Ljubljana Mayor: New Year's Eve Celebrations Uncertain

By , 14 Dec 2021, 16:00 PM Lifestyle
A happier new year in Ljubljana 2018/19 A happier new year in Ljubljana 2018/19 Neža Lostrek

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STA, 14 December 2021 - The city of Ljubljana has its New Year's Eve celebration programme in Congress Square ready, but is still waiting for the health authorities to say in what format, or if at all, it can go ahead with it, Mayor Zoran Janković told the press on Tuesday.

As Ljubljana's 31 December outdoor celebrations always draw thousands of people, the mayor has asked National Institute of Public Health (NIJZ) director Milan Krek two weeks ago whether the celebrations could go ahead.

According to Janković, Krek said yes, telling the mayor the format could be similar to the Ljubljana Festival last summer when there had to be space between chairs.

But since one cannot sit still in winter at -7 degrees Celsius, Janković suggested NIJZ approved a free concert and told the city how many vaccinated and reconvalescent people could attend it, but received no reply.

Janković was also critical of the recent government decision to close stalls serving food and drink at Christmas markets, saying it was a senseless measure.

He also believes there is no legal basis for it, and said that one of the Ljubljana public utilities had already filed a lawsuit against the government.

He moreover criticised Prime Minister Janez Janša for posting an "offensive" tweet in which he accused Janković of working hard for as many people as possible to fall ill and for schools, kindergartens and shops to close, as he posted a video of people walking around the stalls by the river Ljubljanica.

Janković said that Ljubljana had many visitors, who were now crowding in a smaller area than before, when the stalls had been still open. He believes it would be "more normal" to send out a positive message along the lines "light is coming, let's get vaccinated".

He thus urged all unvaccinated Ljubljana residents to get a jab, arguing some 10% of the city's population is preventing the rest to live normally.

Quoting NIJZ data, he said Ljubljana has the highest vaccination rate (59%) in central Slovenia, the region with the highest vaccination rate in the country (57.5%), while another 18% of Ljubljana residents are reconvalescents.

"If we add the number of vaccinated to the number of reconvalescents, we get 77%, and if we add another 40,000 school and kindergarten kids, who account for 13% of our residents, we are at 90%," the mayor said.

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