Zadar Inspectors Check Nightlife and Crash Wedding, Seeking COVID-19 Violations

By 1 July 2020
Inspectors in Zadar checking nightclubs for COVID-19 compliance handed out several warnings and reported one violation.
Inspectors in Zadar checking nightclubs for COVID-19 compliance handed out several warnings and reported one violation.

July 1, 2020 — A spike in nightlife-related coronavirus infections prompted Zadar's Civil Protection Directorate to send inspectors to clubs, cafes, parties and even weddings. While most businesses adopted the recommended precautions, one violation was noteworthy and inspectors found several omissions.

Zadar's inspectors spent the weekend club crawling and checking the nightlife scene, according to Zadarski List. The head of the unit, Mate Lukić, said in a report to the city's authorities that most businesses subjected to the 73 inspections followed protocols.

"It is my pleasure that, except in one case, I can say that we did not notice any major omissions given that all facilities did their best to adhere to the recommendations, and even in the part where they are not obliged to do so," he said. "We were even at parties."

Nightclubs and late-night social events became a flashpoint in Croatia's coronavirus fight after a large number of young people in Zagreb have been infected in recent days,

The inspections uncovered slight departures from the rules, which inspectors let off with 17 warnings.

"The members of the Civil Protection Unit are more than fair to the citizens," Lukić said. "We often act educationally because these sudden changes related to the appearance of the virus confuse the citizens as well."

The inspectors did, however, fine one establishment for having water in what was supposed to be a disinfectant bottle.

A majority of citizens adhered to measures, Lukić added, with some establishments going out of their way to impose the rules upon guests. At the outdoor bar "Hype", for example, all staff members from guards to waiters use protective equipment. Hostesses disinfect guests' hands before entering.

The hardest part of the job was inspecting weddings, Lukić said, crashing unannounced into the most important day of the year for the newlyweds. The inspectors were met with some pushback as they did their job, though the results were more than satisfactory — it turned out that the wedding organizers and the owners of the facilities respected the measures.

The team included two inspectors and two police officers, Lukić added.

"As a unit leader who monitors the situation on the ground on a daily basis, I can say that I am glad that people are adhering to the measures so carefully, accepting the new situation in which we must protect ourselves and others to the maximum," Lukić said. "On the other hand, we see that the people of Zadar have continued with their usual life because, judging by our tours of the clubs, the nightlife is active."

The Chief of the Civil Protection Directorate of the City of Zadar, Ante Babić, said the latest measures came after the Adria Tour and an increase in visitors sparked concern over more potential infections.

"We usually issue warnings, but as the police and the State Inspectorate visit the facilities, misdemeanor proceedings can be initiated for serious violations of measures," Babić said.