Restrictions to ease in remaining regions from Monday as government extends compensation bonus and covid programmes

From 10 May 2021, the rules for schools, children’s sports and other activities will be unified throughout the country due to the improvement of the epidemic situation. This will put an end to the stricter restriction hitherto applied to most regions. The final form of the extraordinary measures to come into force from next week was approved by Andrej Babiš’s government on 6 May 2021. The government also decided to extend the compensation bonus and the Covid 2021 and Covid – Uncovered Costs support programmes.

From May 10, pupils of the second level of primary schools, lower level of six-year and eight-year grammar schools and pupils of the first four years of the conservatories’ eight-year programmes will return to schools all around the country. Clinical and practical teaching at higher education institutions will also be resumed in full. Leisure centres for children will be opened, restrictions put on kindergartens and children’s groups will be lifted and children under the age of 18 will be allowed to return to organised sports.

Museums, galleries, castles, chateaux and other points of interest will also be opened, along with exhibition grounds and fairs. All other changes approved by the government on Monday will apply nationwide. Although the government initially considered excluding the South Bohemian, Zlín and Vysočina regions, the improved epidemic situation eventually allowed for the restrictions to be relaxed in these regions as well.

In addition to the already announced changes, the government has approved other partial adjustments to anti-epidemic measures that will come into force on Monday. Communal catering in companies and other similar non-public catering facilities will no longer be restricted to one diner per table, and mechanical barriers to prevent the spread of droplets will no longer be mandatory. For hobby groups and similar activities, the number of persons allowed to gather in one place increases from twenty to thirty, and children under 6 years of age will be exempt from obligatory Covid-19 testing where otherwise required.

In connection with the adopted changes, the obligation to provide childcare for employees of selected professions is cancelled in the remaining regions, and the rules for stays in spas will be relaxed from Monday as well. All citizens of the Czech Republic and the EU and residents with at least a temporary stay in the Czech Republic will be able to undergo treatments at spas. Provision of spa care will be conditioned by the submission of a valid PCR test, a proof of complete vaccination or of having been infected with Covid-19 and subsequently cured in the last three months. Accommodation will be allowed only for one person per room, with the exception of members of the same household.

The government has also agreed to amend the emergency measure regulating the quarantine and isolation conditions of persons who have become infected with dangerous coronavirus mutations or have come into contact with persons infected with such. As of tomorrow, the obligation to remain in a 14-day isolation and quarantine that is ended with a negative PCR test is extended to include not only the persons potentially infected with the South African mutation, but also persons who have come into contact with the Brazilian and Indian mutations.

The government also discussed the extension of support programmes for entrepreneurs and sole traders. The extension concerns the subsidy programmes Covid 2021 and Covid – Uncovered Costs, as well as the compensation bonus. In the case of the Covid 2021 programme, the relevant period in the first call of the programme will be extended to four months, i.e. from 11 January 2021 to 9 May 2021. In the case of the Covid – Uncovered Costs programme, a second call of the programme will be announced with a relevant period from 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2021. At the same time, Covid 2021 applicants will be allowed to subsequently apply for support in the second call of Covid – Uncovered Costs; a proportion of the amount paid to the applicants under the Covid 2021 programme (from 1 April 2021 to 9 May 2021) will reduce the basis for calculating the final subsidy amount in the Covid – Uncovered Costs programme.

In the case of the compensation bonus for self-employed persons, partners of small limited liability companies and persons who work based on an agreement to complete a job or an agreement to perform work, the government decided to set a fourth bonus period corresponding to the calendar month of May 2021. The maximum amount of the compensation bonus is CZK 1,000 per day. For the “agreement workers”, the bonus is limited at CZK 500 per day. The government also decided to address the effects of the compensation bonus on public budgets. It has set aside up to CZK 5.75 billion from the budget chapter Funds for Business Support for a contribution to municipalities and regions, which will mitigate the effects of the Compensation Bonus 2021 Act. More information can be found in the press release of the Ministry of Finance at https://www.mfcr.cz/cs/aktualne/tiskove-zpravy/2021/vlada-schvalila-prodlouzeni-kompenzacnih-41798 (in Czech language).

The government also dealt with the issue of testing of children, pupils and students in schools and school facilities. It has approved the expenditure of up to CZK 100 million to cover the costs related to schools’ activities in connection with the extraordinary measure of the Ministry of Health ordering comprehensive and regular testing of children, pupils, students and employees of kindergartens, primary, secondary and higher vocational schools and school facilities. These funds can be provided by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports to those schools that ensure the testing of pupils and staff themselves through PCR tests. In these cases, the Ministry will pay the founder CZK 200 per pupil or employee tested using the PCR method.

At the same time, the government agreed to accept a donation offered to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports by Kaufland Czech Republic. The donation consists of 300,000 antigen self-testing sets, which are to help the Czech education system bridge the temporary shortage of antigen tests for comprehensive preventive testing of pupils, students and employees of schools and school facilities caused by the failure of the selection procedure for their supplier. The Ministry will send these tests free of charge to schools reporting shortage of tests.