At the request of regional governors, government declares 14-day state of emergency

At an extraordinary meeting on Sunday, 14 February 2021, the government of Andrej Babiš declared a state of emergency for the Czech Republic due to the spread of the SARS CoV-S coronavirus. It comes into effect on at midnight from the 14th to 15th February and will last 14 days, until 28 February. It thus follows on from the state of emergency which expires at midnight on 14 February.

The declaration of a new state of emergency was requested from the government by the Association of the Regions of the Czech Republic, following a series of meetings. In the opinion of the regional governors the declaration of a state of emergency is key to managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I have good news, and that is that the government, on the basis of negotiations with the governors, has declared a state of emergency from Monday on the basis of different facts than those governing the situation that has applied until today midnight. I am very pleased that common sense has prevailed over the politicking we have experienced in the Chamber. I thank all the governors who have understood that it is very important that we cooperate and do our utmost to protect the lives of our citizens”, said Prime Minister Babiš. “Ending the state of emergency would de facto mean a relaxation, and we really cannot afford that”, said the Prime Minister.

At the same time, the government re-announced government crisis measures and signed off on Ministry of Health measures which had hitherto been linked to the duration of the state of emergency. In comparison to the anti-epidemic measures in force under the current state of emergency, there have been only a few minor adjustments and changes.

In the measure limiting the operation of retail sales and services the government from Monday has now limited the operation of libraries so that they will be able to serve readers by issuing pre-ordered loans and returning them through the dispensing window or contact-free. The use of a respirator without exhalation valve of at least class FFP2 or KN95 is recommended for any handover of book loans which is not contact-free. It will also be possible to provide accommodation to those who are being accommodated in order to receive medical services, and those who need to accompany them.

In a measure restricting free movement there are new exceptions for travel for the purposes of elections and meetings of the statutory bodies of legal entities. In the event that more than ten persons participate in such elections or meetings, they must wear as a minimum a surgical mask, observe social distancing and prove a negative test result. With certain exceptions, no more than 50 people may attend such meetings.

The government has also decided to revoke restrictions on the business hours of public authorities and administrative bodies. It remains the case that authorities should limit work to strictly necessary agendas and keep personal contact between employees and the general public to a minimum. In education the option has been added of holding panel resit and replacement examinations in secondary schools and conservatories. Changes have also made to the protective measure of the Ministry of Health regulating entry into the Czech Republic. These concern, for example, professional sportsmen and women and representatives and workers in critical infrastructure.