From Tuesday, self-payers may stay at spas, on Monday, restaurants open outdoor seating and cultural life resumes, government approved

Another wave of lifting the epidemic control restrictions is awaiting the Czech Republic on Monday, 17 May. The proposal of the relevant extraordinary measures of the Ministry of Health was approved by the government of Andrej Babiš at its meeting on Monday, 10 May 2021.

Small modifications to the measures will take effect tomorrow already. Work can be resumed by tattoo makers and similar tradespeople whose service includes breaking the integrity of client’s skin, under the same conditions applicable so far to other body care services. Spa stays will be offered also to net self-payers and, newly, the stay will be permitted on the basis of a POC antigen test only.

A greater easement will be issued in a week’s time, on Monday, 17 May. Restaurants will be allowed to open their outdoor seating, provided the set rules are observed. The seating capacity at tables will be restricted and all customers must demonstrate a COVID-19 negative test, vaccination or recovery within the last 90 days. Meals and drinks may be consumed in marketplaces from 17 May.

The first cultural events will be launched, outdoor ones for up to 700 seated spectators, at maximum filling 50 percent of the auditorium capacity, and even those will have to demonstrate a COVID-19 negative test, vaccination or recovery, and will have to wear a breathing protection during the performance. The government adopted a resolution stating that if the current trend of declining numbers of new COVID-19 cases continues, indoor cultural events will be permitted from 24 May for up to 500 spectators and outdoor events for up to a thousand persons.

Details on the gradual easement in the cultural sector are available in the v press release of the Ministry of Culture (in Czech language). Similarly, zoos or botanical gardens can raise their capacity to a half of the maximum number of visitors. As of the same date, the restrictions on club, sports, dance and other organised events will be partially lifted, enabling them to be attended by up to fifty persons outdoors or ten indoors, under the usual anti-epidemic conditions.

On Monday, 17 May, the ban on visits in acute health care facilities will be cancelled. The visitors will be subject to the same rules that apply to visitors in long-term care facilities or in hospices. The current limitation to the provision of social services will also be lifted.

Restrictions will be further eased on 17 May also in schools. The weekly rotating in-person attendance will end for the lower primary schools. The rotating attendance will be cancelled for upper primary schools and lower levels of multi-year grammar schools and conservatories in the Karlovy Vary, Hradec Králové, Liberec, Pardubice, Plzeň and Central Bohemian Regions and the City of Prague. The testing of pupils is modified so that it remains twice a week in the South Bohemian, Ústí nad Labem, Olomouc, Moravian-Silesian, South Moravian, Zlín and Vysočina Regions for pupils of upper primary schools, lower levels of six-year or eight-year grammar schools and the first four years of the eight-year educational programme of conservatories, and that schools can use non-invasive PCR tests apart from the antigen tests. Preventive tests will be made once in two weeks.

The government approved additional up to CZK 330 million from the budget of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to top up the programme of support for small enterprises Caregiver Benefit II for self-employed persons. At present, this programme is allocated with CZK 2.9 billion but, as of 3 May, CZK 2.83 billion was already absorbed and the Ministry of Industry and Trade plans a call for April, in addition to the freshly announced call for March, as schools are still partly closed.

In the non-COVID part of the meeting, the government approved, among other things, two amendments to government regulations – on the conditions of health protection at work and on the content of sole trades, which had to be adapted to changes in the legislation, a new concept of SMART Cities – resilience through SMART solutions for municipalities, cities and regionsthe Roma Integration Strategy 2021-2030 (in Czech language) and the National Action Plan for Organic Farming Development 2021–2027.