Plan to Reopen Restaurants and Cafes in Croatia Leaked, Caterers Association Unhappy

Daniela Rogulj

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The Croatian Caterers Association said that the hospitality sector’s final decline, directed by the Civil Protection Headquarters, is underway.

According to them, the first outlines of the working document, which contains a general proposal of reopening within the catering and tourism sector, have been leaked. Sources close to the Headquarters claim that the first in line to open are those they believe have coped best with the overall situation, alluding to hotels, reports

“The first outlines of the working document containing the principle of opening dynamics within the hospitality and tourism sector have been leaked. Sources close to the Headquarters claim that the first to open are those they think have coped best with the overall situation, alluding to hotels. The opening of restaurants is planned for the beginning of March, and only a few weeks later, cafe bars would open with the possibility of serving exclusively on the terraces. Based on all the above, the Headquarters decided to rule on the catering sector by reckless decisions, without involving the experts in defining the action plan for opening.

This scenario is unacceptable to us as an Association which, without exception, demands equal treatment of all catering facilities in a way that abandons the extraordinarily flawed and discriminatory model that defines WHO can work and adheres to the model that will determine WHAT should be done in which way to prevent the spread of infection from an epidemiological point of view. Putting subjects from the same sector in an unequal position based on their name might make sense a few centuries ago, but not today when we are all obliged to explain and argue our views with irrefutable facts as a result of serious studies and analyzes. In the Association, we take the position of the only legal representative of the profession seriously. For months, we have been trying to amortize the discrepancy between the needs of the market and the Headquarters’ failed decisions. We are surprised by the Headquarters’ approach after everything we have done in the last two months. From the first day the Decision was implemented by the Headquarters, which marked the second lockdown of the hospitality sector, we have appealed and offered solutions to all identified shortcomings of the decision.

We believe that the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia, following the announcements, will consider them at the end of the month. For months now, the National Caterers Association has been mentioned as a partner in the Civil Protection Headquarters’ dialogue, and quality communication and consultation before making decisions is promised. At one point, we refrained from criticizing the Headquarters for reducing the burden they carry on their backs and thus enable calmer reasoning and better decisions, all in the hope that they will go with the best of intentions, taking into account all the relevant parameters and factors that have influenced decision making.

But in reality, we have served, and still serve only as a buffer zone, as a kind of shield that takes the blows and criticism of our colleagues, whose fate we share, because unlike the HOK and HGK whose affairs we have taken over because of their inertia or incompetence, we are not paid by forced taxes, but by our work in the profession that suffers the most significant burden of this crisis, without adequate compensation, without real arguments, and in fear of whether we will see tomorrow at all. The National Caterers Association leaders, President Marin Medak and Vice President Vedran Jakominić were forced to resign irrevocably from their positions after this outcome. They believe that the continuation of the monologue by the Headquarters without the profession’s voice is a pure expression of distrust towards everyone whose rights are limited by their decisions.

As someone who knows the situation on the ground, in what fear and uncertainty our colleagues live and as someone whose future and bare existence also depend on the thinnest thread, it is becoming increasingly difficult to convince hundreds, even thousands of fellow caterers that the Headquarters know what it is doing and is acting with the best of intentions. We are legalists, we respect the law, and we adhere to all possible prescribed measures. Still, we hereby call for a new dialogue, for providing equal conditions and chances for survival for all, so that we can catch the last train which can prevent the dialogue at the table from being replaced by that on the street, as we have witnessed in recent days in Italy, Austria, Poland, and other European countries,” reads the statement of the National Caterers Association of Caterers.

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