Croatia, Montenegro tighten virus rules in tourism season


ZAGREB, Croatia — Croatia and Montenegro have tightened rules against the new coronavirus along the Adriatic Sea coast amid a rise in infections and in an effort to save the summer tourism season.

Croatia said Friday that starting next week the number of people at gatherings will be limited, while Montenegro temporarily closed down night clubs and discotheques.

Tourism is key for the economies in both countries, particularly after a bad season last summer. While vaccination has reached nearly 50% of Croatia’s 4.2 million people and around 36% in Montenegro, a country of 620,000 people, officials say this is far from enough.

Croatia said it would allow only gatherings of up to 50 people without vaccination certificates, while larger events can admit 1,000 people if they show proof of vaccination or negative tests.

Authorities said they have seen a spike in new cases by more than one third since last week, mostly with the highly contagious delta variant. Stricter entry measures have been introduced for visitors from Britain, Cyprus and Russia.

“With these measures, we wish to prevent that countries start introducing restrictions across Europe for people coming back from Croatia,” Interior Minister Davor Božinović said. “I am convinced that with small corrections in our lives, we can achieve good results this season.”

Montenegro said it hopes to reopen nightclubs on Aug. 2 but only for vaccinated guests or those who can prove they have recovered from COVID-19, triggering an outcry from the clubbing industry.

Croatia’s stunning Adriatic Sea coast and islands are a favorite tourism spot for guests from all over Europe. Much smaller Montenegro, located south of Croatia, boasts dozens of sandy beaches along the coast.

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