COVID-19 measures lifted as state of alert ends

9 March 2022 2 min read

By Diana Năcuță

Starting today, 9 March 2022, Romania is no longer under a state of alert and the corresponding COVID-19 measures have been lifted. While no transitional rules have been approved at this stage, official statements from authorities indicate that this means there is a complete lift of restrictions. Therefore, from now on, people will only need to consider individual responsibility recommendations.

What does this mean from an employment angle?

  • There is no obligation:
    • to wear protective masks at the workplace;
    • to put in place social distancing measures or specific health and safety requirements; and
    • to perform COVID-19 symptom screening and temperature checks upon entering workplace.
  • There is no obligation to implement:
    • remote working; or
    • a specific / shift working schedule (including a one hour gap between groups of employees starting work).
  • While isolation / quarantine measures for COVID-19 infection are apparently no longer mandatory, the applicable rules still need to be clarified further as there are recommendations that persons with symptoms are tested and evaluated so safety measures might need to be taken, especially in case of a positive test result.
  • No COVID-19 certificate (of any type – vaccination / recovery / testing) will be required – including when entering Romania, or when visitors enter office buildings, etc. 
  • The 90 day clock starts to run as of today, 9 March 2022, with regard to (old / already expired) collective labour bargaining agreements. During the state of alert, their validity had been exceptionally extended to include the duration of the state of alert and the 90 days after it ends. Now the parties should consider the obligation to initiate collective negotiations within 45 days of today (the end of the state of alert). The exceptional extension had also been in place for any documents issued by public authorities therefore these only remain in force for 90 days as of today as well.
  • Some state support measures will still be temporarily available, such as:
    • the possibility to reduce the working time up to 80% while the employees receive an allowance of 75% of the monthly base salary for the reduced hours, for 3 months after the state of alert ends; and
    • the non-taxable optional teleworking support. However, (a) the technical unemployment allowance and (b) the support allowance for purchasing IT devices for employees are no longer in force.

In conclusion, it seems it is up to employers to decide internally whether to immediately eliminate all COVID-19 related measures or potentially continue to keep some safety related ones in place at least for a transitory period. While the law definitely allows full removal of measures, it might be wise to consult with your health and safety and occupational physician to determine the best approach to ensure the health and safety of your employees as well as consider authorities’ recommendations and guidance as reinstated.