ZAGREB, Sept 10 (Hina) – Over 600 restaurant and cafe owners in Kvarner and Istria today closed their facilities for an hour, starting from 11.55 am, to warn about the difficulties they are facing due to epidemiological restrictions and to ask for assistance in order to survive until the next season.
The association of Kvarner and Istria restaurant and cafe owners, which initiated the campaign held under the slogan “Let us close today to stay open tomorrow”, said that the campaign was successful. The goal was to encourage responsible institutions to urgently take action to preserve jobs in the sector and prevent its collapse.
The head of the above-mentioned association and the deputy head of the national association of restaurant and cafe owners, Vedran Jakominic, said that stakeholders in the hospitality sector were calling for a preferential VAT rate on food and beverages. He also said that they were having difficulties in obtaining loans and that it was necessary to provide stakeholders in the hospitality sector with access to liquidity loans.
“Let us work, pay employees, rents, fees, and taxes because s scorched earth can bear no fruit. We believe that you are doing what you think is right, but let the profession tell you that you have made a mistake,” Jakominic said.
He pointed out that job-retention measures had saved workers in restaurants and cafes from lay-offs but that they had not saved entrepreneurs.
He said that a survey had shown that 60% of stakeholders in the hospitality sector had seen a drop in business of over 50% and 40% estimated that they would not survive until the next season in the current conditions. About 80% will have to cancel employment contracts, said Jakominic, who noted that there could be about 20,000 lay-offs in the hospitality sector.
Maric, Brnjac comment on hospitality businesses’ protest
The tourism and hospitality sector affected by the corona crisis has received support and these measures were recently extended, ministers Zdravko Maric and Nikolina Brnjac said on Thursday, referring to the protest.
Commenting on the hour-long protest by hospitality workers from Istria and Kvarner who demand lower taxes, Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that support measures for tourism and hospitality were extended as that is one of the most recognisable sectors and also one of the most affected sectors along with the transport sector during the corona crisis.
“As far as some other matters are concerned related to tax policy, it always comes down to VAT, however, I reiterate the fact that we have a lower rate for accommodation services, and food delivery and preparation and the only item with the standard 25% VAT rate is for beverages. Circumstances are as they are, and considering all the limits in the budget it is difficult, however, we talked and I think that everyone is aware that the limits are quite severe but that does not mean we are turning our back to hospitality and tourism,” Maric said when asked if further tax reliefs were possible in the hospitality industry.
Maric believes that the corona crisis should have opened our eyes to the importance of self-sufficiency in some segments, particularly regarding food.
Tourism and Sports Minister Nikolina Brnjac commented that everyone has the right to protest.
She too recalled that job keeping measures were recently extended as was measures to ensure liquidity.