Respirators at mass events and shorter test validity. The government approves new measures

In view of the current epidemic situation, the government has approved new measures today. From 25 October, the situations in which it is necessary to use a respirator will be extended slightly. This will apply to mass events and partly also to workplaces. From November, the validity of PCR tests will change from 7 days to 72 hours, and for antigen tests from 72 hours to 24 hours. Henceforth, preventive testing will be free only for limited population groups.

“We are seeing a significant hike in the number of infections. However, we do not want to close shops or services again, so we have to introduce systemic measures. We are returning to the situation in the spring when respirators were mandatory even within work collectives, whereas now there is no such obligation. We are targeting all outbreaks,” said Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch.

From 25 October, the range of situations in which respirators are required will be slightly expanded. Newly, respirators will always be mandatory at indoor mass events, regardless of the number of participants. Previously, the restriction applied to events of 10 people or more. A respirator in the workplace will not be required only if the worker is alone.

From 1 November, the validity of PCR tests will change from 7 days to 72 hours, and for antigen tests from 72 hours to 24 hours. Restaurants, clubs, discos and similar establishments will be subject to OTN (vaccination, test, recovery) compliance checks with the proviso that the operator must not allow entry to a customer who fails to provide proof of OTN. However, the condition does not apply to the sale of takeaway food. A specific system is will apply at shopping center food courts, where the customer must be able to demonstrate OTN on the spot.

From November, the reimbursement of preventive testing of citizens by public health insurance will also be reduced. Only people under 18 years of age, those vaccinated with the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and those who cannot be vaccinated due to contraindications will continue to be covered for the current frequency of testing – one antigen test per week and two PCR tests per month.