The National Assembly adopted the State of Emergency Measures and Actions Act on 23rd of March 2020. The State Gazette promulgated the new Act on the following day.This law amends and supplements a number of codes and laws. In a series of news, our team introduced the new rules that come into force since the promulgation of the law.
In this series we will look at:
1. Consequences of late payment
Until the state of emergency is lifted, the consequences of the late payment of the debt owed by individuals, including interest and penalties for late payment, and non-monetary consequences, such as early receivables, cancellation of contract and seizure of property shall not be applicable.
This came in force as of 13.03.2020.
2. Changes to the Criminal Code
A new special case of price speculation is proclaimed as higher criminal activity. It stipulated that during the epidemic the crime will be punished by imprisonment of 1 to 3 years and a fine of 5,000 to 10,000 BGN.
In Chapter Crimes Against Law and Public Peace, the composition for spreading false calls or misleading aid signs is amended, increasing the sentence – imprisonment to three
years and with a fine of one thousand to ten thousand levs, and in case of significant harmful consequences a fine of ten to fifty thousand levs may be imposed
3. The Health Act
There are a lot of changes that extend the powers of the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health may order mandatory isolation of patients, infectious agents, contact persons and persons who have entered the territory of the country from other countries. The isolation of these persons may be carried out at home following an assessment of the existing epidemic risk by the treating physician or after consultation with an epidemiologist or infectious disease specialist.
The Minister may also order measures, including temporary suspension or restriction of the operation or mode of operation of public buildings and / or other objects or services provided to citizens in cases of declared emergency.
A special sanction is created for violating the orders of the Minister of Health. Persons who violate them will bear a fine amounting to BGN 5,000 and legal persons are sanctioned with a pecuniary sanction of BGN 15,000.
With the introduction of epidemic measures, the contact persons of patients with infectious diseases may not refuse to carry out a study in order to establish the carrier of an infectious disease.
Patient with a contagious disease, as well as a contact person who has been confirmed by examination a carrier of an infectious disease who refuses or fails to perform compulsory isolation and treatment shall be punished by a fine of BGN 5,000. The same sanction shall be imposed on a contact person other than the one referred to in the first sentence, as well as persons who have entered the territory of the country from other countries who refuse or fail to comply to compulsory isolation, respectively treatment. The persons who refused to volunteer for isolation and treatment, as well as the persons, who do not perform compulsory isolation, are brought forcibly with the assistance of the Ministry of Interior at the request of the State Health Control, the head of the medical institution for hospital care or the doctor who referred the person for hospitalization.
A contact who refuses to carry out a study to determine the carrier of a contagious disease is fined from 50 to 500 BGN.
A contact person who refuses to volunteer for a study is forced to co-operate with the assistance of the Ministry of Interior bodies at the request of the state health control authorities.
4. Pre-school and School Education Act
The deadlines set in the Pre-school and School Education Act, which started running before the entry into force of this act shall cease to run until the state of emergency is lifted.
The terms specified in the Pre-school and School Education Act may be amended by order of the Minister of Education and Science, if due to the declared state of emergency, they cannot be complied with. The order is published on the website of the Ministry of Education and Science.
5. European Structural and Investment Funds
Significant changes in the regulation of money from the funds. Managing authorities will have wide-ranging powers in the event of a state of emergency: modify unilaterally grant contracts in accordance with the need for crisis measures; grants under simplified rules, including without the publication of a call for proposals
suggestions; increase the overall resource for operations beyond those approved by the monitoring committee under the eligible schemes. It will be possible to shorten the timing of the announcement of a direct grant procedure.
The grant is provided directly to a candidate approved by the monitoring committee of the respective program, by adopting an absentee decision on a reasoned proposal from the Head of the managing authority the program. The grant is provided directly to a candidate who is designated by the head of the managing authority meets the approved criteria.
6. Public Procurement Act
The contracting entities for which the obligation to implement the platform under Art. 39a, para. 1 of the Law on Public Procurement, until the entry into force of the new act, apply to public contracts opened up to one month after the cancellation of the state of emergency, the procurement procedure in force until 1 November 2019 (with some exceptions).
The new act regulates the cases when the Public Procurement Act will not apply:
- purchase from the contracting authorities of the hygiene materials, medical devices and personal protective equipment necessary for provision of anti-epidemic measures;
- purchase of medical devices, medical and laboratory equipment necessary for the diagnosis and treatment of infected patients, their consumables, and implementation related activities;
- assignment of hazardous and hospital waste disposal activities.
7. Pharmacies and prescriptions
The new rules allow pharmacies to dispense medicinal products only by prescription booklet, without prescription, based on the products which have been last recorded, under the conditions laid down by The National Health Insurance Fund, until the state of emergency is lifted and two months after its abolition.