Over 1,000 Caterers in Dalmatia Closed Businesses for 60 Minutes on Thursday

Daniela Rogulj

Pandora Greenbox Split
Pandora Greenbox Split

Pandora Greenbox Split

September 25, 2020 – More than a thousand caterers in Dalmatia stopped serving guests in their facilities for an hour to warn of the difficult situation their businesses are in. The protest began at 11:56 on Thursday afternoon.

HRTurizam reports that as part of the action “4 to 12”, Thursday’s protest was initiated by the National Association of Caterers and the Split Association of Caterers, though word quickly spread to Zadar, Sibenik, Dubrovnik, and other Dalmatian cities and towns and was a complete success, the organizers said.


Caterers decided to take action because the coronavirus pandemic endangered the food & beverage industry’s survival and the numerous jobs on which tens of thousands of employees and members of their families depend on in Dalmatia alone.

“I am pleased that the caterers responded in such large numbers, but even more pleased that our guests recognized the importance of the action and accepted our reasons as to why we stopped serving them for 60 minutes with understanding. Our demands for measures needed to preserve jobs and prevent the collapse of the economy are clear – suspension of VAT until March 1, 2021, a permanent preferential rate on food – which according to the Food Act, includes food, coffee, beer, juices, water, and wine – of 13% or 10%, access to credit lines of HAMAG BICRO for liquidity and HBOR for investments,” said Jelena Tabak from the Split Association of Caterers.

The action is designed as a continuation of the recent action of caterers of Istria and Kvarner with the same goals, only this time it was not called “5 to 12” but “4 to 12” to warn of the fact that time for action of competent institutions is running out and will soon be too late.

Hundreds of restaurants, cafes, and shops closed in Split alone to show their support, and more than two hundred in Zadar and its surroundings. In Zadar and Hvar, only the facilities of local leaders of the Croatian Chamber of Trades and Crafts have been opened.


Udruženje ugostitelja Split

Caterers emphasized that the season was better than in other Mediterranean countries, but not enough to bridge the gap created by a lockdown in the spring, falling tourist numbers, and the abrupt end of the season due to the closure of other borders.

“We do not ask for any alms, nor do we want other people’s money. We are only asking to be allowed to borrow to survive until next season and be relieved of the tax burden to some extent so that we can pay the loan. Several other measures could help us at the local government level, from relieving consumption taxes to reducing concession fees. Still, key measures that will help all caterers – VAT and availability of liquidity and investment funds – must be addressed at the state level,” said Jelena Tabak.

A sample survey of almost 500 caterers from all over Croatia found that almost 60% of them recorded a decline in business by more than 50%, and almost 40% face the fact that under these conditions, they will not survive until next season. As many as 80% of employers will be forced to resort to terminating contracts with employees.

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