Map of Europe with focus on Austria, Czech Republic via iStock / Pawel Gaul

Czech residents may be able to freely visit Slovakia, Austria from July, says Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček is of the view that Czech tourists may visit neighboring Slovakia and Austria as of July or even earlier

Prague, April 27 (CTK) – Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček is of the view that Czech tourists may visit the neighboring Slovakia and Austria as of July, or even earlier, if the coronavirus epidemic develops favorably in the region, he said in an interview with today’s issue of Hospodářské noviny (HN).

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However, it is premature to talks about travelling to the countries hit by the epidemic the most, such as Italy, France and the United States, Petříček (junior government Social Democrats, CSSD) said.

“We wanted to open Slovakia or Austria for tourists, for instance, as of July, and possibly other destinations as of August. If the situation remains positive, it may be even faster. However, in the case of the most afflicted countries, such as Italy, France and the USA, is is too early to speak about when it may be possible to travel there,” Petříček told HN financial paper.

Yet, people are still recommended not to travel abroad except for absolutely necessary cases despite the easing of restrictions, he added.

Along with his counterparts from the neighboring countries, Petříček is coordinating the relaxation of the restrictive measures that prevented travelling abroad for weeks to months with some exemptions for fear of the coronavirus spread, he noted.

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“I believe that as of July, we could return to the normal functioning of the Schengen Area. The situation will be naturally different in the countries where the epidemic will not develop well and where the infection slowdown is not so strong as in our region,” Petříček told HN.

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Czechs have been allowed to travel abroad again since Friday, but this is often just a theoretical option due to the restrictions of other countries and suspended international transport. Those who travel abroad must present a negative coronavirus test result upon returning or spend two weeks in quarantine.

Besides, the government has softened conditions for commuters abroad for work as of today. They are able to cross the border daily if producing new coronavirus test results every two weeks. Foreigners from other EU countries are also allowed to arrive in the Czech Republic for work or if they study at Czech universities and colleges. But they, too, will have to submit their negative test for COVID-19 at the border.

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