Face masks will not be obligatory outdoors after May 25 on condition that
people can maintain the social distance requirements of two metres, Health
Minister Adam Vojtěch reported after Monday’s government session.
Face masks will remain obligatory in shops and institutions and closed public spaces with a high risk of transmission such as public transport or taxis.
Vojtěch said the regulation according to which shops, post offices and other services are reserved for people over the age of 65 from 8am till 10am every day, will remain in place for the time being.
Monday has brought a major loosening of coronavirus restrictions in the
Czech Republic, with shops and services, galleries, cinemas, pubs and
restaurants reopening after a break of two months.
Shopping centres, hairdressers, massage and wellness salons have been allowed to reopen under strict hygiene conditions. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are now able to serve clients in outdoor spaces.
Schools have reopened to students facing entrance exams, with a maximum of 15 students in the classroom.
Masses and weddings of up to 100 people are allowed and the country’s castles and chateaus are reopening their doors to visitors.
The government-ordered mandatory service for some medical students in state
run hospitals, old age homes and emergency services ended on Monday, May
The compulsory character of the service stemmed from the state of emergency in the country, and concerned students in their last year of medical school who were asked to assist staff during the coronavirus crisis.
In reality many more than those addressed signed up to help on a voluntary basis in order to be useful and gain experience.
Altogether over 5,500 medical students from faculties around the country helped out, conducting blood tests, questioning patients in a pre-selection process and serving on info lines.
Hotels and accommodation facilities report a steep drop in profit in the
first quarter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of guests in Czech hotels, boarding houses and camps reached 3.1 million in the first quarter, largely thanks to visitors who arrived in the first two months of the year, before the coronavirus restrictions closed accommodation facilities.
This represents a 22.2 percent drop compared to the same period last year. The number of overnight stays decreased by 16.7 percent year on year to 8.9 million.
The number of German visitors dropped by 17.4 percent as compared to the same period last year, the number of Polish tourists was down by 15 percent, the number of Italians visiting dropped by 40 percent and the number of Chinese and South Korean visitors was down by a half.
According to epidemiologists the biggest danger for a possible setback
currently lies in the reopening of shopping malls, due to the large amount
of people who pass through them daily and the air-conditioning system, and
The government has given operators the green light to renew international rail, road and water transport as of Monday, May 11 and Prague’s main international airport is also renewing some air links.
Czech citizens may now travel abroad for “substantiated reasons“ such as work, to visit relatives or for medical care.
People travelling abroad will have to produce a negative COVID 19 test upon their return or undergo a two week quarantine.
Twenty-eight new coronavirus cases were registered in the country on
Sunday, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 8,123, according
to Czech Health Ministry statistics.
The number of newly registered cases per day has remained under 100 for ten days now.
280 people have died, 4,474 have recovered from the disease. 239 people are currently hospitalized with COVID 19, 40 of them are in serious condition.
The government will consider downgrading the regulation on compulsory face
masks in public to a mere recommendation, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš told
Prima Television on Sunday. Face masks would remain obligatory in closed
public spaces with a high risk of transmission such as public transport.
The debate on when Czechs will be able to stop wearing face masks has gained intensity with the warmer weather.
According to health ministry officials the plans were to lift this restriction in mid-June, but experts have increasingly criticized the order for people to wear masks outdoors.
The prime minister also said the government was not planning to ask the lower house to extend the state of emergency beyond May 17.
The ruling ANO party of Prime Minister Andrej Babišs would currently win
general elections, with 34 percent of the vote, followed by the centre
right Pirate Party with 16 percent and the Civic Democrats with 11.5
percent of the vote.
Five other parties would cross the 5 percent threshold needed to get seats in the lower house; the Freedom and Direct Democracy Party would get 7 percent, TOP 09 would get 6.5 percent, and the Social Democrats, a junior party in the ruling coalition, the Communist Party and the Party of Mayors and Independents would each get 5.5 percent of the vote.