Zagreb Association of Caterers: 100 Locations Opening Monday to Protest Measures

Daniela Rogulj

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Dissatisfaction with the measures has been expressed by many caterers and gym owners in Croatia. Among them are those who are seriously considering opening their facilities on Monday, February 1, even though they could receive hefty fines, reports RTL.

For example, one fitness center in Dugo Selo has not been open for two months, but it will open its doors to exercisers on February 1, despite the ban.

“We are opening because the measures are illogical, unequal for everyone and we claim that we in gyms and fitness centers, recreation centers can mostly control the measures and our members because no one from the road can break into our training,” said the owner of the Spartak Fitness Center, Alen Preldžić.

The owner says he is well aware of the fines, which amount to up to 70,000 kuna.

“We are aware of draconian fines, but I don’t think there are any others now. How will they be charged when we have 0 kuna in the account,” Preldžić said.

Some caterers will protest the Headquarters, with whom they say they have not communicated for months. Others, like caterer Dražen Biljan, will not participate in disobedience but says he understands his colleagues.

“We do not condemn, we do not encourage, but we can understand our colleagues who are so desperate that they are thinking about all sorts of options,” said Biljan.

The citizens, however, seem divided.

“I think that then the owners of cafes and guests would be responsible for that, there would be penalties for everyone. I am not really for that,” Emma thinks.

“As for the opening, I don’t know who is smart at the moment, but I think people are desperate and want to do something, and this has been going on for a year,” Iven said.

“To open up on their own? I am for respecting law and order; that’s how I was raised,” said actress Maria Sekelez.

Those writing the measures hope others won’t rebel.

“I still hope that this will not happen. The epidemiological experts in the preparation of this decision has very clearly set priorities that relate not only to this situation but also of a principled nature,” said Chief of Civil Protection Headquarters, Davor Božinović.

The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association had a meeting Friday morning and devised a plan to continue putting pressure on the Headquarters.

“At the moment, the idea is to organize one action next Wednesday. That protest action would be for everyone – for cafes and all fitness centers, and for all those who are closed. For all those who have a big drop in traffic and for all those who show solidarity with entrepreneurs and with this situation we are all in together,” said a representative of the Voice of Entrepreneurs, Maruša Stamać.

After the police wrote 30 fines for a nightclub in Zagreb’s center, the Nightclubs and Bars Initiative have not stayed quiet.

“We disapprove of violating measures, but we are aware that it has become a matter of survival. We are also witnesses that the Constitution guarantees that we are all equal before the law, so the owner is put in prison for non-compliance with the measures, and all this was recorded and made public. The party organizers in KB Dubrava just had to apologize to the Croatian public,” explained Domagoj Petričević from the Nightclubs and Bars Initiative.

Croatians will not legally sit in cafes until at least February 15, and on Monday, we will see if Croatia really follows the Italian and Czech scenario. Recall, these two countries were the first to start this year with riots, protests, and opening by force.

There are many meetings in front of the caterers, most of them will be about Monday and how some of them will open their doors by force.

Franz Letica, president of the Zagreb Association of Caterers, revealed what this weekend will look like for caterers and how they are preparing from February 1.

“Tomorrow at 11 am in one of the shopping malls, we will have a meeting, and the reason is the illogical existing measures. Schools were open, and they are one of the primary sources of infection, and bars are not, so it pulled us together to act and hold a meeting this weekend,” said Letica.

They will agree on the details on Saturday. Letica confirmed that his colleagues are aware of the measures and penalties they could encounter if they open by force on February 1.

“So far, there are 103 locales in Zagreb that have confirmed their opening,” said Letica.

He confirmed that everything would look like in the good old days.

“Music – waiters, a good afternoon, please. Like in the good old days,” Letica said.

The Voice of Entrepreneurs Association announced that another protest would be held on Wednesday.

“We support all actions and dissatisfaction because this is, we hope, a post-pandemic time that should bring some openings. It is not normal that we have been in such quarantine for almost two months that they have almost restricted our movement,” Letica concluded.

To read more about COVID-19 in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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