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Facemasks will be mandatory again in most public indoor spaces throughout the Czech Republic starting September 1st. Health Minister Adam Vojtech said that this is a preventive measure, as a difficult autumn ahead is predicted with higher levels of social interaction. Photo credit: Freepik / For illustrative purposes.

Czech Rep., Aug 17 (BD) – Today, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) announced that from September 1st, facemasks will again be mandatory on public transport and in most public indoor spaces. The announcement came after a meeting of the Government Council for Health Risks.

The masks will be mandatory on public transport, including intercity and long-distance routes, shops, public offices, post offices and indoor events, regardless of the number of participants. The measure will also apply to common areas in schools, but not to individual classrooms, similar to the measures in place in the spring in the first phase of the coronavirus crisis. However, the measure will not apply to offices, other workplaces, or restaurants.

“We will probably have a difficult autumn ahead of us,” said Adam Vojtech. Photo credit: Vlada.cz

“We want to prevent the spread of infection and thus protect vulnerable groups and seniors. We are looking at a period of respiratory diseases, for which masks are a key precaution. They have already helped us cope with the epidemic,” said Vojtech.

There will also be a list of exceptions to the facemask requirement, which is still being finalised and should be published later this week. Vojtech cited as an example those with a mental illness, for whom wearing a facemask would be complicated.

Vojtech explained the return of the facemask measure by saying he regards it as one of the three basic preventive measures, along with using disinfectant and social distancing. “Let’s take this as a preventive measure, given that we will probably have a difficult autumn ahead of us, and we can expect a high level of social interaction within society from September 1st.”

Event Capacity Remains Unchanged

Vojtech added that the return of obligatory facemasks does not change the standing measure of the maximum capacity for events, set at 500 people indoors, and 1,000 at outdoor events. Both of these limits include the possibility of creating up to five separate sectors at the same event with the given participant capacity. In theaters and other auditoriums with permanent seating, it will not be necessary to leave every second seat unoccupied from September, said Vojtech. Facemasks, however, will be mandatory. 

Shortened Quarantine

At the same time, the Government Commissioner for Health Research, Roman Prymula, announced that the quarantine of contacts and isolation of infected people without symptoms would be reduced from fourteen to ten days. According to Chief Hygienist Jarmila Razova, the new rules for quarantine will apply from August 24.

Isolation or quarantine can end without a new test. According to Prymula, there will be exceptions for health professionals, social workers or people with reduced immunity.

Over 20,000 people in the Czech Republic have been infected with the coronavirus since the beginning of the epidemic, and there are currently a record 5,816 active cases.

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