Hospitality workers gathered on Monday in central Banja Luka, Bosnia's second-largest city and administrative centre of Republika Srpska entity, to raise their voice against the new anti-epidemic measures, which include the ban of work of bars and restaurants, while the whole region is facing a dramatic spike in new coronavirus cases and medical staff is warning about possible consequences.
The new measures in this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina tightened measures in response to spiking coronavirus cases, closing for a week the catering facilities serving food and beverages, swimming pools, spa and wellness centres, shopping malls, bet shops and other businesses where direct contact is unavoidable.
The new measures sparked discontent mostly among the hospitality workers, who gathered in a protest, violating the epidemic measure on the ban of public gatherings.
“We want to work,” they chanted as the police were preventing them from reaching the Republika Srpska Palace, the seat of the entity president.
Kordon policije potiskuje građane ispred Palate RS. Policajci su u vise navrata pokušavali usmenim naredbama uticati na građane da se raziđu zbog nepoštovanja epidemioloških mjera. @N1infoSA Policajci:”Odbij!”
Građani:”Hocemo da radimo!” pic.twitter.com/V96eclJ3au
— Snezana Mitrovic (@Snejkicaa) March 22, 2021
And while the bars and restaurant owners protest against the new restrictions, healthcare workers wholeheartedly welcome them.
The health workers said they were disappointed with the protest and called those who took to the streets to join them at hospitals.
“We were often tempted to come to protest in front of your businesses where (anti-epidemic) measures were violated – parties in bars, guests with no masks, no distance and such, but we had no time because we worked, we had to save lives,” said a letter signed by the employees of the University Clinical Centre, Banja Luka's main hospital.
They aslo said they were almost filled to capacity, as more than a half of currently 421 hospitalised patients is connected to oxygen support.
“The health workers are about to collapse and the hospitals are nearly filled to capacities. The medical staff is trying once again to warn about the seriousness of this situation and about the fact that, if the new cases continue increasing, we could come into the situation where the medical treatment cannot be provided in an adequate way both for Covid and non-Covid patients,” they said.