Charles bridge in Prague abandoned

Czechia closes stores and limits free movement

Czechia closes stores and limits free movement

The new measures will be effective from Thursday, 22 October

The Czech government approved a new set of measures meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus. They were announced today in a series of Tweets by Health Minister Roman Prymula and concern the operations of non-essential stores and the free movement of people. The stricter rules enter in force on the very next day – 22 October – and will last until the end of the state of emergency on 3 November.

Only essential shopping and movement in the Czech Republic until 3 November

From 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning only stores with basic assortment will remain open. This includes grocery stores, drugstores, pharmacies, spectacle shops, newspapers, gardening stores, laundromats and dry cleaners.

In large shopping centres, only the above-mentioned types of stores will remain open. Karel Havlíček, the Minister of Industry and Transport Companies, informed that the businesses that had been ordered to close due to the epidemic will be reimbursed by the state for the full wages of workers and levies.

Furthermore, similar to the measures introduced during the spring, the free movement of people will be restricted, apart from trips to work, grocery shopping, visits to the doctor, or to help and support loved ones. Walks in parks and in nature are allowed and encouraged, as long as they involve not more than two people (or more if they live in the same household).

Czechia is currently fending off one of the strongest second waves of the coronavirus in Europe. Already a week ago, the country enforced a set of restrictions, limiting the group number to six, closing clubs, bars, restaurants and catering establishments. There was a considerable reduction in on-site school classes and the government was even forced to call upon medical students to join the efforts and alleviate the pressure on the overloaded healthcare system.

According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, quoted by Radio Prague International, those measures have proven insufficient so far, with the positive cases reaching 30% of those tested for Covid-19. What is more, Health Minister Prymula explained that the country is already at 80% of its capacity regarding the number of hospitalizations. In his opinion, even the additional 10 000 beds are expected to be filled by 8-10 November, should the situation continue to deteriorate at this rate.

The government will decide next Friday whether to request an extension of the state of emergency, which is currently in force in force until 3 November.



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