Bulgaria wants to remove the mandatory COVID-19 ‘green certificate’ for admission into restaurants, shopping malls, and other public venues beginning March 20 as coronavirus infections decline, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced on Monday.

Last October, most indoor venues in Bulgaria were required to display a health permit, a digital or physical document indicating that a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or has just recovered from the virus.

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Its implementation has sparked a wave of protests in the European Union’s least-vaccinated member state, infuriating bar and restaurant owners, as well as anti-vaccine campaigners. A new major protest is planned for Wednesday.

In the last three weeks, the Balkan country of 7 million people has experienced a double-digit decline in new coronavirus infections every week. It recorded 1,235 new daily infections on Monday, compared to more than 12,000 new cases on Jan. 26.

“We made it through the Omicron wave with no major school or company closures… According to our projections, it will be able to lift all limitations in the nation related to the Green Certificate around March 20,” Petkov stated to reporters.

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Petkov stated that his administration will continue to encourage Bulgarians to be vaccinated and that the certificate would still be required for individuals wishing to travel to other European Union nations.

The Balkan country will begin relaxing restrictions on February 24 when proprietors of public facilities, including shopping malls, movies, gyms, and pubs, will be permitted to admit consumers who do not have a green certificate.

All international visitors with a green certificate will be permitted to enter Bulgaria beginning March 5, a move that the Black Sea country hopes would enhance its tourist economy.

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If all goes as planned, the health permit will be used to enable travel overseas as of March 20, according to the country’s chief health inspector Angel Kunchev.