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Masks mandatory in outdoor spaces in Zagreb, city headquarters propose

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(Photo: HINA/ Edvard ŠUŠAK/)

ZAGREB, 31 March 2021 – On Wednesday, 2,623 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in Croatia, 451 cases out of the total were registered in the city of Zagreb where new restrictions are set to come into force.


Mask are mandatory in all closed spaces where gatherings take place and, according to a proposal, masks will have to be also worn in all open spaces. 

Head of the Zagreb coronavirus response team, Zvonimir Šostar, said that there would be no exceptions, daily Večernji list reported. 

“There are no exceptions. So far it has been if distance cannot be kept. It is now mandatory everywhere in the open,” he said.

When asked about those sitting on the terraces of the cafes, he said. “When they drink, they can remove the mask, and then return it immediately.”

How will citizens who do not wear masks be punished?

“This is not a repressive measure. It is important that we all understand and accept the measures adopted by the City of Zagreb Headquarters. We will do everything to be at the service of citizens and we will try to have enough protective masks. This is a measure in the interest and protection of all of us. We must be aware that repression has never yielded results. It will be used if the warning is not enough. Penalties will be imposed on the basis of the law,” said Željko Renić from the municipal security team.

The recommendation was met with raised eyebrows at the national coronavirus response team press conference which followed. Krunoslav Capak, head of the Croatian Institute for Public Health, said there is no need to wear a mask in the open space if you are alone.

“The measure of wearing masks outdoors refers to places where there are a lot of people, on the market, on the waterfront, and I believe that the Zagreb proposal will be logical,” said Capak.

He said he would need to take a detailed look at the proposal before commenting further.

Meanwhile, constitution expert Mato Palić told Radio Sljeme that if it is mandatory to wear protective masks in the open in Zagreb, as requested by the City Civil Protection Headquarters, the Constitutional Court will most likely revoke such a decision.

“It cannot be the same kind of obligation in both open and closed spaces if there is no solid evidence that the virus is spreading at the same speed both outdoors and indoors, claims Palić.

New nationwide measures were also confirmed today, including indoor training being forbidden, except for professionals, and also the reduction of working hours of workshops and playrooms. 

Gyms will remain open. 

The head of the national coronavirus response team, Davor Božinović, also announced new measures at the border.

“A temporary ban on crossing the border has also been introduced. Rapid antigen tests will be recognised for entry. People can also enter with proof of being vaccinated or recovering from COVID-19. The border crossing has been arranged due to tourism, and exceptions now include digital nomads and children up to the age of seven,” Božinović said.

The measures remain in effect until 15 April when they will be assessed again.

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