Prague, May 16 (CTK) – Many of the Czech anti-COVID-19 restrictions will stay in force for another week, until May 25, despite the national state of emergency ending on May 18. Instead of leaning on the crisis law, they will be transitioned to extraordinary measures from the Czech Health Ministry.
The continuing measures will restrict, for example, the operation of the indoor areas of restaurants, zoos and other facilities, as well as accommodation facilities, saunas, etc., through May 25.
The Ministry’s measures will also regulate the wearing of face masks at public places and the operation of schools, and restrict mass events, restaurant and accommodation services, which will continue through May 25 at outdoor locations, and past May 25 at indoor areas.
The Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency over the novel coronavirus epidemic as of March 12, 14:00. Before the period expired, the government asked the Chamber of Deputies for a prolongation until May 11, but the Chamber agreed to a shorter prolongation until April 30. The government later asked for a further prolongation until May 25, but the Chamber approved it until May 17.
The state of emergency will thus have lasted just over two months, at 66 days.
Based on the crisis law, the government had originally imposed a series of measures restricting people’s free movement, closing shops and services, restricting the operation of public administrative bodies, banning cultural and sport events, and closing all types of schools.
The government later changed the status of the restrictions, declaring them extraordinary measures from the Health Ministry based on the public health protection law. However, a court abolished some of the measures, which restricted the free movement and retail trade, as of April 27, arguing that their new status was unlawful.
The cabinet then returned the measures under the crisis law, the same as the measures concerning the closure of schools. With the state of emergency drawing nearer, however, the cabinet Monday decided to declare the persisting restrictions as the Health Ministry’s extraordinary measures based on the public health protection law.
Based on the crisis law, the government also banned Czech residents from traveling abroad. This restriction was lifted at end-April.
Foreigners’ entry into Czechia has also been restricted based on the crisis law; this restriction, too, will start leaning on other legislation as of Monday, May 18.
Border checks will continue until June 13, the Interior Ministry has said. When returning home, Czechs and foreign citizens with residence in the Czech Republic have to either produce a negative test for coronavirus or be quarantined for 14 days. The lifting or a prolongation of the border checks will depend on the development of the epidemiological situation and on the situation in the neighboring countries.
Epidemiologist Rastislav Madar told media on Friday that the Health Ministry’s team of experts will discuss the state approach to traveling and international trade in late May and in June.
During the state of emergency, the cabinet gradually regulated the conditions for town and regional assemblies’ meetings and also abolished the paid parking zones before reintroducing them in late April.
As of Monday, town and regional councils and assemblies will start meeting in a usual regime again, which means their opening to the public, but the Health Ministry’s sanitary measures must still be observed, such as face mask-wearing and social distancing.
In late March, the cabinet also used the crisis law to ban medical workers and the staff of the critical infrastructure enterprises from taking leave. The ban was lifted on April 9.
The state of emergency, along with the related crisis law, also enabled the government to order some firms to preferentially provide supplies to the Interior Ministry and the Health Ministry.
Furthermore, it enabled the Interior Ministry’s central purchase of medical protective equipment. The ministry bought 137 million face masks, 11 million medical protective masks, 5.5 million respirators, over two million protective suits and goggles and further millions of aids, plus one million of rapid testers. The ministry said the purchases from China were necessary in a situation where there was no protective equipment in Czechia or Europe at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.
Most of the ordered supplies have already reached the Czech Republic, the last shipment of eight million respirators and 60 million face masks will. be brought in by train from China in early June.
Protective equipment for teaching hospitals and other state-run facilities has been secured by the Health Ministry. It says on its website that it secured 57,000 liters of disinfectants, 23 million face masks, over seven million respirators, and 6,500 protective half-masks, along with 509,000 kits for nose and mouth swab coronavirus testing.