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Outdoor catering spaces reopen in two regions of Slovenia

Outdoor catering spaces reopen in two regions of Slovenia

The one-week trial will be strictly regulated

Today, 8 March, restaurants and bars in two regions of Slovenia - Posavje and South-East Slovenia – are opening terraces and gardens after a recess which has lasted longer than four months. During a one-week trial period, the catering establishments will serve customers outdoors, while following the instructions of the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ).

Both regions now in the yellow tier

While most of Slovenia has dropped down to the orange tier of restrictions, both regions currently have even lower numbers of infections and hospitalizations that place them in the yellow tier, where serving customers outdoors is permitted.

Increase in local infection numbers or flagrant violations of the applicable rules will lead to the closure of the premises again, warned Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek. The catering establishments’ performance will be assessed by the government next week, when a decision will be made to prolong or suspend the service.

"I appeal to both caterers and guests: let's act responsibly and respect the measures so that we can return to normal life as soon as possible," Počivalšek emphasized, quoted by RTV Slovenia.

Strict rules in place

The reopening is subject to strict NIJZ regulations. Service will only be possible between 6am and 7pm. Tables will have to be set three metres apart. The maximum number of guests will depend on the size of the terrace or garden. No more than four guests will be allowed at one table and they must sit 1.5 m from each other.

Restaurant staff and guests will be required to wear masks at all times, except when sitting at a table. Employees will need to be tested once a week for coronavirus infection; exceptions apply to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease and have an appropriate medical certificate.

Patrons are required to disinfect their hands when entering and exiting the terrace or garden and staff must disinfect the tables before each change of guests. It will also be necessary to use disposable spice packages instead of permanent containers.   

A breath of fresh air

As movement between Slovenian municipalities has been restored, all wine and dine enthusiasts (except residents of the Obalno-kraška region, which is in the red tier) are free to visit Posavje and South-East Slovenia. Local catering businesses will thus take a breath of fresh air, given that restaurants throughout the country had to suspend on-site service on 23 October last year and switch to takeaways and home deliveries. 

All the while, there has been a provision allowing caterers to serve lunch to employees of companies with which they had a contract, informs RTV Slovenia. So, restaurateurs blame the government that it has been reluctant to give this opportunity much publicity, depriving them of revenue in a time of unprecedented crisis.

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