Bulgaria C-19 situation in construction (status on 15 April 2020)

Written by Yasen Georgiev and Dragomir Belchev, EPI – EECFA Bulgaria

Physical restrictions

There is no curfew or full lockdown, but there are some physical restrictions most important of which are:

  • Foreign nationals are not allowed to enter Bulgaria (with some exceptions);
  • Introduction of checkpoints at the entry and exit roads of the largest cities (regional centers);
  • All places for public access for gathering of people are closed (restaurants, malls, kindergartens, schools, parks, etc.);
  • 14-day quarantine for all Bulgarians arriving from abroad is mandatory.
  • All employers, depending on the specifics and capabilities, should introduce a remote work for their employees. If it is not possible, employers organize enhanced anti-epidemic measures on the workplace.

The state of emergency, firstly announced on March 13, along with restrictive measures regarding COVID 19, were extended to May 13, 2020.

Construction works

According to the Association of Construction Entrepreneurs, there are no frozen residential construction sites, but it is hard to imagine that the work is going to continue with the same volumes. Additionally, obtaining construction permits is becoming increasingly difficult despite the effort of municipalities to introduce e-services.

Construction works of largest infrastructure projects continue at present, but with slower pace since there are difficulties in deliveries of construction materials. Delays are expected on the Bulgarian part of ‘TurkStream’ due to the obligatory 14-day quarantine for foreign workers who are employed on the site.

We are planning to issue the new EECFA Bulgaria Construction Forecast Report on 29 June 2020. Sample report and order

Anticovid measures in construction

There are no specific anticovid measures regarding the construction sector. Most important current economic measures implemented by the government include:

  • The government will support companies with proven impact from the epidemic by covering 60% of the employees’ wages for up to three months. The initial aid package has been set at approximately €2.3bln, a sum which Prime Minister Boyko Borissov predicts may be insufficient. The list of eligible sectors was firstly narrowed to tourism and catering, later on extended to manufacturing industries. However, this scheme is not meant for companies that cannot prove direct COVID implications.
  • The deadline for annual financial statements and payment of corporate taxes is postponed from end-March to end-June (estimated effect of BGN 800mn/EUR 400mn within the year).
  • Possibility for companies and individuals to postpone loan and interest payments for 6 months.
  • Interest-free loans granted by the state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank directed to individuals, which are in difficult financial situation as a result of the COVID 19 restrictions.
  • Interest-free loans are also planned for companies, but conditions are not clear yet.

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