April 1, 2020 — From dog grooming to neglected gardens, many Croatians responded to “stay at home” with a, “Yeah, but…”
The government is responding with measures meant to streamline the system of “passes” designed to track movement, while also increasing the number of exceptions to the “stay at home” mantra.
Ivan Malenica, Administration Minister, unveiled an “e-Pass” service to streamline the until-now Byzantine “pass” system which allows citizens to travel within the country. It should be available by the end of the day.
The app, within the Shared Services Center, links with the Ministry of the Interior, the Tax Administration, the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO), the health system and the Civil Protection Headquarters.
“It’s not about the app, it’s about the shared services center,” Malenica told N1. “The e-pass system is intended for citizens under the civil protection system and, if necessary, towards employers.”
The e-Pass system creates a single point to access and monitor issued passes, said Malenica. Citizens can access passes through Croatia’s “e-Citizen” system, an online repository of government services and information available to anyone with an official identification card.
Citizens granted a pass can print them out or keep them on their mobile device. Each pass features a QR code which police officers can scan.
Previously issued passes will be accessible through the system.
“The goal is to speed up and digitize the whole process,” he said.
Those who do not have access to the “e-Citizen” service can use the current means of request via email and doctors. Employers, doctors and the Civil Protection Directorate can still give out passes.
The passes were introduced after the March 22 earthquake hit Zagreb. The government banned citizens from moving within the country, demanding they remain in their declared legal residence.
The previous system of giving out passes created many lapses, and was proving hard to maintain.
Over 50 residents of Brodsko Posavske County tried to leave the area after the measures were introduced, Mijo Kršić of the county’s police department told Jutranji List.
The requests for passes started trickling in — some justified, others silly.
“Individuals were asking us to issue passes to go get their dog groomed,” said county leader Danijel Marušić. “There were other similar requests that are not necessary and not relevant at the moment.”
This system plans to close such loopholes by overlapping various information at the national and local level, while also giving the Civil Protection Directorate a better handle on movement.
“There was abuse of the whole system because employers were able to issue passes to non-employed persons,” Malenica said, adding that the goal was to digitize and make it easier for citizens and employers to get passes, according to Dnevnik.hr.
Loosening restrictions on islands
The Civil Protection Directorate’s “stay in place” orders scuttled plans to spend the pandemic in weekend homes well away from urban centers, in less-inhabited coastal towns and islands.
The government has, for now, loosened up those restrictions slightly, allowing local agencies to decide the urgency and necessity for someone to go to an island.
Some local authorities have already promised to pull back restraints on visiting islands. Zadar, for example, will now allow citizens to visit islands if they own agricultural land in need of attention — regardless of whether or not they reside there. The measure is not limited to companies or family agricultural businesses, but private citizens with agricultural land — pending confirmation they have land to tend.
Business owners and their workers must also show an urgent need to go to an island to get a pass to islands or remote areas.
One group not getting passes: those ordered into self-isolation.