BARDHA NERGJONI

Elbasan reports a minimal number of vaccinated tourism staff, even though the vaccination process in this district started in May 1st. Hotel owners admit that a part of the staff are informal employees and they step back when they have to send lists for the vaccination process, since they are not registered for tax. Formalization, they say, would burden them with costs they can’t afford at a time when the pandemic crisis continues to hit tourism.

On April 15th, the Minister of Health Ogerta Manastirliu announced the launch of the

vaccination process for hotel  and tourism employees.

The vaccination process for tour operators started on April 18th in Durrës and was extended to other cities for this category.

This process also began in the region of Elbasan, one of the most frequented areas due to its curative tourism.

On a social media post, the Chairman of the SP Parliamentary Group, Taulant Balla, announced on May 1 the beginning of the vaccination process for 800 hotel employees in the thermal springs’ area.

“Together with Desantila and Xhevahir we witnessed today the beginning of the vaccination process of the hotel staff in the area of ​​thermal springs in Tregan, Elbasan.

The process will include approximately 40 hotels and will guarantee vaccines for over 800 employees of their staff”.

But from the information we have been provided by the local directorate of health care we have learned that the number of vaccinated hotel staff in this unit is very low. It is officially confirmed that until May 21, 2021 the number of vaccinated persons in the tourism sector in Elbasan who have received the first dose is only 19 people, or an average of 1 person vaccinated per day.

According to the directors of the health sector, the low number of vaccinations in this sector is due to the fact that hotel owners or administrators have to submit to the Directorate of Health Care the list of people to be vaccinated as registered in the tax register.

“We are open to vaccinating hotel staff, but the administrators themselves must prepare the lists and submit them to us. They are responsible for the legitimacy of these lists”- stated for Faktoje Xhevahir Budani, Director of the Regional Directorate of Health Care.

A hotel owner in the thermal springs’ area who wishes to remain anonymous stated for Faktoje that they have not declared employees they have had during this season to the tax register.

“Last year we didn’t have any clients in May and September, which is known to be one of the most populated periods. We had very few visitors. This way it was impossible for us to pay insurance for our employees when we had no visitors, that is why all our employees should have been part of the massive vaccination process without the condition of them being registered for tax”- he stated for Faktoje.

Meanwhile Anita Tashi, a 50 year old employee who works as a cleaning lady in one of the hotels in thermal spings area, states that she still hasn’t gone back to work for the season because her bosses have requested she gets vaccinated first.

“I must get vaccinated so that they can at least hire me back in September. The government should do something to help, otherwise I will be out of a job”- she states for Faktoje.

Other tourist destinations such as Gjinar, hotels in Elbasan and Belsh have yet to benefit from the vaccination process, whereas on May 23th the Municipality of Elbasan will officially give start to the tourist season, which is based on curative, natural and cultural heritage tourism.

Currently 30 thousand people have received the first dose of the vaccine in the region of Elbasan. 11494 persons have received the second dose of the vaccine in the Municipalities of Elbasan, Cërrik and Belsh.  The largest number of vaccinated among the professions is occupied by the medical staff followed by teachers, where the first dose was taken by 1222 people while the second dose was received only by 2 of the total number.

It is reported that in the district of Elbasan, most of the vaccinated persons have received the CoronaVac vaccine, which was absent for several days, until the arrival of the contingent of 60 thousand doses last weekend.