ZAGREB, October 14, 2020 — In the show “U mreži prvog” on Wednesday morning, the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Krunoslav Capak, said that a record number of newly infected people would be recorded in Croatia today. He also said that they were open for further talks with caterers, who were outraged by the measures taken earlier this week.
Call to mind, caterers are prohibited by the new rules to work after midnight. Also, 4 square meter is required between people, COVID-19 “stewards” are being introduced and there is no dancing at weddings. All this to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On Wednesday morning HRT invited the director of the Croatian Institute of Public Health, Dr. Krunoslav Capak in their show “U mreži prvog” (“In the network of the first”). He commented on the new measures, which caused a lot of dust, especially among caterers.
‘Simply, Due to Growth of Patients, We Must Introduce Measures’
“In many countries of Western Europe, catering facilities do not function at all because they have the growth of patients as they have. A comparable growth, unfortunately, is now starting in our country as well. Our goal is to reduce the numbers. We talked to the representatives of the caterers for seven days, we agreed on these measures with them. At the final meeting, we presented the recommendations and agreed to go with them. Our goal is not that there is no catering activity, that there is no economy or social activities,” he pointed out.
He expressed his hopes that there will be no new restrictions, except for the “correction of a few small things”, and that after that, they could have stagnation and a decrease in the number of patients. “Simply, due to the growth of patients, we must now introduce measures,” Capak clarified.
President ‘Was Tricked’, Another Meeting is Needed
Vedran Jakominić, President of the Association of Caterers of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County felt that he was tricked. Although, he also pointed out that he thanked both Capak and Trut for their efforts. He understands that they were in a difficult and unenviable position.
“The meetings that were held in the last seven days did not have these measures on the table. We are deeply disappointed with what was presented in the end and we believe that a trust has been formed with such requirements. We are practically closed, we are not ‘de jure’,” he said. “To us, the most controversial provision is 4 square meters per guest, so practically we have no chance to work. It was brought to the table on the last day as an off-the-shelf recommendation. Conversely, the physical distance of 1.5 m was a measure that could be worked with,” he stated.
“A facility, which can accommodate 100 people, can now accommodate only 11 or 12 people. That is very far from profitability,” he stated. Furthermore, he calls for another emergency meeting because the dissatisfaction among the caterers is huge.
Capak Open to Conversation About Measures
The director of the CNIPH explains why the measure of 4 square meters per person was adopted.
“We had to bring a limit. 4 square meters is 2×2 for you, and if you stand in the middle of that square, your distance from the one in the next four squares is two meters. We can reduce it to 1.5 meters, but 500 people were crammed into nightclubs and cafes on 400 square meters. Take a look at the hospitalizations that we keep getting. We have brought a limit of 4 square meters, which is perhaps restrictive. We can talk about changing that,” Krunoslav Capak points out. For the smallest cafes, the so-called “nanocafes”, they did not introduce a measure of 4 square meters, he added.
“We are open for conversation, but we think that 4 meters is not such a drastic measure. We can reduce it or I don’t know what, but then we will get into a situation like before, that for example a butcher’s shop has 1.80 m of tiles, size 20×20 and black joints. Then we can prescribe separately for each café. We can correct the recommendations, but then it will only be so that these things are prescribed in more detail.”
Jakominić reiterates and demands that another meeting will be held in Zagreb today.
“It is happening now that people will drink beer in the park and at the gas station, where there is no control and the damage is done for the wider benefit. We, in catering facilities can influence the conditions under which business takes place. However, we can’t do that in front of the theater.”
‘Those Who Caused The Problems Were Not Punished’
Another disputable measure is, if the guest does not wear a mask or does not adhere to other measures, that the caterer is the one responsible.
“Many of the negotiators accepted the arrangement, and agree with these new measures that it only leaves them room for a certain functioning. Whether it will be somewhere 4 m or 3.20 m, I am sure that the inspectors will not walk around with a meter and measure,” the Assistant Minister of the Interior for Civil Protection Damir Trut, pointed out. He added that the goal is not repression and punishment.
The president of the Association of Caterers of the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County believes that, the problem is that the clubs that did not comply with the measures during the summer were not punished, and everyone was killed as a result.
Covid Stewards in Spaces Over 50 People
On the question about the role of the new Covid Stewards, the Damir Trut replied:
“It is one of the agreements and proposals that came from both sides. Someone, a person working in a facility, who would be specifically assigned to oversee the implementation of measures in spaces where there are more than 50 people. So, the caterer will not fail because of the one who creates the problem. Such people simply should not be served,” the assistant points out.
Record Number of Patients Today
As for the ban on the dance floor at weddings, Capak adds that dancing of newlyweds and parents is allowed, but that the problem was dancing like a car because it was found that then the virus is very easily transmitted.
“We had a lot of weddings in Croatia from which the infection spread. We think it is abnormal not to dance at a wedding, but we do not want exponential growth, which for example happened in the Czech Republic. There, from 500 patients a day, it escalated to 6 thousand in a week. So, it is not a permanent measure. If the situation calms down, of course we will go back, as we opened after the lockdown .
“Today we will have a record number of patients, I can’t say how many, but until last night we had a number that shows that today will be a record,” he concludes.
Later the official numbers in the Past 24 hours for today, October 14, were announced: 748 new cases and a total of 3,210 active cases, a daily record for Croatia since the beginning of the pandemic.