The National Association of Caterers on the eve of the upcoming weekend, on the occasion of the latest decision of the Civil Protection Headquarters on limiting the working hours of bars, calls on all caterers to, as always, adhere to all measures and recommendations prescribed by the epidemiological services and the Headquarters. “It is unfair that today caterers who operated in accordance with all prescribed measures, as well as the entire region without increasing the number of infected, such as Istria and Kvarner, are punished for omissions in several clubs. We oppose the limitation of working hours, as the bars include too many restaurants, ranging from quiet cafe bars on the beach in Istria to the largest clubs on the Adriatic. Our suggestion is that each club or other facility specified as a hotspot be immediately temporarily closed for 14 days with testing of all employees”, Says Marin Medak, president of the National Association of Caterers. A big problem of Croatian bars is the high value added tax, which is calculated on the service of drinks and beverages at a rate of 25 percent, to which the local government most often adds a consumption tax. At the same time, in the Mediterranean countries, drinks and beverages are taxed at significantly lower VAT rates, and some countries are now cutting up to 5% VAT in catering due to the coronavirus epidemic and subsidizing the consumption of citizens in catering facilities. However, accepting the epidemiological reality, the Association must emphasize that the decision was made without respecting the hospitality profession and the specifics of the work of a wide category of diverse facilities that fall under the bars. The National Association of Caterers makes its professional capacities available to the Civil Protection Headquarters and calls for dialogue As always, the National Association of Caterers makes its professional capacities available to the Civil Protection Headquarters and calls for dialogue with the aim of preserving the health of Croatian citizens and the business of economic entities. For the caterers, these ten days of working time restrictions will not mean too much, most of us have already failed financially, Medak points out and adds: “We are facing a catastrophe for caterers and a tragedy for their employees, mostly young people who will look for their happiness outside Croatia after losing their jobs. The only chance to survive and look forward to the next season, which may be better, is to speed up the lending to caterers for liquidity through HBOR and HAMAG BICRO and to enable us to make that money through a lower VAT rate on beverages we will return in the future”, Concludes Medak. The National Association of Caterers also called for more frequent inspections and penalties for caterers who do not adhere to epidemiological measures, as such caterers harm the public health and business of all those who consistently implement the measures.