Most Stores to Close for October 28

October 28 is Independent Czechoslovak State Day, and most large stores over 200 square meters will close due to the law passed in 2016.

Pharmacies, gas stations, and stores in airports, hospitals and train stations are not included in the law. Stores under 200 square meters, such as local grocery stores, can also remain open.

Violators of the law can face fines up to Kč 1 million, and some fines have been levied in the past.

This year is the 104th anniversary of the establishment of the First Republic of Czechoslovakia in 1918. There are a few celebrations planned, such as a ceremony at the National Monument in Vítkov at 10 am.

Independent Czechoslovak State Day marks when the newly created Czechoslovakia broke away from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the closing days of World War I.

Bohemia and Moravia had been ruled by Austrian while Slovakia was controlled from Hungary.

Nationalist movements began in the middle of the 18th century. Despite some cultural and linguistic differences, Bohemia, Moravia and Slovakia decided to join together. Secret talks to create the country took place with the support of the Allied forces in the US, Britain and France.

The Czechoslovak Declaration of Independence was drafted in October 1918 in Washington, D.C., and is sometimes called the Washington Declaration (Washingtonská deklarace). It was signed by Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, Milan Rastislav Štefánik and Edvard Beneš.

Independence was proclaimed in Wenceslas Square in Prague on Oct. 28, 1918. Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk became the first president.

The law concerning the closure of stores also covers three Christmas holidays (stores close at noon on Dec. 24 and remain closed on Dec. 25 and 26), New Year’s Day on Jan. 1, Easter Monday, Liberation Day on May 8, and Czech Statehood Day (St. Wenceslas Day).

Other holidays such as Good Friday, Labor Day on May 1, Saints Cyril and Methodius Day and Jan Hus Day on July 5 and 6 and Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day on Nov. 17 are not included.

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