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Slovaks are buying Christmas gifts during lockdown in the neighbourhoods

Slovaks are buying Christmas gifts during lockdown in the neighbourhoods

“It is a tragedy for us before Christmas. Every year, I make the highest sales every year,” said Peter, a toy store owner in Bratislava’s Rochynov district. Traders had hoped to recall or reduce losses from previous waves of the epidemic before Christmas. They could forget that.

However, Petra is very upset by the fact that large retail chains, which serve food in addition to food, have remained open. “I went to see one of the chains and they still sell toys there, for example. We are close to the border with Hungary. So it annoys me that Slovaks go abroad for shopping before Christmas.”

just crying eyes

His words were confirmed by a view of the parking lot in front of shopping centers in the Hungarian cities of Budapest, Gyor and Miskolc. It was filled with cars with Slovak license plates. “They closed everything with us, so we came here to shop. I also refuel, because gasoline is much cheaper in Hungary,” says Ondrej of Rimavska Sobota, who was shopping in Miskolc.

The Hungarian website reported that residents of southern Slovakia are mostly buying gifts this year in Hungary. “They mostly take clothes, cosmetics, toys and electronics. It helps our local merchants,” confirmed Katalin Neubauerova of the Hungarian Traders Union.

Daniel Krakowski, head of the Slovak Retailers Initiative, has called for immediate compensation to merchants. He warns that after agreeing to the shutdown, entrepreneurs must know immediately how the state will compensate them. “The Czech Republic has not closed the shops, but entrepreneurs can now ask for support. Austria has embarked on a very cost-effective model of reimbursement based on falling sales. We only have eyes to cry and empty bills with us.”

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bad numbers

The lockdown was originally announced for two weeks, but Health Minister Vladimir Lingvarsky has already indicated that it could potentially be extended. The negative trend is reflected in the increasing number of people infected with the Covid-19 virus, especially the number of victims, which is the highest these days since March of this year.

Slovakia recorded 85 deaths on Tuesday and more than 100 deaths on Wednesday. Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, 14,606 people have tested positive for the virus in the country. Slovak hospitals are currently facing an influx of patients with coronavirus, more than 80 percent of whom have not been vaccinated. The country is among the least vaccinated in Europe, with only 45 percent of those vaccinated.

Experts predict that the number of infected people will continue to increase, even though the lockdown has limited the movement of people in mass vehicles and passenger car traffic has also decreased by 11 per cent. So far, however, the number of people in hospitals is still on the rise. “The situation at the moment is as bad as at the top of the second wave, if not worse,” said Jan Pasek, a hospital spokesman in Novi Zamki. It will be possible to estimate the further development of the trend in the number of hospitalized patients only two weeks after the closure.