With no decline in Covid-19 cases over the past few weeks, Croatia is enacting new restrictions starting at midnight Saturday in an effort to control the spread of the virus.
The new measures will shut down casinos and limit the hours of restaurants and bars to 10 p.m. Bars and restaurants will also be required to post their maximum capacity at the entrance. Police and members of the civil defense will be stepping up controls. Epidemiologists say the number one cause of infection is socialising in indoor spaces. Police will also be cracking down on illegal night clubs, a new phenomenon that has appeared during the pandemic in response to restrictions on night clubs.
Restaurant and bar owners say the new restrictions will destroy their businesses, which are already hurting due to the pandemic. Gaming establishment owners are also angry. They say they are a major source of tax revenue for the state and have poured 1.4 billion kuna into the state’s coffers in 2020. Forcing them to close will hurt the budget, they argue.
The Hospitality Business Owners Association claims that their establishment have not been proven to be a major source of Covid-19 transmission. Marin Medak, the president of the association, claims data from Austria, Germany, and Spain shows that only 2-3% of people who contract Covid-19 are infected at cafes and restaurants.
Varaždin County is under even tougher restrictions. Bars, restaurants, sports venues, and gyms were ordered closed on Friday as the county that is home to around 170 thousand residents became the number one coronavirus hotspot in Europe with 1,600 new cases in a week.
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