Updating a previous story, the Czech government has decided to end the mandatory requirement to wear a face mask in outdoor public spaces on May 25, Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch announced at a press conference this afternoon.
Face masks will still be required in indoor areas where people congregate, which includes public transportation vehicles, shops and malls, cinemas, theaters, and other spaces.
Additionally, social distancing measures will remain in effect, requiring anyone not from the same household to keep a two-meter distance while outdoors. Face masks will still be required for outdoor events and gatherings during which people from different households are closer than two meters apart.
May 25 is also the final date of reopening businesses in the Czech Republic’s multi-step plan, with the final remaining locations allowed to reopen from that date. Those locations include the indoor areas of restaurants, zoos, and Czech castles.
“We decided on May 25 after consulting with epidemiologists,” Vojtěch said at the press conference.
“We will see what impact it will have.”
Vojtěch added that even though the obligation to wear masks outside will end on May 25, the requirement to wear them indoors at shops and in public transportation would continue for “some time.”
“We will have to put up with [face masks] indoors for some time to come,” said epidemiologist Roman Prymula.
Prymula added that this requirement would only end when the spread of the coronavirus has been completely stopped.
The regulation to wear face masks was previously discussed by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš and Deputy PM Jan Hamáček on Czech Television yesterday, with the Prime Minister in favor of easing the regulation given the decreasing incidence of coronavirus in the country.
Also today, members of the Czech government debated the reserved morning shopping hours for senior citizens. Currently, supermarkets and pharmacies are reserved for senior citizens only between the hours of 8:00 and 10:00 in the morning, to reduce their chances of exposure to the coronavirus.
“People from Moravia wrote to me that it’s a bit of a problem for them, that they can only shop from 10:00 and that there’s not enough time to cook lunch and so on,” Babiš stated yesterday.
Ultimately, however, the morning hours for senior citizen shopping were upheld, and will continue into the near future.