The government accelerates the easing of extraordinary measures, larger outlets can open on Monday
Owing to the favourable development of the epidemiological situation around the occurrence of the COVID-19 disease, Andrej Babiš’s government approved an accelerated roadmap for easing the extraordinary quarantine measures at an extraordinary session on Thursday, 23 April 2020. As of Friday, the rules restricting personal freedom of movement were amended, and people can now go out in public or partake in sports in groups of up to ten people. From Monday, outlets with a floor space of up to 2500 m2 can open, except for those in shopping centers.
From Friday, 24 April, the rules for movement and presence in public will change. Movement outdoors and sports activities will be limited to groups of maximally ten people, unless they are family relatives or are performing a profession; the people must maintain a distance of at least two meters from each other. Worshipers will be able to attend church services, if there are no more than fifteen people gathered in the church or choir and the stipulated hygienic rules are observed. Societal activities are permitted, but must not be attended by more than ten persons at one time.
Andrej Babiš’s government also decided to speed up the planned scenario for opening stores and outlets. From Monday, 27 April, both the previously announced smaller shops and outlets, as well as larger ones with a retail floor space of up to 2500 m2, will be allowed to open. From Monday, gyms, fitness centres and health clubs will also be able to launch operations, but without the option of using the changing rooms and showers; driving schools, zoos and botanical gardens (apart from indoor pavilions) can also open.
This permission still does not apply to outlets in large shopping centers with a floor space of over 5000 m2 that do not have a separate entrance from the outside, dining facilities except for sales through a service window, and establishments where the service providers come into contact with the customer’s body. All operators will have to observe strict hygienic conditions and requirements, for instance the maintaining of at least two meters of distance between customers, disinfectants and store equipment. For example, customers at clothing stores will not be able to try on the clothing; zoos can only sell tickets online, so as to ensure that there are no more than 150 people present per hectare of space in the compound. Other phases of easing may also be accelerated, as stated in the press release of the Ministry of Industry and Trade (only in the Czech language).
It also applies that from Monday, students in lower years of university may start attending consultations, clinical and practical training and work experience at universities or at the university library.
Based on a proposal from the Ministry of Interior, the Minister also changed the rules for crossing the state border as of Monday, 27 April. The range of foreigners who can enter the Czech Republic under the conditions stipulated by the government has been expanded to include EU citizens arriving for the purpose of performing economic activity or as students of universities from EU countries. For Czech citizens and foreigners with permanent residence, it newly applies that when returning to the Czech Republic, they will either submit a negative test for COVID-19 or go into quarantine.
The government also agreed with the decision of the Minister of Health to cancel the prohibition of accepting patients for spa rehabilitation care. However, spa facilities will only be allowed to accommodate one client per room, except for members of a shared household, and collective dining and group procedures will also be restricted. Furthermore, the Ministry of Health has reduced the demands to reserve beds for social service clients proven to have the COVID-19 disease at regional and Prague bed care facilities, from 60 to at least 10 beds per 100,000 inhabitants.
The government also approved a draft bill on certain measures to reduce the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus epidemic in the area of sports, which it will submit to the Parliament to discuss in the state of legislative emergency. The aim of the extraordinary bill is to help associations and sports organizations that were impacted by the coronavirus crisis. The reason is that none of the programs for assistance to economic entities declared by the government to date applies to these non-profit organisations. Therefore, the government proposes in this draft bill to extend the authority of the National Sports Agency so that it can prepare a proposal for the respective subsidy program.
The government also acknowledged the implementation of the SARS-CoV-2-CZ-Preval Collective Immunity Study, in which five major healthcare facilities in the Czech Republic have taken part to date with the aim of determining how many persons in the Czech Republic have undergone the COVID-19 disease and have created antibodies in their organism, based on a representative sample of tests for the presence of antibodies against the COVID-19 disease. Information about the study is provided in the press release of the Ministry of Health.