Czech Government Announces Measures To Support Those Financially Affected By Pandemic
The Czech Government met yesterday to update the current measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus in the Czech Republic and avoid overwhelming the country’s healthcare system. The government also announced new support for businesses affected by the state of emergency. Find the list of the latest “coronavirus measures” adopted by the Czech Republic here. Photo: Press conference of the Czech Government yesterday. Credit: Official photo of Vlada.cz.
Czech Rep., Mar 20 (BD) – The government has adjusted the time allocated to elderly shoppers in grocery stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and drug stores. From March 20th, food shops and pharmacies will open exclusively for those over 65 between 7am and 9am, to ensure supplies reach the most vulnerable citizens. The government changed the previously announced opening times for senior citizens (10am-12 noon) at its meeting yesterday evening.
The government has introduced a special form, the so-called “cross-border worker’s book” to prevent cross-border travel unless for valid work reasons. Commuters will now need a stamp in the book from police every time they cross the border. After several days, the book will allow people to prove that they are not tourists, and cross the border regularly.
New fathers are temporarily prohibited from being present at births to protect medical staff in hospitals. A petition has been set up to protest against this decision.
An allowance paid to parents who take time off work to care for their sick children (“osetrovne”) will be extended for the entirety of the period that the school closures are in place. At the same time, the upper age limit for children whose parents are eligible for the allowance has been raised 10 to 13 years.
The government approved financial support for the self-employed who are currently staying at home to look after their children. The state will pay CZK 424 per day, around CZK 14,000 per month, to all self-employed people caring for children aged 6 to 13 (except for the families that are entitled to “osetrovne”). For more details, see the Ministry of Social Affairs website.
The government has also decided to further extend the COVID loan program. A COVID2 loan program has been launched, increasing the maximum size of loans available from CZK 600 million to CZK 10 billion.
The government also approved a targeted employment support program. The full or partial reimbursement allowance for employers will apply in cases where employees have been quarantined. “These employees will receive 60% of their wages and we will pay this contribution to the companies,” explained Prime Minister Babiš.
If a business has been ordered to close or reduce operations as a result of the state of emergency, employees will be paid 100% percent of their wages and the state will reimburse employers for 80% of their costs. For more information, see the Ministry of Social Affairs website.
Zde vysvetlujici grafika pic.twitter.com/4uANA2FpzT— Jana Maláčová (@JMalacova) March 19, 2020
The government also added more selected businesses to the list of services which can remain open during the quarantine. With effect from March 20th, the exemption will be extended to the services of real estate agencies and accounting and tax advisors.
All acute care facilities must designate beds for COVID-19 patients. In total, 400 beds with ventilation and another 400 beds with oxygen support should have been prepared for seriously ill patients in the Czech Republic at this stage.
As of 9:32am this morning, 774 cases of coronavirus infection have been confirmed in the Czech Republic. This figure has risen by 214 in the last 36 hours. So far 11,619 people have been tested and three people have completely recovered. As of this morning, the Regional Hygiene Authority has reported 48 cases in South Moravia.
According to the Deputy Minister of Health, Roman Prymula, there could be up to 15,000 cases of COVID-19 in the Czech Republic by mid-April. If people do not comply with the government’s quarantine regulations, the curfew could be tightened further, Prymula told Pravo daily yesterday.
Over 230,000 masks, 100,000 respirators and other medical supplies have been distributed to the regions. South Moravia received over 20,000 masks and 6,300 respirators.