Foreigners Self-Isolating in Croatia: Do You Feel Safer? Tamara from Moldova on Murter

Total Croatia News

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April 5, 2020 – Do foreigners in Croatia feel more or less safe sitting out COVID-19 here than in their home country, and what are their experiences? A new series on TCN, with Tamara Shatkova from Moldova under quarantine on Murter as our 26th contributor.

Oxford University recently published some research on government responses to coronavirus which showed that Croatia currently has the strictest measures in the world. While inconvenient, this is a good thing in terms of reducing the spread of the virus, and I am certainly not alone in my admiration of the official Croatian handling of this crisis in recent weeks, both in terms of action and communication. 

But what do other expats here think? And how does it compare with the response in their home country? Would they rather sit this one out here or there? In the first of a new series on TCN, we will be featuring expats from all over the world to see what their views are on life in corona Croatia rather than back home. So far we have heard from expats in Croatia from Romania, USA, Ireland, UK, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Singapore, Holland, Canada, India, Hong Kong, Venezuela, Latvia, China, Honduras, Hungary and Germany. Next up, Tamara Shatkova from Moldova under quarantine on Murter.

If you would like to contribute to this series, full details are below. Now, over to Tamara.

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Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

We are very well, thank you! My husband, 7-year-old daughter and I live in Murter, which as you probably know and saw on the news is under strict quarantine! We cannot leave the island and actually are advised to not even leave our houses unless we need to go to the grocery shop or pharmacy. I personally have not left the house for 20 days. My husband does all the shopping for us and is also volunteering at the local Civil Protection Headquarters.

In my opinion, Murter has done an amazing job to slow down the spread of the infection and to keep its citizens safe.

One nice addition to our daily routine happens at 15:00 when we all sing the Murter anthem, and at 20:00 we all get out and send bengaljke (flares) into the air!

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Everything has been closed since March 16th, even before the lockdown in Zagreb and the rest of Croatia with quite strict restrictions: no more than 5 people can enter the grocery shop at the time, everyone needs to keep a distance of minimum 2 meters, wear face masks, gloves and disinfect your hands and shoes. We try to keep it the same at home: no shoes or jackets from outside, wash hands regularly and stay healthy! Lots of hot liquids and vitamin C!

(Beautiful Murter on April 2, 2020)

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business?

My husband has a restaurant and I’m a wedding planner, so we are totally depending on tourism, which is currently one of the most affected sectors not just in Croatia, but all over the world. My parents who are in Moldova are facing similar problems, all apartment bookings have been cancelled all the way until June, as the country is also in complete isolation.

As for weddings, so far most of the couples who planned May and early June weddings have postponed them to later dates in September, October or moved them to 2021. We all know it’s going be a difficult season, but I’m always staying positive and hope for the best!

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In terms of financial help from the government towards small business, so far, we have not received any support, but we have filled out the application form and are waiting for a response.

Back home, in Moldova, no funding or extensions were provided for business and everyone is obliged to pay the salaries and taxes even though everything has been shut down. So far, there is only talk and no real actions or help from the Moldavan government.

What is your impression of the way Croatia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

I don’t watch much TV, but what I have seen so far, I’m pretty impressed at how the Croatian Government is handling the pandemic and communicating to the public. Huge applause to Vili Beroš and Alemka Markotic. I feel very safe and am looking forward for this to be over.

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When did you realise that corona was going to be a big issue? 

On the morning of 16th March we went out for a coffee and we were told that tby15:00 everything would have to be closed down, including all F&B outlets. We had just opened our restaurant for the season two days before. Murter was full of tourists and preparing for big regattas. We never thought this was going to last so long, and I was hoping that they would solve it in a few weeks and we could get on with our lives, but since then a lot has changed. All spring regattas have been cancelled, and the island now has few coronavirus cases and we are in complete isolation under quarantine.

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Croatia doing better/worse?

I think both Croatia and Moldova are doing a pretty good job.

Moldova stopped all flights from Italy as soon as we got the first few cases of coronavirus. I think they reacted really quickly and that has helped to keep the numbers quite low. Plus they have put big fines for those who leave self-isolation and for businesses who keep working. In Croatia, this came at a much later stage. Here in Murter in March, we had tourists from nearby European countries who were supposed to be in self-isolation but they were going out and drinking with locals. I wish they have brought up self-isolation restrictions and fines at a much earlier stage.

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My advice what to do:

Always stay positive and be thankful for what you have! Use this time to spend with your family and kids! Do something that you didn’t have time to do before! Read, take an online course or perhaps start learning another language! See what else you are good at and how you can make your business even better, as the world won’t be the same after this is over! Nowadays, there are so many opportunities so use this time wisely!

Thanks, Tamara, stay safe and see you on the other side. If you are thinking of tying the knot and are looking for a fabulous wedding planner to help you along the way, look no further than Tamara and Adriatic Weddings Croatia.

TCN is starting a new feature series on foreign experiences of sitting out COVID-19 here in Croatia compared to their home country. If you would like to contribute, the questions are below. Please also include a para about yourself and where you are from, and a link to your website if you would like. Please also send 3-4 photos minimum to [email protected] Subject Corona Foreigner

If you would be interested to record a video version for our partners please let us know in the email. Thanks and stay safe. 

Foreigners Self-Isolating in Croatia: Do You Feel Safer Than in Your Home Country?

Firstly, how are you? Are you alone/with someone? Tell us a little about your situation and sanity levels.

What do you think about the economic measures the government is taking, are they helping your business? (PLEASE IGNORE IF THIS DOES NOT AFFECT YOU)

When did you realise that corona was going to be a big issue? 

What is your impression of the way Croatia is dealing with the crisis? How safe do you feel?

Now compare that to your home country and how they are handling it. What is Croatia doing better/worse?

What about official communications from the authorities, compared to your home country?

What’s the one thing you wish you had taken with you into self-isolation.

One thing you have learned about yourself, and one thing you have learned about others during this crisis. 

TCN has recently become a partner in Robert Tomic Zuber’s new R+ video channel, initially telling stories about corona experiences. You can see the first TCN contribution from this morning, my video from Jelsa talking about the realities of running a news portal in the corona era below. If you would like to also submit a video interview, please find Robert’s guidelines below 


The video footage should be recorded so that the cell phone is turned horizontally (landscape mode).

There are several rules for television and video news:- length is not a virtue- a picture speaks more than a thousand words

In short, this would mean that your story should not last more than 90 seconds and that everything you say in the report should be shown by video (for example, if you talk about empty streets, we should see those empty streets, etc.).

How to do it with your cell phone? First, use a selfie camera to record yourself telling your story for about a minute and a half. Ideally, it would be taken in the exterior, except in situations where you are reporting on things in the interior (quarantine, hospital, self-isolation, etc.). Also, when shooting, move freely, make sure everything is not static.

After you have recorded your report, you should capture footage that will tell your story with a picture, such as an earlier example with empty streets.

One of the basic rules of TV journalism is that the story is told in the same way as a journalist with his text. Therefore, we ask you for additional effort. Because we work in a very specific situation, sometimes you may not be able to capture footage for each sentence of the report. In this case, record the details on the streets: people walking, the main features of the city where you live, inscriptions on the windows related to the virus, etc.

The same rules apply if you are shooting a story from your apartment, self-isolation, quarantine. We also need you to capture footage that describes your story.

When shooting frames to cover your reports, it is important that you change the angle of the shot (in other words, shoot that empty street from several angles). Also, when shooting a detail, count at least five seconds before removing the camera to another detail.

The material should be about 5 minutes long (90 seconds of your report + frames to cover your story).

After recording everything, send us to Zagreb, preferably via WeTransfer to [email protected]


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