From: Die Morina van Uijtregt
Thousands Flock to Albania on First Weekend of Pandemic Restrictions in Kosovo

Tens of thousands of peope drove from Kosovo to Albania for the weekend, only a few days after authorities imposed restrictions on bars and restaurants in the country. The government claims it’s not directly related to the new measures it put in place last week to curb the spread of the virus.

The number of those travelling to Albania stands at 29 thousand, according to official sources, and it came on the first weekend after the new government of Albin Kurti decided to close down a number of activities and businesses, including bars and restaurants, citing high infection rates. The latter can only operate with take away orders, from April 7-18.

However, a spokesperson for the Kosovo government, Perparim Kryeziu said that although the large number of citizens going to Albania may have been influenced by last week’s measures, “that is not the only reason”.

He argued that official data shows this is not a new trend when compared to the same season before the pandemic.

“As for comparison, in 2019, when there was no pandemic at all, on a comparable weekend like the one on April 27, 28 and 29, which due to Orthodox Easter was a prolonged weekend with warm weather like this weekend, about 30 thousand people were registered to have left the country to Albania,” Kryeziu wrote on Facebook.

“This proves that this weekend’s influx, however it may have been influenced, was not caused by the measures against COVID-19, imposed from April 7,” he notes.

The spokesperson added that citizens have the right to travel according to their needs, respecting restrictive measures in the host country, and those in Kosovo upon return.

Restaurant owners in Kosovo warned that they will protest in case the government extends restrictions beyond April 18.