Bars, restaurants, clothing stores and hair salons reopen
Ljubljana, 4 May - After weeks of closure due to the Covid-19 epidemic in Slovenia, hair and beauty salons, non-grocery stores, but above all bars and restaurants, opened again on Monday. Adhering to contagion prevention measures, Slovenians are very happy to be able to have their coffee at their favourite place or have their hair done.
But while hair and beauty salons are booked weeks in advance and bars and restaurant terraces were quite lively today, buyers seemed reluctant about shopping for clothes and shoes.
Most bars and restaurants that opened today reduced the number of tables so as to allow enough room among customers. Patrons must not be served inside, thus only bars with terraces have been able to reopen.
According to servers and bar owners from across the country, most customers are locals and had stopped by for a coffee, cake or ice cream. Many also bought ice cream to go.
Jani Kovačič, a restaurant owner in the lake-side resort of Bled, told the STA he was happy with the first day of business, expressing hope that business would continue this way in the future, a sentiment echoed by a number of other bar and restaurant owners and servers.
During the lockdown, Kovačič's restaurant, like many across the country, launched a delivery service and took orders to-go. Moreover, it also provided food for the those in need, distributing nearly 1,000 hot meals.
The Chamber of Small Business and Craft (OZS) highlighted some of the problems bars and restaurants are facing and said that only about half of all bars and restaurants decided to open today.
The OZS called on the National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) to revise instructions, under which only members of the same household can sit at the same table.
The OZS has said that this is Blaž Cvar of the OZS, himself a bar owner, has said it is impossible for the serving staff to know whether the persons sitting at a table were members of the same household.
Moreover, under the rules, workers from the same company who commute together, which has been allowed in Slovenia during the epidemic, would have to sit at different tables.
Waiters must wear protective face masks, and so do hair dressers and sales staff. Meanwhile, beauticians are required to wear not only a face mask, but visors as well.
The number of clients in hair and beauty salons has been limited to the ones being served, while the rest must wait outside until it is their turn. As most salons have a booking system in place, none of those who spoke to the STA reported problems in this respect.
Daša, a hair salon owner from Celje, told the STA that it was not easy to work with the face mask, adding however, that luckily, this was less problematic for the customers, who are able to remove their masks.
The mandatory disinfection between customer, however, means that it takes her a longer time to see the next customer, she said.
Today also marked the reopening of non-grocery stores in Slovenia. While many still remain closed, those that did open were mainly sports goods stores, clothing and footwear stores and book stores.
None reported major crowds, and many said customers seem to be wary and uncertain about restrictions imposed to fight the epidemic. Some stores shut off their fitting rooms, introducing instead a 30-day return policy. Customers were however allowed to try on shoes, however not without socks.