As ePodravina/Kristina Kos writes on the 28th of January, 2021, although there were certain announcements, the National Civil Protection Headquarters and the Government made a decision today that cafes will not be able to sell coffee outside or coffee to go, let alone work normally, until restaurants are permitted to open their doors.
Local portal ePodravina talked to numerous local establishment owners about how they’re planning to survive when they can now sadly barely even make ends meet. The most clear of all of them was Bernard Tkalcic, the owner of the Zlatni Klas rural tourism establishment in Otrovanac near Pitomaca, which includes a restaurant and accommodation facilities.
”I’m part of an initiative of caterers called Let us work/Dajte nam da radimo in which a lot of entities are involved. We’re currently in negotiations and I can tell you that a good part of us will open our doors on the 1st of February in protest, following the example of the Czech Republic and Italy. I believe that there will be about five thousand of us, and I will certainly be one of them,” he announced. Bernard Tkalcec says that Croatia’s caterers are now on their knees in desperation and that the state has well and truly turned its back on them.
”We saved people’s jobs, but the subsidies don’t even arrive on our accounts on time, and where are the other costs? We do make food for delivery, but those are the little things. Our traffic has dropped by 70 percent, this is no longer sustainable,” Bernard Tkalcec warned.
He noted that he will open his doors out of desperation and explained that even serving coffee to go or coffee for cafe terraces makes no sense.
”People have already adapted to going and having coffee at petrol stations and at kiosks, and the points where they gather aren’t controlled by anyone anyway. In the meantime, over 1000 caterers have already gone bankrupt, and the number of unemployed people is increasing every single day,” said a concerned Bernard Tkalcec. He is of the opinion that the measures are too harsh and counterproductive.
”I’m disappointed that after 43 years of business I have to think about my very survival. These are measures that look like watching someone eat peanuts and cake when you’re hungry,” he concluded.
Goran Kvakaric, the owner of three cafes in Koprivnica, says that the situation is hopeless and that they can’t just keep waiting and waiting for the moment they’re told they can open.
”This is all an expensive joke, especially the announcement of the opening of the terraces and coffee outside. I don’t know how we could settle anything that way, and we pay 28 percent VAT!,” he said, adding that Mayor Jaksic made it easier for them not to have to pay an rent for terraces and reduced the consumption tax. Vladimir Rus, a fellow owner and he president of the Koprivnica Caterers’ Guild, agrees with him, saying that he wouldn’t even bother opening his facility just to serve coffee outside or coffee to go.
Zeljko Evacic, the owner of the Latino bar in Krizevci, which is also a nightclub, complained that their traffic had dropped by 70 percent, even though they provide food and beverages outside anyway.
”The 500-square-metre restaurant can’t survive by serving a few coffees outside or through the window, and our traffic has dropped drastically in the last few months before closing. It all depended on the number of infected people on any given day,” he stated.
Hrvoje Bujas from the Voice of Entrepreneurs Association also spoke about the planned non-compliance with the measures, saying that this decision was catastrophic, and he made it known that he would not sit still when it comes to this.
”We waited and waited for the decision of the government to relax the measures, the hills shook, and then one big nothing was born! The decision itself is catastrophic and discriminatory, so some can sell coffee (bakeries, for example), and others who have MTU, and the necessary permits – can’t! We’re going to consult with all independent associations that support our work, independent initiatives, as well as with all of you, our members, we also have plenty of options from lawsuits to civil disobedience, and all options are open. #I want to work,” Bujas wrote.
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