The Association of Hotels and Restaurants has criticized the government for
the manner in which it is handling the coronavirus crisis, saying that the
easing of restrictions imposed is chaotic and the help given entrepreneurs
The government released fresh details of the reopening process on Friday, specifying the conditions which would have to be met for enterprises which can reopen on May 11.
Pubs and restaurants can reopen their outdoor spaces on condition that tables are placed at least 1.5 metres apart, and chairs and tables are disinfected after every client.
Similar conditions will have to be met by hairdressers who will be required to have plastic face shields as well as facemasks.
Political parties are marking May Day online this year in place of the
traditional public events and gatherings that take place on May 1, a public
holiday in the Czech Republic.
Both the ruling and opposition parties have used the occasion to post videos thanking the public and those on the front lines for the discipline and solidarity shown in tackling the coronavirus crisis.
The Social Democrats say it is the common people who are the heroes of the present day.
While the Communist Party and the Freedom and Direct Democracy party have focussed on employment and support for workers on International Workers’ Day, the centre right Civic Democrats, TOP 09 and the Mayors and Independents highlight the fact that May 1, is the 16th anniversary of the country’s membership in the EU.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has risen for three days in a row
following a period of gradual decrease from April 20 to April 27.
April 27 saw an increase of just 41 cases, but the past three days have brought a daily increase, with 103 new cases registered on Thursday. The daily increase in Covid-19 cases had been below 100 in the previous eight days.
The number of people fighting the disease is 4,138 of which 344 are hospitalized. 237 people have died. Over 249,000 people have been tested altogether.
A change in VAT rates on beer which takes effect on May 1, will reduce
value-added tax on draught beer consumed on the pub premises, which has
been moved from the 21-percent to the 10-percent VAT band. According to the
amendment, bottled beer or draft beer sold to-go remains in the 22-percent
The change, which was criticized for being irrational and confusing, is further complicated by the coronavirus restrictions according to which pubs and food stands can sell beer from take-out windows to be consumed at some distance and will be able to open outdoor premises as of May 11th.
The smart quarantine project is to be applied actively nationwide as of May
1st after undergoing a testing period in several regions. It should replace
the broad government imposed restrictions which are being gradually eased.
The plan involves tracing past contacts of people who test positive for the virus five days back by creating “maps of their movements” with the help of banks and mobile phone operators.
All those who they came into contact with will be tested and quarantined until cleared. The plan is being implemented with the help of the army in order to speed up testing.
The president’s chancellor, Vratislav Mynář, has rejected accusations
that the Office of the President is withholding information regarding
pressure to which the late speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera was
subjected in connection with his planned trip to Taiwan.
Mr. Mynář said the matter had been seriously discussed during foreign policy consultations with the president, but dismissed the idea that Mr. Kubera had come under excessive pressure which could have worsened his state of health.
Mr. Kubera’s wife has indicated that the enormous pressure her husband was under, as well as veiled threats believed to have been made by Chinese representatives, led to his early demise due to what is believed to have been a massive heart attack.
Large music festivals which traditionally attract thousands of fans will
not be able to take place until mid-October, Culture Minister Lubomír
Zaorálek said after Thursday’s cabinet session.
The government has proposed an amendment to the law according to which organizers of large cultural events will be able to offer vouchers for future cultural events, instead of reimbursing tickets sold. Cultural events of up to 100 people will be able to take place as of May 11.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the idea of Russia sending
an agent to assassinate Czech politicians is “inconceivable”.
Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow on Thursday, Mr. Lavrov said that if the authorities had information that a given passenger was carrying a deadly poison in his luggage they should have prevented the given individual entering the country.
The Russian foreign minister made the announcement in reference to an article in the weekly Respekt which wrote last week that according to unnamed security sources a Russian agent had allegedly travelled to Prague a few weeks ago with a suitcase containing the highly potent toxin called ricin, possibly to be used against Czech politicians who have angered the Kremlin.
The weekly linked the story to earlier reports that the mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hrib and the mayor of Prague 6 Ondřej Kolář, who ordered the removal of Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev from the district’s premises, had been given police protection.
Minister Lavrov said Moscow was waiting to enter into a dialogue with Prague on the statue’s removal, which they considered a gross violation of the 1993 treaty between the two countries.
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the lower house has criticized the Office
of the President for failing to explain its role in the pressure to which
the late speaker of the Senate Jaroslav Kubera was subjected in connection
with his planned trip to Taiwan.
Mr. Kubera’s wife has indicated that the enormous pressure he was under, as well as veiled threats believed to have been made by Chinese representatives, led to his early demise due to what is believed to have been a massive heart attack.
The Office of the President reportedly handed over to Mr. Kubera a letter from the Chinese ambassador shortly before his death. President Zeman likewise attempted to dissuade Mr. Kubera from making the trip.