2 to 12 Protest: Zagreb Caterers Closing for One Hour on Thursday

By 6 October 2020
2 to 12 Protest: Zagreb Caterers Closing for One Hour on Thursday
Nezavisna udruga ugostitelja

October 6, 2020 - Zagreb caterers will close for one hour on Thursday to continue the countdown warning of the difficult situation their businesses are in due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

HRTurizam reports that on Thursday, October 8, starting at 11:58 am, Zagreb caterers will suspend service in their catering facilities to warn of the difficult situation they are in due to the coronavirus pandemic and to encourage urgent action by responsible institutions to preserve jobs and prevent the collapse of the economy.

This protest is named "2 to 12" and is continued by the Independent Association of Caterers (Zagreb) to save the fate of thousands of employees in the sector and encourages citizens and caterers to show solidarity.

Encouraged by the devastating survey results on the operation of catering facilities in 2020 and the lack of reaction from responsible institutions after numerous appeals from caterers, the Independent Association of Caterers (Zagreb) with the support of the National Association of Caterers and the Voices of Entrepreneurs Association launches the "2 to 12" protest in the Croatian capital, which has over 4,500 facilities.

Caterers are looking for tax relief with a level of taxation that is realistic and paves the way for recovery. They ask the responsible institutions to suspend the collection of VAT until March 1, 2021, a permanent preferential rate on food - which according to the Food Act includes food, coffee, beer, juices, water, and wine - of 10%, access to HAMAG BICRO credit lines for liquidity and HBOR for investments,

Zagreb's situation is particularly difficult because, in addition to the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Zagreb was affected by the first major earthquake in the last hundred years, said Marin Medak, president of the Independent Association of Caterers.

"We are aware that problems cannot be solved overnight, but we are also obliged to warn of justified fears for our own existence. We believe that the Government will take a step forward and accept the call for dialogue. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Davor Bozinovic recognized the caterers' appeal and started talks on the application of future anti-epidemic measures with the experts. After the action of Bjelovar caterers called "3 to 12", the mayor of Bjelovar took everything in his domain to protect his fellow citizens and entrepreneurs. We expect the same from other departments key to the work of caterers and related activities, which together generate 320 thousand jobs," said Medak.

The caterers point out that all the problems accumulated before the pandemic are now being charged.

The doubling of VAT in the hospitality industry that suddenly followed on January 1, 2017, brought many to the brink of profitability. If the Government does not listen this time, the pandemic will eventually put the key in the lock for many. They say that the inherited problems and new business obstacles have forced them to act together and increasingly warn the Government of the shortcomings on the ground.

"Measures to preserve CES jobs will help caterers who saw a drop of 60% or more in turnover than the same period last year. However, what about us who have a drop of 59% or less?" emphasizes Damir Jurkovic, vice president of the Independent Association of Caterers.

"That is why we are looking for clearer and more efficient models for allocating funds for maintaining liquidity. We are not asking for free money, but access to credit lines for our employees' salaries and lower taxes to repay loans. With the highest tax rate on the preparation and serving of beverages in Europe, it is not possible to plan business in the future," says Jurkovic.

A sample survey of almost 500 caterers from all over Croatia found that almost 60% of them recorded a decline in business by more than 50%, and almost 40% face the fact that, in these conditions, they will not survive until next season. As many as 80% of employers will be forced to resort to terminating contracts with employees.

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