Croatia, whose economy is more dependent on tourism than any other country in the EU, is worried about continued summer activities. The country faces a “battle to save the season”, headlined the Jutarnji List newspaper this weekend. The country’s tourism sector has been alarmed since the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) last Thursday changed the green crown status of Croatia’s coastal areas to orange.
Correspondent for South East European countries based in Vienna.
ECDC data, which describes the events of the previous two weeks, is a warning. The hospitality industry fears red status will soon follow. This jeopardizes the success of what has been a fairly good season so far. So far, Croatia had reached around 75 percent of tourist numbers in the last pre-pandemic summer of 2019.
Minister of the Interior: Take prevention directives seriously
The general mood was optimistic as the number of infections was low until recently. The fact that the incidence values are currently higher than in the comparable period of 2020 indicates the new seriousness of the situation. According to the national health authority, a good 1,200 new infections were recorded during the first 16 days of July 2020, this year 1586. Interior Minister Davor Božinović warned to take the prevention guidelines seriously. authority, after all, they are not an end in themselves. This is to avoid a loss of control.
There is little will to vaccinate in Croatia. Only 46 percent of the population have received at least one dose so far. The supply of vaccines has long exceeded demand. Almost 400,000 cans have already been distributed to other countries, including 240,000 to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The government has also decided that from now on, uninsured people and foreigners can also get vaccinated for free.
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Tourism Minister Nikolina Brnjac said the new Orange status was a further warning. She urged all employees of the tourism industry, but also the travelers themselves: “Be reasonable, get vaccinated and pay attention to epidemiological measures”. More details. The dissatisfaction with the new classification comes in particular from Istria, which has significantly lower incidence values than Dalmatia, but this does not appear in the statistics of the ECDC, since the coast Croatian is registered there as a unit.
Meanwhile, parts of Dalmatia have announced stricter measures to contain the virus. Mato Franković, the mayor of Dubrovnik, has announced sanctions for innkeepers who do not pay attention to epidemiological measures in their restaurants, referring to the skyrocketing number of infections. In everyday life, of course, things are still quite lax in Croatia. In bars no one asks for test results or vaccination certificates, the mask requirement is interpreted in many places in an extremely casual manner. Often times, masks only work as an accessory that is casually hidden under the chin.