Saturday, 20 March 2021

Protests against Epidemiological Restrictions held in Five Croatian Cities

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - Protests against epidemiological restrictions were held in five Croatian cities on Saturday, drawing several thousand citizens who demanded an end to the mandatory wearing of face masks.

The protests, organized by the Rights and Freedoms initiative, were held in Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Split, Šibenik, and Osijek.

Croatians thus joined in protest walks held in some 40 countries worldwide under the slogan "World march for freedom, peace, and democracy."

An announcement of the protest said the initiative was aimed at raising awareness of people's role in decision-making, encouraging citizens to act, and creating a medium for educating citizens about their constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms.

The Croatian protestors rallied to express their dissatisfaction with restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus epidemic. The protest organizers said they consider authoritarian and brought more harm than benefit.

The World March for Freedom, Peace, and Democracy was held in more than 100 cities in 40 countries today. Its organizers pointed to what they consider an unjustified imposition of epidemiological restrictions and that basic human rights are inalienable.

For more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Foreign Tourists Eager to Visit Croatia, But Worried About Coronavirus Restrictions

ZAGREB, 20 March 2021 - Tourists and owners of property in Croatia from Slovenia, Poland, Austria and Germany want to spend their summer holidays in Croatia this year. Still, they are cautious in planning and booking because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and restrictions imposed to contain it.

Last year the Croatian tourism industry recorded the best results from these four markets, so Hina asked the directors of the Croatian Tourist Board (HTZ) offices there about current booking figures for this year, including the forthcoming Easter holidays.

This and the Safe Stay in Croatia project were also discussed earlier this week at HTZ online workshops for the Slovenian and Polish markets. Over 200 participants from Croatia attended, and the two countries' workshops will soon be held for the Austrian and German markets.

As for the Easter holidays, tourist arrivals from these and other countries are not expected in large numbers because of the third wave of the pandemic and the restrictions that are in place there, as well as because of the existing measures in Croatia, which requires a negative PCR test or a quarantine until PCR test results arrive for travelers wishing to enter the country.

The initial optimism for this tourist season and travel has diminished in many countries as the vaccination process is slower than expected. New, more infectious variants of the coronavirus have emerged, resulting in increased infections.

Slovenia

The director of the HTZ office in Ljubljana, Metka Bradetić, said that Slovenian partners see Croatia as a country where Slovenians will definitely travel to as soon as the conditions allow. She said that they are not worried about the summer and post-summer seasons but that the pre-summer season is uncertain because the epidemiological measures currently in Slovenia are rather strict. It is hard to make any predictions.  

"Slovenian owners of real estate and vessels in Croatia can't wait for relaxation of the border crossing regime," Bradetić says, noting that the current booking for Croatia is lower than at the same time last year, but that Slovenian tour operators and travel agencies expect stronger last-minute sales.

Poland

The director of the HTZ office in Poland, Agnieszka Puszczewicz, said she is pleased with the response to the HTZ business workshop, where Polish partners said they are hoping that their compatriots will be able to travel to Croatia this summer despite the third wave of the pandemic because Croatia is among the most sought-after destinations.

"Our Polish partners stress the importance of information about health safety protocols and the conditions tourists will have to meet to visit Croatia this summer. They all hope that an increase in the number of vaccinated people and those with antibodies will further facilitate travel. The Polish government's decision on return protocols will also have an impact, and we should also take into account the fact that a PCR test costs 125 euro in Poland," Puszczewicz said.

She noted that Poles praise Croatia for its handling of last year's season and hope that this year too, they will spend safe and carefree holidays in Croatia.

Austria

Austrians are mostly interested in the conditions for entering Croatia, the cost of PCR and rapid antigen tests and testing sites, the epidemiological and vaccination situation in Croatia, and the country's plan to open to international tourism, the head of the HTZ office in Austria, Branimir Tončinić, told Hina.

"Assuming that Croatia will be on the green list and that Austria will change its present regime of return to the country with mandatory testing and a 10-day quarantine, even larger visits from this market are possible than in 2020, but only as of June, because Austria has only recently extended the return regime for its citizens until 31 May," Tončinić said. 

Asked about Austrian owners of real estate and vessels in Croatia who, like Slovenians and citizens of other countries, visited Croatia in the pre-summer season last year, he said that they are mainly interested if there are or there will be any regulations allowing them to enter Croatia to check on their property.

"There is a great interest in Croatia among this section of the public because they own property in Croatia where they can stay in isolation with the greatest possible degree of safety from infection. There is currently fear that because of the Austrian border crossing regime, they will not be able to travel abroad unless their country changes the conditions for returning citizens. They are less concerned about the Croatian border regime," Toničić said.

Germany

Similar information also comes from Germany, Croatia's most important travel market. The director of the HTZ office there, Romeo Draghicchi, says that Germans are eager to travel but are still delaying booking their holidays and following coronavirus developments both at home and abroad.

Tour operators and airlines will adjust their services to destinations for which German authorities will not prescribe a quarantine on return to the country. Everyone agrees that any facilitation of travel between European countries will positively affect the tourist turnover said.

"The number of Germans who visited Croatia in 2020, mostly in the two main summer months, was about 50% lower than that in the record year 2019. If the coronavirus situation gets back to normal before June and lasts until the end of September, this market season could be more successful than last year. Still, total results will depend on the overall situation with the virus in Europe, especially in Croatia," Draghicchio said.

He said that Germans are mostly asking about general conditions for entering Croatia, including types of testing. At the same time, property owners are mainly interested in simplified entry procedures, such as short-term visits to check their vessel or house.

"Currently, booking for Croatia in Germany is at 30% of last year's level, but it is expected to pick up in the lead-up to the summer provided that the pandemic subsides. Everyone is hoping for a positive scenario, a longer season, and better results than those achieved in 2020," Draghicchio said.

He said that "a certain number of Germans" will visit Croatia already for the Easter holidays. They are mostly inquiring about Istria, which is currently designated as a safe travel destination from which Germans can return home without undergoing testing or staying in a quarantine.

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Friday, 26 February 2021

Cafe Terraces to Work from 6 am to 10 pm, No Music, Says COVID Response Team

ZAGREB, 26 February, 2021 - As of 1 March, cafe bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen their terraces and can work from 6 am to 10 pm but without any music, and indoor sports training will be allowed provided that strict health protocol are observed, the national COVID response team said on Friday.

The team's head Davor Božinović told a press conference that the new decision means patrons can be served on terraces from 6 am to 10 pm but only on open terraces and barriers on terraces need to be removed to allow the air to circulate.

The distance between tables needs to be at least 3 metres which will enable guests to sit at a distance between each other of at least 1.5 metres.

Music will not be allowed so guests do not have to speak loudly above the music and spread aerosol which increases the chance of infection.

Entry into premises is only allowed to visit the bathroom and patrons are obliged then to wear masks.

Indoor sports training will be allowed but without contact between athletes, and gyms have to be ventilated regularly and at least 20 square metres per person must be ensured.

Masks are mandatory on entering and exiting gyms and a record must be kept of attendance.

Dressing rooms and showers are not to be used but if necessary then only two people at a time.

Other rules previously introduced for shopping centres, transport and border crossings remain in force.

The head of the Croatian Institute of Public Health (HZJZ),  Krunoslav Capak said that there was talk of allowing open-air fairs to be held and that will be one of the next decisions to come.

Health Minister Vili Beroš  underscores that the epidemiological situation is uncertain and citizens' behaviour must not relax if measures have been. He called on citizens to get vaccinated.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

PM: As of 15 February Bars Allowed to Sell Everything on Offer, Terraces Stay Closed

ZAGREB, 11 February, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Thursday that as of 15 February bars would be allowed to sell everything on their menus but that their terraces, if they had them, would not reopen, the concept being that customers would order a beverage to go.

Speaking to the press after a cabinet meeting, he said the details of the mild easing of COVID restrictions as of next Monday would be provided by the national COVID response team tomorrow.

Plenković said the sale of coffee to go, which bars would be allowed to sell as of the 15th, did not mean the sale of coffee alone.

"It's a synonym for the opening of completely closed establishments. It means they will be able to sell tea, some other drink or beverage. They will be able to sell what they have on the menu. It's just that there will be no sitting on terraces. You take it to go and walk."

As for compensation for bar and restaurant owners, Plenković said it was too early to say if it would be paid after this month. "If it is possible for them to work, they will work. If the epidemiological situation still isn't good enough, we'll continue with the aid."

He said gyms and fitness centres would reopen on 15 February with epidemiological measures, without crowds, and that betting shops and casinos would have to comply with the same measures.

The opposition keeps politicising

Asked about the opposition's dissatisfaction with the easing of the restrictions, Plenković said he had no message for them.

Two months ago, he said, the opposition demanded the closure of everything and now they are demanding the opening of everything. "That's politicising that doesn't surprise me. If they won't be responsible, we will."

He also commented on the participation of Alemka Markotić, a member of the national COVID response team, in a religious service in the open with more people attending than the 25 allowed under COVID restrictions.

Plenković said it was an outdoor service and that he was confident everyone present took care of distancing. "We have to be realistic in such situations, if they are in the open, distance is kept, people don't stay there," he said, adding that there had been many such gatherings and that the restriction of 25 people still applied.

Plenković said that event could not be compared to a restaurant in Zagreb which worked recently despite a ban. "Restaurants weren't allowed to work at all. Being outdoors and indoors is not the same."

The government won't interfere in decisions on Zagreb University rector

Asked if Zagreb University rector Damir Boras should go because he received a COVID vaccine despite not being in a priority vaccination category, the prime minister said such decisions were in the remit of the university, which was autonomous, and that the government would not interfere.

He said the vaccine was primarily being administered to health workers and patients, adding that if any was left in a vial, it was given to someone else so that it did not go to waste.

Plenković reiterated that those who needed it the most would be vaccinated en masse and that the AstraZeneca vaccine was as effective as Pfizer's and Moderna's.

"It's important that we have faith and trust in the decisions of the World Health Organization, the European Medicines Agency and experts who have assessed that all three vaccines circulating in Croatia as equally effective for what is important. It's important to be vaccinated so as not to die of COVID-19."

Plenković said a decision was made to ease restrictions this month because it was estimated that the epidemiological situation allowed it. He added, however, that if there was a deterioration, the restrictions could be tightened.

"The goal is to go through the winter months with as few consequences as possible so that during the spring, notably in the two remaining months of the first quarter and the three months of the second quarter, we vaccinate as many people as possible."

Plenković said he would insist on the fastest delivery possible of all vaccine doses so that Croatia could be as protected and safe as possible by summer.

"If we are protected and if other countries vaccinate, and all intend to vaccinate as many people as possible, then the arrival of tourists will be safe. Few will come somewhere they don't feel safe and others don't want to import people who could be contagious," he said, adding that the EU would continue talks on this to find a common solution.

Filipović is HDZ's first and only choice for Zagreb mayor

Asked about his party's candidate for Zagreb mayor, Davor Filipović, Plenković said he expected him to win and that he was the HDZ's first and only choice for that post, adding that the party had talked about but that it had not negotiated with Damir Vanđelić, the temporary director of the post-earthquake Reconstruction Fund, about being the HDZ's mayoral nominee.

Asked to evaluate President Zoran Milanović's first year in office, Plenković said "Everyone does their job their own way."

Plenković did not wish to reveal how much Croatia had offered Hungary for energy group MOL's stake in Croatia's INA.

He said the procurement of fighter jets was continuing. "There is no long-term delay with the aircraft, just a logical, reasonable non-adoption of a decision in the month behind us."

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Four New Measures: Coffee to Go Allowed, Gyms, Foreign Language Schools, Casinos Open

February 11, 2021 – At today's Government session, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković presented four new measures valid from Monday, February 15, 2021. The four new measures include allowing cafes to serve coffee to go and the opening up of gyms, foreign language schools and casinos.

Asked about whether the epidemiological measures would be relaxed after February 15, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said yesterday that "fellow citizens who have shown a great deal of responsibility and patience should be rewarded." At today's Government session, Plenković announced the changes, warning that there is still no room for excessive relaxation nor the cessation of the responsible behaviour of all citizens.

"We monitored the development of the epidemiological situation in Croatia, and after talks with the Civil Protection Headquarters, epidemiologists, and members of the Government, we made several decisions," said Plenković.

The four new measures include:

  • enabling caterers to sell coffee to go and thus allow them to do business; February's fees are valid for the entire month
  • allowing the opening of gyms and fitness centres while respecting epidemiological measures, which is good for physical activity and people's health
  • enabling children to study in foreign language schools so that in addition to their regular school activities, they can also attend extracurricular activities
  • allowing the opening of bookmakers, slot machine clubs, and casinos, with restrictions on the consumption of beverages

Plenković added that the next analysis of the measures' effect would be on March 1, 2021. They will decide whether there will be new relaxations or a new tightening up of those epidemiological measures, depending on the epidemiological situation.

Plenković also reported on the situation with the spread of the novel coronavirus in Croatia and the declining trend of new infections. Today, Croatia is third country in the European Union in terms of the weekly average number of confirmed cases per million inhabitants. We have the fifth largest two-week drop in the number of deaths.

"At the same time, we're still in the winter months, and a strong wave of cold weather has been announced. The British variant of the virus has also been identified in Croatia. Many European countries are extending or tightening up their measures. After the initial delays in the delivery of vaccines, we have indications that Pfizer and AstraZeneca's delivery dynamics will accelerate, and we can expect larger quantities by the end of March. So far, we've received about 150,000 doses, and we expect more than 600,000 doses by the end of March, which means that we will be able to vaccinate a much larger number of our fellow citizens," said Plenković.

He pointed out that all three vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – are all one hundred percent effective in preventing death from the virus. They are also effective against the need for respirators and the development of more severe symptoms.

"There are no obstacles which would suggest that people over 65 should not receive the AstraZeneca vaccine,'' said Plenković, adding that they want to vaccinate as many people as possible who are at risk.

Health Minister Vili Beroš reported that the vaccine's 669 side effects had been reported, and they were most commonly just mild reactions.

"The number of new cases is continuing to fall from week to week. We're monitoring the spread of new variants of this virus. Continuing the vaccination process is our tool for success. Today, we mark the World Day of the Sick. Special emphasis is placed on emotional struggles, and as such I'd like to thank our healthcare professionals," Beroš said.

To read more news about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

Jutarnji List: Croatian Cafes Open on Monday 15 February (and Gyms too)?

February 2, 2021 – The wait is over! In less than two weeks, Croatian cafes and gyms will open, if infection numbers continue on their current downward trajectory

With the spring season just around the corner, people will soon be able to once again enjoy coffee on the sun-filled daytime terraces of Croatian cafes. If Coronavirus infection numbers continue on their current downward trajectory, Croatian cafes and gyms will open on Monday 15 February. All businesses will still have to operate under strict epidemiological measures.

cat-3509266_1920.jpg

Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff, Davor Božinović, spoke about the forthcoming concessions on Croatian cafes and gyms, but a fuller picture of how the concessions will actually look was discovered unofficially by Croatian daily Jutarnji List. It was published in the evening of Monday 1st February 2021. The good news soon travelled across Croatia. It will come as a great relief to many independent business owners who have not been allowed to operate.

Business owners have been increasingly on edge over recent weeks, with protest openings of Croatian cafes and gyms threatened to take place in defiance of the current ban on operations (indeed, some did). Owners of Croatian cafes were particularly irked by the seeming inconsistencies in current measures – fast food outlets, gas service stations and bakeries were all permitted to sell coffee to go. People took advantage of this and thereafter congregated on the streets outside such businesses to enjoy their drinks. But, Croatian cafes were still not permitted to service people wishing to drink on outside terraces in almost exactly the same manner.

workout-5031071_1280.jpg

Monday 15 February has long been announced as the next review date for the imposed Coronavirus measures. But, until now, nobody was certain in which way – if any – measures would be relaxed.

Under unofficial plans, from Monday 15 February Croatian cafes will be able to serve coffee and drinks to be consumed on outside terraces, with strict epidemiological guidelines in place.

Croatian cafes and gyms opening on 15 February will be conditional on a continued downturn in infection numbers and the absence of new Coronavirus strains appearing in Croatia

The re-opening of Croatian cafes and gyms is wholly dependent not only on the continuing downturn in numbers of infected but also on the condition that new strains of Coronavirus - specifically those first detected in the UK and South Africa - do not appear in Croatia between now and then.

"If the indicators are good, if the numbers go down, we will certainly not be reluctant to react,” Deputy Prime Minister Davor Božinović said, regarding the 15 February review, “our aim to strike a balance between everything - with an emphasis on health care - has brought us to a position where Croatia has the least stringent measures in the EU."

Coronavirus infection numbers in some other European territories remain at an alarmingly high rate, although a corresponding relaxation in measures for some regions of Italy was similarly announced over recent days. This is the second time since the start of the pandemic that stricter measures imposed by the Croatian government – and a widespread public observance of these measures and other guidelines - have successfully produced the intended results.

Friday, 29 January 2021

VIDEO: Prohibition-Era Nightclubbing Zagreb, 33 Fined

January 29, 2021 – It has all the ingredients of a movie about Al Capone or Lucky Luciano in 1920s Chicago - illicit, hidden drinking dens, dancing girls, bullets, guns, gangsters and a police raid, only with a neon lighting scheme that remains fashionable strictly in Balkan clubs. Welcome to Prohibition-era nightclubbing Zagreb

It has all the ingredients of a movie about Al Capone (main picture) or Lucky Luciano in 1920s Chicago - illicit, hidden drinking dens, dancing girls, bullets, guns, gangsters and a police raid, only with a neon lighting scheme that remains fashionable strictly in Balkan clubs. Welcome to Prohibition-era nightclubbing Zagreb.

Croatian police have issued a video of a raid they undertook to shut down a Prohibition-era nightclubbing party in Zagreb. Inside the venue, they found 33 persons. None were wearing masks.

One young man at the party was caught with a pistol and bullets. If it weren't for the police's modern helmets with visors and the Balkan-cool neon lighting, you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching Eliot Ness and The Untouchables busting an illegal speakeasy. All cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs are supposed to be closed at the moment under measures adopted to counter the spread of Coronavirus.

Screenshot_129.pngThe pistol found by police while conducting a search on a 24-year-old at the club - Youtube screenshot

In the original era of America's Prohibition, under which the production, import, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages was illegal, Al Capone ultimately received an 11-year prison sentence for tax evasion and Lucky Luciano was looking at 30 - 50 years until he struck a deal and agreed to be deported to Italy. Thankfully, there are no mafia murders connected to this tale of Prohibition-era nightclubbing in Zagreb.

Depiction of an illicit nightclub - a speakeasy - in Prohibition-era America from the classic 1976 Alan Parker-directed children's movie and musical 'Bugsy Malone'

In addition to the video, the police released a statement about the prohibition-era nightclubbing raid:

"During the operation, a total of 33 people were found, identified and checked in said facility. No coercive measures were used during the actions of the police officers. 33 people were found not wearing protective masks, which is why the police officers issued them three Notices of Misdemeanor and 30 fines were collected for violations of Article 47, paragraph 2, item 9 of the Law on the Protection of the Population from Infectious Diseases.

Furthermore, for one of the caught persons, a 24-year-old was searched and a gas pistol was found in his possession, for which he was issued a Mandatory Misdemeanor Order for the offence under Article 27, paragraph 2 of the Law on procurement and possession of weapons by citizens.

Screenshot_139.pngBullets found by the police at the prohibition-era nightclubbing scene in Zagreb

Also, officials of the Directorate of Civil Protection found violations of epidemiological measures contrary to the Decision on necessary epidemiological measures restricting gatherings and introducing other necessary epidemiological measures and recommendations to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 through gatherings. Due to performing catering activities contrary to the decisions of the Civil Protection Headquarters, officials of the State Inspectorate, Tourist Inspection, Zagreb Regional Office found a violation of Article 9A of the Catering Act and issued an oral decision banning the work, and the facility was sealed for at least 30 days. Misdemeanor proceedings will be initiated against the legal and responsible person.

As part of the criminal investigation, the 45-year-old owner of a catering facility was taken to the official premises of the Zagreb Police Administration for a criminal investigation on suspicion of having committed the criminal offence of "Spreading and Transmitting an Infectious Disease" under Article 180. He will be handed over to the custody supervisor after the criminal investigation is completed”

Prohibition in the United States took place in a 13 year period between 1920 and 1933. It is highly unlikely that the bars and cafes of Zagreb will be asked to remain closed for such a length of time. This is not the first instance of Prohibition-era nightclubbing taking place irrespective of epidemiological guidelines in Zagreb. In late November 2020, Croatian media (including Juarnji List) widely reported on police raids that took place at two Zagreb venues, even though measures adopted in the fight against the pandemic were at that time more relaxed.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Croatian MPs Spend Less Due to Coronavirus Travel Restrictions

ZAGREB, 10 January, 2021 - Croatian lawmakers spent less than usual in the second half of 2020, mostly due to travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

Between 22 July, when the 10th parliament was formed, and 18 December, when parliament concluded its last year's session, MPs spent HRK 2.4 million, excluding their monthly salaries. They spent most of the money on the use of their own cars for official purposes (HRK 1.1 million) and apartment rental (HRK 709,000), a report on expenses published on parliament's website shows.

As a result of coronavirus-related movement restrictions, only HRK 11,353 was spent on air fare, HRK 105,000 went towards hotel expenses and HRK 825 towards daily allowances.

As expected, the highest expenses were incurred by MPs who live farthest from Zagreb - HDZ lawmakers Nevenko Barbaric (HRK 49,000) and Radoje Vidovic (HRK 45,000) who travel to Zagreb from neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and SDP lawmakers Matko Kuzmanic (HRK 44,000) and Branko Grcic (HRK 43,000) who live in Split.

(€1 = HRK 7.5)

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Draft of New Measures in Croatia: Reintroduction of Passes, Max Gathering of 2 Households

December 17, 2020 – As Index.hr first reports, a draft of new measures in Croatia has been prepared, according to which all current measures should be extended, with several new restrictive measures. The new measures will be officially announced tomorrow, announced Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

The Civil Protection Headquarters and the Government of the Republic of Croatia are currently working on the final details of the new, stricter measures that will be in force in Croatia after December 21, 2020. The draft of the new measures, which would be valid from Tuesday, December 22, includes the introduction of passes and a ban on gathering people from more than two households.

Reduction in the number of people at gatherings

New measures will prohibit leaving the place of permanent residence, which would mean the return of passes. Another restrictive measure, which, as Index reports, is a ban on gathering people from more than two households. This provision will certainly remain in the final decision on the measures, but it is not yet entirely sure in what form. Namely, there are proposals to limit gatherings to one household, but for now, it is a more likely option with two households.

The ban on cafes will remain in force, and restaurants will remain closed to guests. Cinemas and theaters will not close; neither will hairdressers and other salons. The headquarters believe that cinemas and theaters currently pose a minimal risk because they do not have many visits. Salons also remain open with the explanation that they do not pose a significant risk given the number of people in them at the same time, wearing masks and adhering to other measures.

Shops and shopping centers are regulated by another decision, which further limits the number of people inside. It is valid until January 10, and there will be no change.

An additional reduction in the number of people at gatherings is considered. However, in the ongoing conversations, the question was asked how much it makes sense because the numbers are still minimal. Gatherings take place in private spaces where the possibility of control is limited.

'The chances of introducing passes are about 70 percent'

The passes have already been included in the draft, and if there is no reversal today, this measure will also be in force after December 21, 2020. As Index learns from a reliable source, the movement restriction will apply between counties, and the City of Zagreb and Zagreb County will again be one unit, as was the case at the end of the lockdown in the first wave.

Due to the large number of passes issued in the first wave, more than a million of them, it is considered that inter-county movement should be allowed only to employees of services who need it and in rare exceptional cases.

It is also possible that a particular decision on passes, for this reason, will not be formalized immediately on Friday, but subsequently, during the weekend, when all the rules that will apply to passes would be defined.

"It will take us another six months to get all the vaccines and to vaccinate enough of the population. If we do not adhere to the measures, it is necessary to introduce formal restrictions, although there is no success in the measures without personal engagement. New measures are currently being prepared. The goal is to do everything to spend the holiday season in the most peaceful way possible. We are now fighting in terms of the clinical picture for a better January. It is necessary to reduce mobility," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković at today's government session.

Cafes and restaurants closed until further notice

"It seems to me that the chances of introducing a ban on leaving the permanent residence, or the introduction of passes, are about 70 percent at the moment. It is tragic that some people probably think that someone's goal is to make Christmas and the holidays bitter. Restricting movement is something we are reluctant to think about, but we expect it to reduce contact, which is extremely important to us this holiday season. Otherwise, there will be a tough situation after the holidays, despite some positive developments in recent days. Something must be done to prevent the spread of the infection for the holidays. Unfortunately, the introduction of such measures is necessary because of the small number of people who do not want to abide by the appeal and the simple measures we have to endure until the end of the epidemic, which is getting closer," a well-informed interlocutor told Index.

The new measures should be valid until January 8, 2021, when passes will be abolished. Still, most other measures would be extended for another two weeks to see what consequences the holiday gatherings will have on the numbers of newly infected and consequently dead.

According to the Index's information, among the measures that would be extended beyond January 8 is the ban on working in cafes and serving guests in restaurants until further notice.

"The infection cannot spread if we do not socialize and meet others, and we do not adhere to that enough. We must give our contribution. If that were the case, we could relax the measures," Plenković said.

To read more about coronavirus in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

Read the Croatian Travel Update in your language - now available in 24 languages.

Join the Total Croatia Travel INFO Viber community.

Monday, 14 December 2020

PM Says Additional Restrictions Possible Unless Situation Improves

ZAGREB, Dec 14, 2020 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Monday that it was evident that the current counter-COVID measures, which expire on 21 December, would be extended if the current high numbers of new infections were not reduced.

Additional restrictions are also on the table, Plenkovic said while chairing today's government session via video link from his home.

Commenting on the unfavourable epidemiological situation, Plenkovic underscored that in the last seven days, a total of 25,119 new cases of the infection had been registered, or 5.6% more than in the week before.

Figures about coronavirus-related deaths have also been on the rise.

Unless we manage to reduce the current high coronavirus numbers, the existing measures will be prolonged beyond 21 December, said the premier, who is in isolation after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus infection in late November.

The premier called on citizens to be aware of the demanding circumstances, noting that the measures adopted by the government and the COVID-19 crisis management team had to be complied with.

"It is clear that this year, Christmas will differ from Christmas festivities in the past. I appeal for avoidance of any bigger family gatherings, since the virus spreads most easily in such situations," he added.

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