Additional easing of restrictions in hospitality

Ljubljana – Bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve guests indoors across the country and large hotels will be able to offer half their rooms to guests from Monday as part of an easing of restrictions in tourism and hospitality amidst a gradually improving epidemiological situation.

Only guests who have been fully vaccinated, have had Covid-19 in the past six months or have a negative test no older than 48 hours are allowed to be served indoors, the government decided yesterday.

All other restrictions remain in place, including the requirements on the number of people per table an distance among chairs and tables. Like before, establishments may be open from 7am to 7pm.

In the tourism industry, the existing rule where establishments were only allowed to operate up to 30 rooms has been changed and half the rooms may be put to use. Smaller operators with under 60 rooms may use 30.

For establishments offering self-catering apartments, the restriction does not apply at all since they are considered self-contained units where people do not mix.

Hotels and other accommodation facilities reopened at the end of April, but many large hotels in particular chose to remain closed because it was not economical for them to offer only up to 30 rooms to guests.

The industry has been calling on the government to further ease restrictions given that the epidemiological situation is gradually improving. Businesses also argued they can comply with all public health rules even when the number of guests is higher.

Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said yesterday that business chambers had endorsed the changes at a meeting with the government, while the trade union of employees in tourism opposed them.

The Alpine resort of Kranjska Gora welcomed the changes announced during yesterday’s visit by Počivalšek as well, but the head of Turizem Kranjska Gora, Blaž Veber, said the opening of borders with Austria and Italy was even more important, as the majority of guests come from the two countries.

Last year, the season was saved by Slovenian guests using tourist vouchers, while the outlook for this year is much worse, as both demand and bookings are lower than last year, Veber said.