Zagreb, Feb 3 (efe-epa).- Thousands of small business owners and workers in sectors that have been forced to close because of the coronavirus pandemic protested in the center of Zagreb on Wednesday to call for the reopening of their businesses.
“We ask that they stop discriminating against us and start a gradual reopening, given the favorable epidemiological situation,” said Hrvoje Bujas, president of the Croatian Entrepreneurs (UGP).
“If we must stay closed, they should propose a compensation plan. We have never seen this plan,” he said.
The demonstrators urged the government to cover the costs for companies that have suffered losses of up to 60 percent because of the pandemic, providing “Covid credits” with interest rates of 0.25 percent and the payment of minimum wages for their employees, among other measures.
The demonstrators argue that many of the restrictions that have been imposed discriminate against certain types of businesses.
Cafes, for instance, are barred from selling any drinks, even for takeaway services, but bakeries, gas stations and large supermarkets can. Gyms and sporting centers, meanwhile, have been forced to close but beauty spas have been allowed to stay open.
Despite the improving epidemiological situation, which has triggered calls for the restrictions to be eased, interior minister Davor Bozinovic rejected the demands, pointing to countries like Portugal and Ireland that reopened too early and have gone on to suffer even more damaging effects of the pandemic. EFE-EPA