Thursday, 12 August 2021

Croatian Covid Certificates in Autumn: Will Croatia Follow France?

August 12, 2021 - Will Croatian Covid certificates in autumn be the norm to avoid further lockdowns? A look at how things should look once summer ends and if Croatia's Covid certificates model will look like France. 

What will happen to Covid passports this autumn? And will they be introduced for all facilities? This topic was discussed between and a source from the National Headquarters. Although some wrote that they would be introduced to enter shopping malls in the autumn, it likely will not happen.

It should also be noted that Covid passports are already used to enter many places such as clubs, sports competitions, weddings, and various cultural events.

They won't be needed for shopping malls.

"As far as shopping malls are concerned, no Covid certificates will be required to enter the shops. Therefore, people stay in stores for shorter periods and only need to wear masks. But there are some other facilities for which Covid certificates are planned to be used inside shopping malls. Facility owners, if they responsibly monitor the epidemiological status of their guests, which is really their second job because we have introduced an application in which confirmation is read and checked in a second, will only ensure that the epidemiological situation remains favorable. In that case, closures would be avoided, which is not the goal of anyone, not even the Headquarters. We want everyone to be open and for the epidemiological situation to be good," a source from the Headquarters told Index.

By facilities, we mean cafes, which still cannot work inside. In addition to them, Covid certificates are also considered for entering cinemas and theaters, as they have been needed for various cultural events for some time.

"Covid certificates should be used in the context of opening, not closing, for example, if nightclubs could not work, and now they can because they use Covid certificates, so now we need to see how much Covid certificates guarantee, so that those parts of the catering industry that were forbidden to work, such as the interiors of cafes, also work. So, the message is that Covid certificates are seen as a tool to enable opening, not closing. So, there are no more closures, we will not close, but we are thinking intensively about the wise use of Covid certificates," the source added.

In Europe, Covid certificates are intensively used for various facilities, for entrances to hotels, restaurants, bars, museums, theaters, and amusement parks.

In France, from July, visitors to museums, cinemas, and swimming pools must show a Covid certificate, which is already a condition for entering festivals with a large number of people and nightclubs and venues with a capacity of more than 50 people. From August, certificates are a condition for entering restaurants and bars and long train journeys and boarding. From October, this will also apply to children over the age of 12, not just adults.

Denmark has required CoronaPass for indoor restaurant areas and cultural spaces for some time. In Austria, you also need to present a Covid certificate to enter hotels.

In Italy, the decision to use Covid passes to visit stadiums, cinemas, museums, theaters and cinemas, exhibitions, swimming pools, gyms, and indoor parts of restaurants came into force on 6 August.

The United Kingdom, until recently a member of the European Union, plans to introduce Covid certificates for several places. According to The Guardian, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that by the end of September, when all doses of vaccine should be offered to all British adults, Covid passes or certificates will be introduced for nightclubs, concert halls, and similar venues with “higher risk,” due to the crowds gathered. That condition was not ruled out either for English pubs and entrance to trains and public transportation.

Greece has banned unvaccinated people from accessing indoor spaces in restaurants, bars, cafes, and cinemas.

In Portugal, over 60 high and very high-risk municipalities, including Lisbon and Porto, currently require proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test on Friday evenings after 7 pm and on weekends.

In Germany, guests must present a negative test result or proof of vaccination to be admitted to the closed parts of catering facilities.

The use of Covid certificates is being introduced across Europe to ensure that visitors to bars, restaurants, museums, indoor sports facilities, and other cultural or entertainment events and facilities are protected from infection, but also so that they would no longer be subject to measures such as the obligatory wearing of masks, social distancing or the maximum number of visitors.

As a source from the National Headquarters told Index, their goal is not to close economic facilities anymore, but for Covid certificates to serve to ensure the best possible epidemiological situation.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Croatian Events Industry: 100s of Outdoor Concerts and Festivals Held Since June, Zero Cases Recorded

July 22, 2021 - The Croatian Events Industry says they should not be the culprit for new cases in Croatia, as over 100 outdoor events have been held so far with zero cases reported. 

The Voice of Entrepreneurs Events Industry Committee sent a reaction regarding the statements of tourist associations and epidemiologists about the recommendations to cancel events due to the danger of spreading coronavirus, all to prolong the tourist season, reports HRTurizam.

They point out that they understand that the current epidemiological situation certainly deserves attention and caution and responsible behavior of all citizens, especially those who represent the organizers of events, concerts, festivals, and gatherings attended by a large number of people.

Event organizers are aware of the complexity of the situation and in this regard are ready to responsibly apply all applicable epidemiological measures, and in particular to ensure that all visitors attending the events fall into one of three categories - vaccinated, tested, or recovered from Covid-19, according to the Events Industry Committee and added:

"Precisely because of this readiness, responsibility, and commitment, the organizers of events and employees in the event industry can no longer remain silent and watch the constant appearances of individual epidemiologists and local headquarters leaders who do not give up on spreading hysteria around the event industry segment. It is impossible not to react to contradictory information, raising unnecessary panic and unargued provocation of festivals, concerts, parties, nightclubs, and the like. Namely, if the valid measures prescribe that it is possible to gather without measures, provided that all visitors meet the above conditions, such events should be encouraged, not stigmatized. The events industry is the only industry in Croatia that in parallel with the introduction of COVID certificates applied the same without a transitional period and time of adjustment, and many concerts and festivals were canceled because they sold tickets under current measures from June that did not include the application of COVID certificates," stated the Events Industry Committee.

They also emphasize that the implementation of COVID certificates at events is one of the main motivations for the younger population to be vaccinated. The events industry as such, aware of the situation and problems, is probably one of the activities with the highest employee vaccination rate in the country. If the freedom of young people to assemble in compliance with the prescribed measures and the application of COVID certificates is called into question, they fear that many will wonder why they would be vaccinated at all.

Since June 2021, when the decision came into force allowing cultural events to be held again in compliance with epidemiological measures, over a hundred concerts, events, and open-air festivals have been held without a single recorded COVID-19 infection, so as an industry they wonder why they are constantly declared the main culprit and problem of the pandemic.

It should be emphasized that major cultural events and festivals, such as INmusic festival, Ultra Europe, Fresh Island Festival, Sonus Festival, Advent, Sea Star Festival, and many others that brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Croatia, were canceled for the second year in a row.

Therefore, the events industry calls on the National Civil Protection Headquarters to make additional efforts to coordinate the implementation of existing measures, promote responsible behavior and vaccination.

"We want to point out that together we are in this difficult situation and that without cooperation, mutual respect, and responsible behavior of all citizens it will not be possible to wait for the day when we will be able to live and work again as before the pandemic. In this sense, we believe that it is necessary for both of us to work on raising awareness of responsibility and to isolate the actions and actions of irresponsible individuals, from whichever side they come from. In addition, we invite and ask the media to invite the other side for an opinion and statement when transmitting the statements of individuals whose goal is to close one complete branch and industry. In these difficult times, the only thing we ask from all involved entities is to be responsible and take care of common health and existence," concludes the Voice of Entrepreneurs Events Industry Committee.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including vaccination points and testing sites, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

Croatian Civil Protection Directorate Plans for Wider "Covid Passport" Use

July the 4th, 2021 - The Croatian Civil Protection Directorate is planning for the even wider use of the controversial ''covid passports'', and the plans, although not set in stone yet, could irritate a lot of people.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the vaccine against the novel coronavirus isn't going to be made mandatory, nor are there any plans to change the law to allow for that, but people who don't have possession of the covid-digital certificate will be very limited in what they can do, Jutarnji list writes on Saturday.

As the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate told Jutarnji list, everything can be “elegantly” solved by, for example, introducing the obligation that every person who enters a health institution or hospital, be they an employee or a patient (of course except in emergencies) must have a digital covid certificate.

In translation, if this does occur, if an employee hasn't been vaccinated or can't prove that they have recovered from the disease, in order to come to work they will have to be tested every 48 hours. If someone is a patient and there is nothing urgent to be dealt with there and then, there can be no entry into the hospital.

This was partly confirmed by the Minister of Health Vili Beros for Index, saying that they are considering introducing testing when entering hospitals to ensure safety, but also that health professionals work for as long as their covid-confirmation lasts or be tested for the presence of the virus every 48 hours.

However, given the information Jutarnji received from the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate, in the foreseeable future it is expected that something similar will be prescribed for the entire public sector and beyond.

“First of all, we're going in the direction of vaccinating the people who are in the greatest contact with other people. These are drivers in public transport, teachers, professors, educators, healthcare workers, people who work at counters or are otherwise in daily contact with a large number of people. Our goal is to prevent the spread of the disease and create conditions so that in autumn, we don't end up with the same wave we had last year,'' explained Beros.

By all accounts, this will be a way to start living as before, at least for those who have a QR code or a certificate proving that they have recovered from the disease, that they have been vaccinated or that they have been tested within the last 48 hours.

This decision from the Croatian Civil Protection Directorate, as Jutarnji unofficially finds out, will probably concern even shopping centres, where people who have certificates could walk around freely without a mask and without maintaining social distancing. The only difference from the time before the coronavirus pandemic would be the reading of the code at the entrance to such centres.

''According to the information we have, it is very likely that in the near future entry into all larger spaces, which include shopping centres, will be possible only with a covid certificate/confirmation,'' reports Jutarnji list.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

50% Croatian Tourism Growth Even Without "Covid Passports"

July the 3rd, 2021 - Even without the controversial ''covid passports'' which have only become available relatively recently, Croatian tourism growth is encouraging to say the least. With 50 percent better results for Croatian tourism growth in the first six months of 2021, things appear to be looking up.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes, despite the announcements of the fourth wave of the pandemic potentially approaching, the interest of tourists for holidays in Croatia is failing to wane, and the results from the first half of this year confirm that the vaccination programme has increased optimism. During the first six months of 2021, there were 2.6 million arrivals and 11.8 million overnight stays realised in Croatia, which is 54 percent more arrivals and 53 percent more overnight stays than in the same period last year. At the same time, foreign tourists realised 9.1 million overnight stays, while domestic tourists realised 2.7 million overnight stays.

German tourists are the most numerous

The largest number of overnight stays was realised by foreign guests from Germany (2.4 million), Slovenia (1.5 million), Austria (987,000), Poland (866,000) and the Czech Republic (681,000).

According to the type of accommodation, most overnight stays were realised in household/private facilities, hotels and camps, the Ministry of Tourism reported yesterday.

"We're extremely satisfied with the results of the 2021 tourist year so far and the announcements for the months ahead. At the moment, 425,000 tourists are staying in Croatia, which is about 100,000 more than at the same time last year. In the coming weeks, the peak of the season awaits us, and we must all be aware that the precondition for the further continuation of such results is a favourable epidemiological situation in Croatia. The recognisability of Croatia as a safe destination for which tourists choose our country gives us the opportunity for better financial results and the continued development of tourism, and thus faster economic recovery,'' said Minister of Tourism and Sport, Nikolina Brnjac.

As it is known, Covid certificates came into force throughout the EU and in Croatia as of the 1st of July, combined with new measures that will be more relaxed for the holders of these certificates, and will enable people with EU digital certificates to participate in various events without limiting the number of participants or time spent.

Direct flights as a further Croatian tourism growth boost

As has previously been written, the situation with freedom of travel within the EU is likely not going to be quite as previously expected or hope due to the penetration of the Delta strain virus into some countries such as Portugal. At the same time, a lot is expected from direct flights from the USA to Croatia.

The two major US airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, are launching their routes from New York to Dubrovnik this week.

For more, follow our travel section.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Newly Launched Croatian Digital Covid Certificates Already Causing Issues

June the 6th, 2021 - The newly launched and much talked about Croatian digital covid certificates are already causing issues among many, even with the desire not to discriminate being put first. For some reason, those who have recovered from the infection are struggling to have their certificates approved.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, as of Wednesday, Croatian digital covid certificates have been being issued here in Croatia. However, in the first two days of them being ''live'' alone, it was shown that this system of confirmation with which vaccinated people or those who have already recovered from COVID-19 can freely cross the border without additional tests has multiple shortcomings.

More precisely, a grey zone has opened up which includes a huge number of people who contracted and have since recovered from the disease, but are not registered anywhere in the system. Their requests for Croatian digital covid certificates were all rejected.

"This is discrimination, I don't know how else to describe it. We've found ourselves in the grey zone, not through our own fault, but because of the official recommendation of epidemiologists and GPs,'' stated an indignant Zadar native for Slobodna Dalmacija who immediately asked for a Croatian digital covid certificate through the e-Citizens (e-Gradjani) system so that she could travel. However, the answer she received was clear - no.

"If I want to travel now, and that's the main reason why I want this certificate, I can't do it without paying yet again, this time I need to fork out eight hundred kuna because PCR testing at the Zadar County Public Health Institute costs that much. It's the most expensive in the country. And not once, but twice, when entering and then when leaving Croatia. If that's not discrimination, then I don’t know what is. Especially in light of these announcements that we're going to co-finance antigen tests for foreign tourists to come to us for holidays. That is simply not fair,'' she explained.

In Zadar County, more than fourteen thousand people have officially contracted the coronavirus. However, the main Zadar epidemiologist, Dr. Alan Medic, has repeatedly warned that the actual number of people who have become infected and since recovered with no record of that anyway is at least two to three times higher. This doesn't only apply to Zadar, but to the whole of Croatia. It is these people who are the grey zone today because they aren't registered anywhere, nor can they get Croatian digital covid certificates.

Why indivituals who have recovered from COVID-19 cannot get Croatian digital covid certificates and how we might resolve this issue was answered by Dr. Alan Medic, the head of epidemiology at the Zadar Institute of Public Health.

"The rules for obtaining Croatian digital covid certificates were adopted by the Ministry of Health and the Croatian Institute of Public Health, and you should forward this inquiry to them. What we can say is that at the time when we had the largest number of coronavirus patients in all of Croatia, it was the practice to test only one family member, and the rest, if they developed symptoms, were to contact their GP who then listed them as probably positive, but without any evidence. I believe that all people who have recovered from COVID-19, who have a sufficient number of antibodies or who have been registered with their doctor as probably positive should have the same rights as the proven positive ones,'' said Medic.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres and vaccination points across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and select your preferred language.

Monday, 12 April 2021

Croatia and 12 Other EU Countries Agree on Green Tourist Passport

ZAGREB, 12 April, 2021 - Croatia and 12 other EU countries have agreed on criteria for a so-called green passport which is expected to facilitate the movement of tourists during the current time of pandemic, it was said in Vienna on Monday.

It is our goal to soon enable the use of a possibly single green passport at the EU level, Austrian Tourism Minister Elisabeth Köstinger told the Austrian news agency APA.

The minister noted that this was a matter of survival for European tourism.

Croatia, Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain in late March agreed on seven criteria for issuing a green passport, which is expected to become a reality by early June at the latest.

The green passport contains a QR code with information on whether its holder has been vaccinated, tested or has recovered from coronavirus. It enables simple and practical application in the EU, from check-ins at airports to visits to village pubs, Köstinger said.

She stressed that one definitely wants to prevent this type of document from being treated as a way to make someone get vaccinated.

Sensitive medical information on the holder of the green passport would stay in the country of origin and would not be stored centrally at EU level.

Another goal is harmonising the application of the green passport with third countries.

The list of criteria for green passports has been submitted for control to the European Commission, which is expected to decide on their application in the coming days.

For more on coronavirus in Croatia, including travel, border and quarantine rules, as well as the locations of testing centres across the country, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section.


Saturday, 20 March 2021

EU Green Certificates Already Threatening Lack of Tourism Clarity

March the 20th, 2021 - The much talked about EU Green Certificates which will allow for easier travel within the bloc are already posing potential issues for Croatian tourism and they haven't even been agreed upon or approved yet.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak/Marija Crnjak writes, which vaccine will be accepted on the digital EU Green Certificates for travel is the main dilemma that arose the very day after the European Commission (EC) presented its idea for this model of free travel within the borders of the European Union (EU).

In addition to the above, it isn't yet entirely clear how the EU Green Certificates and their control will work with car tourists passing through several countries to reach their final destinations, each of which has the potential to have its own interpretation of typically strung out, complicated EU regulations and the recognition of both vaccines and certificates.

It doesn't apply to third countries

As is well known, the EC proposal, which has yet to be ratified by the Council and Parliament, states that only vaccines registered by the European Medicines Agency will be recognised by the EU Green Certificates at the European Union level, and it is up to individual member states to decide whether or not to quarantine or receive guests who have received vaccines not registered by the EMA.

These are, for example, guests from Russia, China, but also Hungary, which imported the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik, as well as countries in the region outside the EU, such as neighbouring Serbia. The Ministry of Tourism has since clarified that the mentioned EC proposal doesn't even refer to third countries.

"As a tourist country, Croatia welcomes any document that will facilitate tourist movement through uniform and predictable rules. In the forthcoming discussions within the Council, which must agree on the final version of the document, we'll strive that the announced EU Green Certificates, in whatever form they happen to be, doesn't represent a restrictive factor for free movement, we'll also make sure it isn't in any way discriminatoryIn parallel with the preparations for the adoption of this document at the EU level, the Croatian Government regularly coordinates positions regarding the conditions of crossing the border, taking into account the epidemiological situation. The proper facilitation of movement with the member states of the European Union, as well as with third countries, is also being intensively discussed," the Ministry said.

Minister Nikolina Brnjac met recently with British Ambassador Andrew Dalgleish, which officially opened a conversation between the two sides on facilitating travel, and said that Croatia would be ready to receive tourists from the UK as soon as epidemiological rules in Britain, which is currently under lockdown, allow for it.

Predictability and assurance for business entities

In addition, the Ministry pointed out that the Croatian Government, in order to ensure predictability for business entities in tourism, will make a timely and detailed decision on the conditions for tourists to enter Croatia, which will be in force at least until the establishment of a common European model. It follows that the controversial so-called Covid passports will not play a crucial role in tourist traffic.

At a recent conference organised by the Office of the European Parliament in Croatia, MEPs generally welcomed the idea of ​​introducing the EU Green Certificates, which they do not consider to be discriminatory, but they point out that there will still be discussions about possible changes to that proposal.

Valter Flego stated that we can talk about some concrete effects of these passes for tourism only during the month of June, but the model will significantly reduce the cost of travel because tourists won't have to pay for tests or for translations of various certificates.

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Sunday, 7 March 2021

Croatia Covid Passport Support Will Happen Only in One Case

March the 7th, 2021 - When it comes to the controversial issue of Covid passports, first discussed at any serious level by Greece in its active attempts to see tourism return to its shores, there hasn´t been much said by Croatia. In fact, Croatia Covid passport support will only happen in one situation.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatia Covid passport support at the EU level will only exist if such a travel document is not mandatory, Jutarnji list wrote on Sunday, citing an anonymous, well-informed source who said that crossing borders without restrictions should be allowed for those who present a negative coronavirus test result or their vaccination certificate.

After European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced this week that they were considering the introduction of a "Digital Green Certificate" for easier border crossings, it became clear that a common solution was being sought at the European Union level to restart passenger traffic between countries. The Commission's final proposal on what the certificate should look like and how passengers will use it should be completed by March the 17th, but the story so far is accompanied by a series of ambiguities and even a fundamental misunderstanding of what the certificate should represent.

According to Politico, which received access to Ursula von der Leyen's letter on the certificate, the European Commission advocates that the certificate not only be proof that passengers have been vaccinated, but also that it combines negative PCR test results in one place, as well as confirmation that the passenger is immune to the virus following their contraction of it and their subsequent recovery from it.

For the introduction of the official certificate, at least according to Politico, mainly tourism dependent countries are in full favour of the document. Spain, Malta, Cyprus and Greece, as well as Cyprus, have all already announced that they plan to start allowing vaccinated Britons into the country without the need for any restrictions, while Cyprus and Greece have come to a very similar agreement reached with Israel, which has done excellently in terms of vaccination of the general population.

However, some other countries are also inclined to introduce this document, and this initiative was welcomed last week by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, while Croatia, although dependent on tourism, has so far only very shyly responded to this burning topic.

As Jutarnji list has learned from a well-informed source, Croatian politics generally supports all efforts that will result in easier border crossings, but only if it will not be discriminatory towards citizens.

Although it is unclear what the certificate itself should look like, it is currently being discussed that it will actually be in the form of an app on a smartphone in which the traveller will have their negative test results, their certificate of vaccination or proof of having recovered from the novel disease.

In that sense, Croatia Covid passport support would only occur if it would not be made obligatory for passengers, ie if those who do not have a certificate, but can present their negative test result or their vaccination certificate in some other form would also be allowed to cross borders without facing restrictions, reports Jutarnji list.

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