Despite Montenegro still remaining a coronavirus-free state as of Tuesday amid the global pandemic, the country is taking serious precautionary measures to prevent disease spread, with supermarkets elevating health safety practices, borders closing, and the hospitality industry shutting its doors to business.
There have been changes in both consumer and staff behaviour in supermarkets in Podgorica, Montenegro’s capital, with some shoppers wearing face masks and all checkout attendants wearing gloves and masks.
A sign has also been placed at the entry point to cash registers in supermarket chain Voli this week, urging customers to adhere to the mandatory social distancing rules.
A pharmacist working in Podgorica told the Sarajevo Times they do not have any masks in stock and are unsure when they will be able to receive another shipment.
“We don’t have any masks…the EU has stopped exporting them,” he explained.
This week, the Montenegrin government closed its borders to foreigners in an effort to prevent the spreading of COVID-19, with the exemption of temporary or permanent residents of Montenegro, and couriers delivering goods from other nations.
Cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs are also closed indefinitely.
Danilo Micunovic, manager of Hotel Sokoline, a luxury hotel near Niksic, which closed on Monday as a preemptive decision, told the Sarajevo Times they hope Montenegro continues to stay free of the coronavirus.
“We took preventive measures and closed the Hotel Sokoline as of 16th March.
“We do feel good about the fact that Montenegro is the last country in Europe free of COVID-19. Indeed we hope it will stay this way in the future,” he said.
Vera, a tour guide in Montenegro, told the Sarajevo Times she is making an effort to remain composed and adhere to government health advice.
“We are trying to stay calm and follow suggestions on how to avoid the virus,” she said.
“Of course the situation is pretty scary, but we hope that the danger will pass soon, without victims.
“Wish good luck to Bosnia too,” Vera added.
Written by Miya Yamanouchi for the Sarajevo Times