After a month of tightening lockdowns across Europe to combat coronavirus, the Czech Republic will in the coming weeks become one the first European countries to loosen restrictions on daily life and business.
According to Vojtěch, the plan is for some non-essential shops and DIY shops to reopen withing the end of April. They would then be followed by shopping malls and hairdressers, where there is a high concentration of people and thus a greater risk of coronavirus transmission.
Czech’s health ministry says the rate of new infections has fallen significantly, and he wants to ‘gradually and cautiously return to normality after Easter’ as long as ‘we all remain disciplined during Easter week’.
‘The aim is to open first smaller shops up to 200 square metres, under strict security conditions of course,’ Minister of Industry Karel Havlicek (ANO) said at a press conference. Customers will be required to wear masks when shops re-open.
“The Czech borders will not open completely in the coming months,” said the Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch (ANO) on Czech Television. “It is certainly not a matter of weeks, maybe not even months.”
From Tuesday, 14 April, the current ban on traveling out of the Czech Republic will be relaxed slightly. Besides cross-border commuters and other individuals already excepted from this ban, people who can prove that it is essential for them to travel abroad for business or personal reasons will also be allowed to travel outside the country.
They are to have as little personal contact as possible while they are abroad, and upon returning to the Czech Republic they will have to undergo a health check and quarantine.
The Czech Republic – along with Poland and Slovakia – were the first countries in the EU to close their borders in response to the pandemic.
Prague City Hall intends to allow retailers to display and sell their products, directly from sidewalks immediately outside of their shop fronts free of charge.
Restaurants will be allowed to operate within a limited time per day. Extending the opening hours until evening and night will be allowed by the government in a second phase.
Colors of Ostrava and Rock for People, two of the biggest Czech festivals, will probably be postponed or cancelled. “We have to be stricter regarding big summer festivals,” said Vojtěch.
For smaller concerts and other cultural events with less than 100 people, however, we could be a permit during the summer real.