Government decides to further tighten preventive measures against the spread of Covid-19
As of Thursday, further, stricter preventive measures against the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will come into force in the Czech Republic. Based on unfavourable growth numbers for the Covid-19 disease, the government of Andrej Babiš announced these following an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 21 October. There will be a fundamental restriction on retail sales and services, the activities of public authorities and on the free movement of the population.
In view of the dramatic increase in the incidence of new cases of Covid-19, the government has adopted further basic measures to help improve the situation and to prevent the collapse of the health care system. “The increase is huge and unfortunately the measures we have taken in recent weeks have not flattened the growth curve. It looks as if they are not yet working,” Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said by way of introduction. “This is why we have decided to take these measures, for which, of course, I apologize to everyone, because it will make life uncomfortable for businesses, employees and our citizens. I also apologize for having de facto ruled out this possibility in the past. Because I couldn’t imagine it happening,” the Prime Minister noted. “Unfortunately, it has happened, and we must first and foremost protect the lives of our citizens. This is not just about the lives of those ill with Covid, it’s about protecting the lives of all citizens,” added Prime Minister Babiš.
The government has therefore decided that as of Thursday, 22 October, from 6.00 am, for the duration of a declared state of emergency until 3 November inclusive, with certain exceptions the free movement of persons throughout the Czech Republic is prohibited. However, as in the spring, there will be several exceptions to this ban, in particular for trips to work and in connection with business, for trips to see family, for the purchase of basic necessities and for trips to health-care facilities. People will also be able to go out to parks, into nature or go to their own holiday cottage, and to stay there. With the exception of members of a household, only two people will be able to move about together in public places, and participation in weddings and funerals is limited to ten people and the right of assembly to a maximum of one hundred people in groups of twenty. The wording of this crisis measure can be found here.
With a few specified exceptions, from 6.00 on 22 October retail sales and the sale and provision of services in establishments are also prohibited. Exceptions include, for example, the sale of food, fuel, drugstore items and newspapers, tobacco and magazines; car repair workshops, dry cleaners, pharmacies, funeral services and florists will also be open. With a few exceptions, hotels and other accommodation facilities as well as food courts in shopping malls will also have to close. The wording of this crisis measure can be found here.
From 6.00 on Thursday the government will also restrict the operation of public authorities and administrative bodies to the essential minimum necessary to ensure the operation of public administration. Office hours for these remain limited to five hours a day, two days a week, with the authorities always having to ensure they have lowest necessary number of employees in the workplace. The government has issued the same recommendation to other employers. During this period the latter too should prioritise working from home, grant holidays and paid leave, and reduce activities to the essential minimum. The wording of this crisis measure can be found here.
In connection with the newly adopted crisis measures the Cabinet also approved the extension of Call 2 of the Covid – Rental programme. The subsidy programme will now also include those operations that have been banned or significantly restricted by the measures announced today. As a result of this expansion, the programme allocation will be increased by 1.8 billion crowns to a total of three billion crowns. The government will release these funds from the government budget reserve. The Call has already been announced by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (in Czech language).