Hospitality establishments allowed to serve guests outdoors

Ljubljana – Hospitality establishments across the country can serve guests at their outdoor areas as of today, from 7am to 7pm, as coronavirus restrictions for the hospitality industry are further easing. So far only take-away services have been allowed.

In three yellow regions, which have a better epidemiological situation than the other nine – Obalno-Kraška, Goriška and Pomurje, guests may also be served indoors if they prove they are not infected with the coronavirus.

The relaxation of restrictions follows appeals by businesses for a faster pace of reopening and comes just as the week-long May Day school holiday is starting.

Although businesses welcomed it in principle, they are very critical of the conditions applying to indoor hospitality.

To enter a bar or restaurant, a guest will have to produce a negative test or prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid, which the OZS chamber of small business and the Hospitality and Tourism Trade Union consider unrealistic.

The trade union said in Friday’s statement that “instead of attracting guests, this will drive them away” while such conditions are not necessary to enter any other indoor area.

The trade union is also concerned that the 3-metre distance among tables and the 1.5-metre distance among guests are just as unrealistic and absurd.

Experts and the National Institute of Public Health were thus urged to reconsider conditions for opening hospitality to make them more realistic and acceptable.

It said that despite the easing of restrictions, the current conditions will keep thousands of hospitality workers on furlough.

The union urged the government and the Economy Ministry to open the industry under conditions which will enable workers to return to work.

As the government is preparing the next emergency law, it should rise furlough subsidy from 80% to 100% and change rules on tourist vouchers so that they can also be used at establishments that do not offer accommodation, the union said.

The government approved the latest easing of restrictions earlier this week, and the country shifted from red to orange tier yesterday.

As a result, restrictions on movement between regions were lifted, cinemas and theatres reopened, while public events were scaled back from 100 to 10 people.