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 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.

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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.

Monday, 7 December 2020

Aladrovic: Closing Shopping Malls Not an Option

ZAGREB, Dec 7, 2020 - Labour  Minister Josip Aladrovic said on Monday that closing shopping malls was not an option at the moment.

"At the moment, closing shopping malls is certainly not an option and I personally believe that it will not be an option. We can consider some possible additional anti-epidemic requirements for shopping malls in order to reduce the potential spread of the epidemic but closing shopping malls as such is not on the cards at the moment," Aladrovic said responding to reporters ahead of a government meeting when asked if there were any projections of the burden to the budget, if, for example, malls were closed.

With regard to estimated consumption, Aladrovic said that in the first few days of December consumption was almost identical to last year's. We do not expect any significant deviation in that most important segment in this pre-Christmas and Christmas period, he said.

The head of the national coronavirus response team, Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic, said on Monday that new rules for retail shops were expected in the coming days.

He said that talks were under way with retailers on imposing additional restrictions on the number of customers allowed in a shop at any given time. He added that he did not expect this number to be limited to one person per 10 square metres.

Monday, 31 August 2020

Campsites In Croatia Post 50% Of Last Year's Nights

ZAGREB, Aug 31, 2020 - This year so far campsites have recorded 7.7 million nights or 51% of last year's results and although there are still tourists and many planned to stay open until October, most could close earlier due to tighter coronavirus restrictions in the main markets, according to the Croatian Camping Union (KUH).

KUH director Adriano Palman has told Hina's initial forecasts indicated that 2020 would see about 30% of last year's results. He recalls that most of them opened between May 15 and June 15 as borders were reopened.

At the moment, most of the tourists are from Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Palman says "it's impossible to forecast" what the situation in September will be and that it will primarily depend on the number of coronavirus infections in all relevant countries and Croatia.

Campsites in Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar, and Zadar countries have recorded 82% of this year's nights, he adds.

So far, campsites in Istria have recorded 3.6 million nights or 46% of last year's figure. Campsites in Lika-Senj County have recorded 62% of last year's nights, followed by Zadar County (60%) and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County (56%).

Palman says campsites in the southernmost Dubrovnik-Neretva County, although the furthest from the main markets have recorded 53% of last year's nights.

This year has seen a higher demand for mini camps, which have recorded 90% of last year's nights, although they account for only 4% of total campsite nights, he says, adding that four and five-star campsites, the most expensive ones, account for 52% of this year's nights.

This year so far, German, Slovenian and Austrian campers have generated 71% of all campsite nights. Polish and Czech tourists rank fourth and fifth, having generated 65% of last year's nights.

Palman says revenue is likely to be well below 50% of last year's figures and that campsites expect the adoption of new aid measures to avoid restructuring and retain jobs.

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