • Until 11 May 2020, closure of:
    • Hospitality businesses for on-premise consumption (only take away and delivery allowed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.);
    • Wellness and spa centres, and swimming pools;
    • Private dental ordinations;
    • Gaming operators, except for online gambling and lottery;
    • Children playrooms;
    • Sport events, schools, fitness and training places;
    • Beauty salons and hairdressers.
  • Wholesale and retail shops allowed to work with limited working hours.
  • Retail outlets 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 2 m and must ensure that employees and customers use protective masks and gloves.
  • On-premise consumption in hotels allowed only for hotel guests.

Federation B&H

  • Until 15 May 2020, closure of:
    • Cinemas, museums, theatres, concert halls, art galleries, public swimming pools and bathing areas, sports and recreation centres;
    • 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;
    • Children playrooms;
    • Open markets excluding those selling agri-food products;
    • Shopping malls (excluding outlets selling food products, hygienic products, pharmacies and wholesale drugstores);
    • Private dental practices.
  • Retail outlets must limit the number of customers in the shop; distance between customers must be at least 2 m; employees and customers must use protective masks and gloves.
Banking
  • 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.
Price control
  • Price control imposed on a number of products.
Government support

Republika Srpska

  • Tax and social contributions for March 2020, to be financed from the Solidarity Fund, for employees whose employers are shut down as a result of COVID-19 related measures but paid net March salaries to employees. Requests to be submitted until 11 May 2020. The list of qualifying employers is available at the web page of the Ministry of the Economy and Entrepreneurship.  The employers who are not included in the list are invited to contact the Ministry.
  • Statutory minimum salary (BAM 520, i.e. approximately EUR 265) for April 2020, with accompanied tax and social contributions, to be financed from the Solidarity Fund, for employees whose employers are shut-down as a result of COVID-19-related measures or temporarily ceased or reduced their operations because of economic consequences of the pandemic (loss of markets, disruption to supply chain and similar). Requests to be submitted until 10 June 2020. The list of employers which qualify for the aid to be prepared by the competent ministries. Applications for the aid to be filed until 8 May 2020.
  • Deadline for payment of the first and second instalments of real estate tax, due by 30 June 2020 and 30 September 2020, respectively, extended until 30 September 2020 and 31 December 2020, respectively.
  • Annual statutory minimum income tax applicable to small entrepreneurs reduced from BAM 600 (approx. EUR 306) to BAM 240 (approx. EUR 122).
  • Gaming operators released from certain fees (on electronic games via terminals, betting games, games at slot machines).
  • Three-month moratorium, starting on 1 April 2020, for loans granted by Investment-Development Bank of Republika Srpska. Six-months moratorium or grace period for individuals, upon request.
  • Deadline for submission of tax returns due by the end of March (communal fee for entrepreneurs, special republic fee, registered weapon tax, etc.) extended until 30 April 2020.
  • Deadline for payment of annual income tax and forest and fire protection fees extended until 30 June 2020; payment in instalments allowed until the end of 2020, upon request, for taxpayers affected with COVID-19 related measures who must submit an affidavit to that effect.
  • Three-month moratorium on concession fees and rent for agricultural land leased from Republika Srpska.
  • One-off aid in the amount of BAM 1,000 (approx. EUR 511,00) from the Solidarity Fund to each employee in the public healthcare sector and police officers who was working minimum three weeks between 15 March 2020 and 15 April 2020.

Federation B&H

  • Payment of social contributions for employees in private sector, suspension of the obligation to pay monthly advances of corporate income tax; suspension of default interest on tax debt,  a guarantee fund for working capital banking loans to the most affected sectors. The law adopted on 4 May 2020. Details to follow.
  • Rent for the facilities leased from the Federation B&H reduced for 50%.
  • Special health insurance contributions payable for employees working abroad reduced for BAM 10,00 (EUR 5).
  • 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
  • Relief on indirect tax for equipment (masks, gloves, disinfectants, protective suits, respirators and similar equipment), medicines and ambulance vehicles donated by Bosnian and international entities for the prevention, control and elimination of COVID-19.
  • All citizens of Republika Srpska will have health insurance until 11 May 2020 without having to obtain certificate on paid contributions.
  • 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.
  • Visits to persons in social care institutions and detention-rehabilitation centres banned.
  • All administrative authorities and other public institutions in Republika Srpska ordered to organize work with minimum number of people, limit number of customers in facilities, ensure at least 2-meter distance between persons.

 


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.

For more detailed information and advice, you can contact us at covid-19@bdkadvokati.com

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