Kosovo restaurant fills tables with mannequins in virus restrictions protest

The Kosovo government decided earlier this week to close all restaurants during April 7-18.

Mannequins are positioned at the tables of Bagolina eatery restaurant, as a protest against the latest government Covid-19 lockdown measures in Kosovo capital Pristina
Mannequins are positioned at the tables of Bagolina eatery restaurant, as a protest against the latest government Covid-19 lockdown measures in Kosovo capital Pristina

A restaurant in Kosovo’s capital has filled its tables with mannequins in a symbolic protest over the government’s decision to close eateries for two weeks in response to a surge of Covid-19 cases.

Petrit Kllokoqi, owner of Bagolina in Pristina’s city centre, brought in the mannequins at breakfast and lunchtime.

“The government has not shown us any evidence that gastronomy is causing the surge,” Mr Kllokoqi said.

Mannequins are positioned at the tables of Bagolina eatery restaurant, as a protest against the latest government Covid-19 lockdown measures in Kosovo capital Pristina
Mannequins are positioned at the tables of Bagolina restaurant as a protest against the latest Covid-19 lockdown measures in Kosovo capital Pristina (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

The Kosovo government decided earlier this week to close all restaurants during April 7-18.

The order affects about 4,000 restaurants and cafes with some 14,000 employees.

Kosovo’s gross domestic product fell 4.4% last year due to the pandemic, according to preliminary reports from the government and international institutions.

Mannequins are positioned at the tables of Bagolina eatery eatery, as a protest against the latest government Covid-19 lockdown measures in Kosovo capital Pristina
The Kosovo government decided earlier this week to close all restaurants during April 7-18 (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Restaurant owners say financial support the government provided has been inadequate.

Mr Kllokoqi, who is head of the Kosovo Gastronomers Association, said he had already cut his staff to stay in business.

“We can hardly survive like this,” he said.

A cook adjusts a mannequin in the Bagolina eatery restaurant where mannequins replaced customers as a protest against the latest government Covid-19 lockdown measures, in Kosovo capital Pristina
Kosovo started its vaccination drive this month (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

Kosovo, which has a population of about 1.8 million, has reported 96,212 confirmed cases and 1,960 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Officials said hospitals are reaching their full capacity due to a recent surge of about 1,000 new cases a day.

Kosovo started its vaccination drive this month after receiving a first batch of 24,000 AstraZeneca vaccine doses from the World Health Organisation-backed Covax programme.

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