Breaking: Czech government speeds up plan for re-opening shops, restaurants

The Czech government has just announced that they will be speeding up the five-step plan, with most shops able to open from Monday, April 27

The Czech government has just announced that they will be speeding up the five-step plan to re-open shops and restaurants, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček revealed at a press conference this afternoon.

The changes from the government’s previously-announced five-step plan are significant, with most venues slated to open over the next month now able to open weeks earlier.

The five-step plan has now become a four-step plan, with most venues now able to open two weeks earlier than previously announced.

“Establishments up to 2,500 square meters will be reopened from Monday, April 27, provided they are establishments with their own entrance,” Havlíček stated during the press conference.

“Driving schools, gyms and fitness centers, services for up to 15 people, libraries, zoos and botanical and dendrological gardens without indoor pavilions [will also reopen from April 27].”

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The change has likely come given the continued decrease in new coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic, even after an expected rise following the Easter holiday weekend.

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From Monday, April 27, retail shops up to 2,500 square meters in size that are not located in shopping centers will be allowed to open.

Previously, only shops under 200 square meters were to reopen from April 27, and shops under 1,000 square meters from May 11. Both of those, and even larger shops up to 2,500 square meters, will now be able to open as soon as Monday.

Also Monday, April 27, fitness centers (except for changing facilities) and outdoors areas of zoos will be allowed to open.

Under the previous plan, outdoor areas of zoos were to reopen from May 25, and fitness centers from May 11.

Zoo across the Czech Republic had petitioned the government for an earlier opening date earlier this week.

On May 11, outdoor areas of restaurants will be allowed to open. Previously, these areas were scheduled to reopen on May 25.

Also May 11, hairdressers, barbers, and beauty salons will be able to reopen. These services were also scheduled to reopen from May 25 previously.

Exterior locations at Czech castles and chateaux, galleries, establishments in shopping centers and other venues previously expected to open at a later date will also now be able to open on May 11.

Finally, restaurants will now be able to open interior areas from May 25, two weeks earlier than the June 8 date set previously. Hotels also previously slated to reopen June 8, will also be able to resume operations from May 25.

Cultural events will also now be able to take place from May 25, though Havlíček did not specify the size of crowds that would be allowed. Previously, this number was set at 50 people for the June 8 date.

The government also decided today to freeze all rents for the immediate future.

“We have just decided in the government to freeze rental prices,” Finance Minister Alena Schillerová tweeted.

“From today, until the end of the emergency measures, it will not be possible to increase rent on apartments. Even a small increase in rent can cause people living problems. Now we give them a guarantee that in today’s difficult situation, their housing costs will not increase.”

The government also met today to discuss prolonging the current state of emergency in the Czech Republic, but those talks were put on hold following a court decision that annulled measures previously enacted by the Ministry of Health that include the restriction of movement and closure of retail shops.

The government has until April 27 to re-implement those regulations, if still needed, through a more appropriate channel.

In order to do that, however, the current state of emergency would most likely have to be prolonged. Earlier this week, Czech rime Minister Andrej Babiš stated that he was against extending the state of emergency past April 30.

Government talks will resume from 8 p.m. this evening.

Updated timetable for opening shops, restaurants, and services in the Czech Republic, valid from April 23:

April 20 (already open):

  • Farmers markets
  • Tradesmen with shops
  • Car shops and showrooms
  • Outdoor athletic areas for professionals, without spectators
  • Weddings of up to 10 people, following hygiene rules

April 27:

  • Shops under 2,500 square meters in size, except for those in shopping centers over 5000 square meters and those specified to open at a later date
  • Gyms and fitness centers (but not changing rooms or showers)
  • Driving schools
  • Spiritual services for less than 15 people
  • Libraries
  • Zoos and botanical gardens (outdoor areas only)

May 11:

  • Retail stores in shopping centers
  • Retail stores larger than 2,500 square meters outside of shopping centers
  • Outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops with outdoor sales and garden seating areas
  • Barbershops, hairdressers, nail salons, tanning salons, cosmetic salons, massage parlors
  • Museums, galleries, and art halls

May 25:

  • Indoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops
  • Hotels and other accommodation providers (and their restaurants and cafes)
  • Taxi services
  • Tattoo and piercing studios
  • Theaters, castles, chateaux and other cultural activities according to the current regulations
  • Cultural, business, and sports events for a specified number of people
  • Weddings following specific hygienic protocol
  • Indoor areas of zoos and botanical gardens

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