Czech Government Announces First Loosening of Some Emergency Measures, But Also Further Hygiene Precautions
The Czech cabinet arrived at a compromise in their Monday afternoon meeting, amending and slightly loosening some of the existing emergency measures against the spread of Covid-19. Some shops will reopen this week, but they must comply with strict hygiene rules. Photo: Minister of Health Adam Vojtech answered questions about coronavirus. Credit: Vlada.cz, 1-4-2020.
Czech Rep., Apr 6 (BD) – Some voices in the Czech government support the loosening of some general lockdown measures in favour of so-called smart quarantine. (Read more here: Smart Quarantine Pilot Trial Launched In South Moravia on Monday.) “We cannot stop the epidemic altogether, but we want to try to manage how it moves through the community to prevent the uncontrolled spread of the disease,” said Minister of Health Adam Vojtech. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek warned against loosening the measures too fast as “there is no way back from this step”. After Easter, the Ministry of Health hopes to present a plan for the gradual release of measures taken against the coronavirus. Vojtech has set up an expert group of epidemiologists to assess the impact of loosening the measures. “We want to protect citizens, especially the most vulnerable groups, but to some extent the disease will continue to pass through the population,” Vojtech explained.
No Face Masks Needed for Outdoor Individual Sports from Wednesday
People who do outdoor sports will no longer have to wear face masks from Wednesday, as long as they maintain a distance of two meters from others, and stay in groups with a maximum of two people. This does not apply to indoor facilities where people are close to each other and in contact with equipment, such as gyms. The new measure applies to individual sports, explained Vojtech. Hikers in the woods will not need to wear masks either.
Waste collection and composting facilities will open from Wednesday.
From Thursday, DIY stores, hardware stores, and bicycle shops and services will reopen. “From Thursday, shoppers must maintain at least two metres distance from everyone else in the shop, except for family members or assistants, and stores will have to provide disinfectant gel at the entrance to the shop,” said Industry Minister Karel Havlicek.
These shops will join the list of facilities that may open, which also includes supermarkets and grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores, haberdashers, and shops selling household goods.
The government is not planning any stricter measures during Easter. “The current restrictions will apply. People should not go anywhere, there is a ban on congregating in groups of more than two people,” said Vojtech. “There will certainly be no church services, and certainly no carolers,” he added.
Travel agencies will be able to postpone refunds for all travel until August 31st and issue vouchers of the same value. If people do not use the voucher by August 31st next year, they will be entitled to a full refund of their payment.
In total, 4,735 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the Czech Republic, from 85,014 tests. There are 290 cases in the South Moravian Region.