The government has decided to restrict movement in the three worst affected districts

Stricter rules for the movement of persons will apply from 12 February 2021 to three Czech districts – Cheb, Sokolov and Trutnov, which are currently affected the most by the COVID-19 pandemic. Andrej Babiš’s government decided to introduce these territorial crisis measures at an extraordinary meeting on 11 February 2021. At the same time, it decided to send a total of one million masks from State reserves to the affected areas.

As of Friday, persons who live in the districts of Cheb, Sokolov and Trutnov will be banned from leaving these districts and those who do not live there will be barred from entering. There will only be a few exceptions to this ban, which will be set by the government’s crisis measure, such as travel to work, travel to ensure health care, services and supplies, public transport, necessary travel to visit medical doctors, authorities, relatives, weddings or funerals. There will also be an exception for children, pupils and students who are allowed to attend classes in person and for the persons accompanying them, as well as for persons who only pass through the districts. However, they will be allowed to stop in the affected districts only in strictly necessary cases. Persons intending to break the ban due to one of the exceptions will have to demonstrate the purpose of their trip on check.

At the same time, the government has decided that improvised respiratory protection will not be enough for persons in these districts to move in public places, buildings or public transport; they will have to use surgical masks or respirators. Furthermore, the government strongly recommended the employers to introduce strict regime measures in their workplaces that would prevent contact between employees as much as possible, and to utilise work from home as much as possible.

At the same time, the government decided to send a total of one million surgical masks to the affected areas; half a million to the Karlovy Vary Region and Hradec Králové Region respectively. The masks will be taken from the Administration of State Material Reserves and they will be intended to be distributed free of charge by the Regional President’s Offices to socially disadvantaged citizens in the affected districts – Cheb, Sokolov and Trutnov. The distribution of protective masks to the regions will be ensured by the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic.

The government also approved a request to the Budget Committee of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic to agree to a change in the binding indicators of the State budget of the Czech Republic for 2021, chapter Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs. This involves the transfer of CZK 6.8 billion from funds earmarked for unemployment benefits to the Active Employment Policy budget indicator. This money will be used to cover the increase in expenditure of the Targeted Employment Support Programme Antivirus. The expenditure increased because the government decided last December to extend the programme until the end of February 2021. The MoLSA has estimated that expenditure for this programme will reach CZK 12 billion; at the moment, it only has CZK 5.2 billion at its disposal.