In the upper part of Wenceslas Square, Christmas markets continue despite the government ban.
The Prague 1 office authorized them as a “cultural event”, said Petr Bidlo, a spokesman for the city district, adding that “according to the organizers, all necessary anti-epidemic measures were observed”.
“The Office has approved the markets as a cultural event, and therefore they take place under that regime,” Bidlo said on Monday.
According to the organizers, drinks and food are served only for take away and the staff warns visitors that they should not consume them on the spot.
“I fully understand the seriousness of the situation, I myself comply with all anti-pandemic measures and I ask all citizens to do the same. However, I consider the ban on Christmas markets to be huge nonsense. Farmers’ markets, for example, can continue to operate,” Hejma wrote on Facebook
Mayor Hřib said on Monday that the city can influence sales only through a special decree. It determines where and what can be sold in public places in Prague.
According to that, only the lower part of Wenceslas square is explicitly mentioned as a place for Christmas markets.
“Even in an emergency, the mayor does not have the power to suspend the market regulations or adjust them more quickly. Some operators are switching by converting to a cultural event, others have decided not to go for it,” he said.
The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency on Thursday, closing Christmas markets as well as nightclubs in a bid to stem COVID-19 infections.
The ban concerns all salespeople with the exception of those selling Christmas trees and carp.
Other new restrictions limit the number of spectators at cultural and sports events to 1,000 people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19, or only 100 visitors, down from 1,000.