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Bars, restaurants in Posavje, SE Slovenia start serving outdoors

Ljubljana, 8 March - Bars and restaurants in two eastern regions, Posavje and South-east Slovenia, are once again allowed to serve food and drinks outdoor. Proprietors are happy that they may welcome patrons back, but are not pleased at all with the fact that this is only the beginning of the one-week trial period.

Novo Mesto
Bars and restaurants in the eastern regions of Posavje and South-east Slovenia start serving food and drinks outdoors.
Photo: Rasto Božič/STA

While Slovenia is in the orange tier of restrictions, both regions had figures last week that placed them firmly in the milder, yellow tier, where serving customers outdoor is allowed, so the government decided to temporarily allow bars and restaurants to reopen there.

Guests are served outdoors between 6am and 7pm and they will have to leave the establishment by 7:30pm.

If the number of infections increases, or if inspectors detect major violations, the government will close the bars and restaurants again.

Proprietors had to slash the capacities of their establishments to meet the safety requirements but are happy to be back in business. However, they do not like the idea of a one-week trial period.

"We had to organise, buy everything needed and get ready," Luka Retar, a proprietor from Novo Mesto told the STA. "I don't think it's right for the entire burden coming with a shut-down to fall on our backs again. We've almost had enough."

Rok Klobučar, another proprietor from Novo Mesto, said guests came in immediately after the opening this morning. He expressed satisfaction that bars have reopened and that staff is no longer on furlough.

He believes, however, that the one-week trial period is too short a time to show results. He believes a 14-day period would be more sensible, warning also that the number of infections may increase again due to other reasons, not bars opening.

Customers have to wear masks at all times, except when they are seated at their table, and staff will have to wear masks at all times and get tested for coronavirus weekly. Those vaccinated against coronavirus and those who have recovered from the disease will be exempted from the testing requirement.

Tables have to be three metres apart and no more than four guests are allowed at each table. The number of guests is also restricted based on the size of the terrace or garden. Guests are allowed to go inside only to use the toilet.

Since travel between municipalities is not restricted any more except for the Obalno-Kraška region, which is in the red tier, patrons from around the country will be able to wine and dine outdoors.

Slovenian restaurants have been closed for indoor service since mid-October. Both bars and restaurants were able to offer take-away service, and, since last month, restaurants were allowed to serve B2B guests indoors.

© STA, 2021