The Czech government will shut most shops and restaurants from 6:00 a.m. on Saturday as part of measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, it said in an overnight statement.
This new measure is scheduled to last until 06:00 on Tuesday, 24 March. Exceptions on the shop ban will include food stores, pharmacies and gas stations.
“The situation is dynamic, we had to make a quick decision to prevent people from going to the shopping centers,” said PM Andrej Babiš. “As for hotels, people should not sit in restaurants,” he added.
The government has also closed restaurants and other foodservice establishments, with the exception of employee catering. Games and casinos will also be closed from 06:00 on Saturday.
Some retail chains are preparing food packages, for elder people and pensioners. The Czech Red Cross could help with the delivery.
Food courts in shopping centers with an area of over 5,000 square meters will also close for 10 days.
Outlets selling the following goods are not affected by the closures:
-Computer and telecommunications equipment, audio and video receivers, consumer electronics, appliances and other household products
-Hygiene goods and cosmetics
-Pharmacies and medical device stores
-Animal feed and other supplies
-Glasses, contact lenses and related goods
-Newspapers and magazines
-Laundries and dry cleaners
-Sales via the internet and other remote means, goods and services predominantly sold or offered by such outlets
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the Czech Republic has now reached 150, with over 4,800 people quarantined. Cases have now been recorded in all regions of the country.