Key aspects regarding the Certificates for State of Emergency

This newsletter provides an update of the information transmitted on 25 March 2020, as a result of the publication of the Order regarding the procedure for issuing the certificates for emergency situations in the Official Gazette of Romania.

In the last period, a series of normative acts have been adopted in Romania, which refer to the certificates for emergency situations.

The first official document mentioning the certificates for emergency situations is the Decree of the President of Romania establishing the state of emergency, signed on March 16, 2020, which provides that the Ministry of Economy, Energy and Business Environment (“MEEBE“) shall issue Certificates for Emergency Situations (“CES”) at the request of economic operators whose activity is affected in the context of COVID-19 and based on supporting documentation.

Other normative acts which mention CES are: Government Emergency Ordinance no.29/2020 regarding economic and fiscal measures (“GEO 29/2020”), for further details, you can access our articles on  [here] and [here], and Government Emergency Ordinance no. 30/2020 for establishing measures for social protection (“GEO 30/2020”), for further details, you can access our article on [here]. Recently, the Order regarding the procedure for issuing the certificates for emergency situations for economic operators whose activity is affected in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, published in the Official Gazette no. 248 of 25 March 2020 (“CES Order“).

CES Scope

According to the provisions of GEO 29/2020, the SMEs which have interrupted their activity totally or partially based on the decisions issued by the competent public authorities, during the period of emergency state, and which hold the CES issued by MEEBE, benefit from the postponement of the payment of utilities services – electricity, natural gas, water, telephone and internet services, as well as the payment of the rent for headquarters and secondary offices.

Force majeure can be invoked in the ongoing agreements, other than the abovementioned, concluded by the SMEs which have stopped their activity totally or partially, only after the attempt to renegotiate the contract in order to adapt their clauses taking into account the exceptional conditions generated by the state of emergency, proven with documents communicated between the parties through any means, including by electronic means.

Also, according to the provisions of GEO 30/2020, if employers which hold the CES issued by MEEBE interrupt their activity totally or partially based on the decisions issued by the competent public authorities, during the period of emergency state, their employees will benefit from the indemnities amounting to 75% of the basic salary corresponding to the workplace, which will be paid from the unemployment insurance budget, without exceeding 75% of the gross average salary income provided for by Law no. 6/2020 on the state social insurance budget for 2020.

The CES Order completes the utility of CES stipulating that  CES can be used in relations with public institutions for obtaining certain facilities/support measures or in commercial relations.

CES beneficiaries

According to the CES Order, the certificates can be requested by the economic operators which have the right to obtain CES according to GEO 29/2020, GEO 30/2020 or other normative acts which regulate measures granted in the context of the state of emergency.

Thus, the economic operators envisaged under the two emergency ordinances mentioned above are the SMEs whose activity was totally or partially interrupted as a result of the decisions issued by the competent public authorities, according to the law, during the period of emergency, which include:

  • (i) enterprises which carry out cultural, scientific, artistic, religious, sports, entertainment or gambling, spa treatment and personal care activities, carried out in confined spaces (art. 2 of the Military Ordinance no. 1/2020);
  • (ii) dental medicine clinics (art. 1 of the Military Ordinance no. 2/2020);
  • (iii) retail activities of products and services in the commercial centers, except for the sale of food, veterinary or pharmaceutical products and cleaning services, the sale of electronic products by the economic operators which provide home delivery and the sale of medical optics products and services (art. 2 of the Military Ordinance no. 2/2020 and art. 13 of the Military Ordinance no. 3/2020) .

The CES Order refers to two types of CES, and the applicants can choose only one of such certificate:

  • the first type of certificate would be issued to the applicants whose activity was totally or partially interrupted as a result of the decisions issued by the competent public authorities, according to the law, during the period of emergency state; and
  • the second type of certificate would be issued to the applicants whose activity was affected, registering a decrease of the incomes as of March 2020 with a percentage of at least 25% compared to the average of the incomes as of period January – February 2020.

Thus, it seems that, in addition to the categories of economic operators mentioned at points i) – iii) above, any economic operator which registered a decrease of the incomes as of March 2020 with a percentage of at least 25% compared to the average of the incomes as of period January – February 2020 will have the right to obtain the CES. However, it is not clear if any conditions are requested for this category of economic operators to use these certificates (other than the situations provided in GEO 29/2020 and GEO 30/2020, at least at the moment).

Issuance procedure

According to the CES Order, the certificates will be provided following an application submitted online, through the platform http://prevenire.gov.ro/, which will contain a section dedicated for this purpose. The performance of this platform will be ensured by MEEBE within 5 days from the publication of the CES Order in the Official Gazette of Romania.

The applicant will be requested to provide among others, identification details and a statement of the legal representative, stating that all the information and documents underlying the request for obtaining the certificate are compliant with the legislation in force. The standard models of the declarations are available within the CES Order.

The declaration will have to be signed by electronic signature or, if the legal representative does not have such signature, the declaration can be signed by hand (holograph), following that the online submission through the aforementioned platform will be made by a proxy holder of an electronic signature.

According to the CES Order, the certificates will be issued automatically, electronically, after the validation of the request by the system. CES are valid without any signature or stamp, and they can be verified by series and number on the platform http://prevenire.gov.ro/

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