Breaking: Czech Republic begins to soften anti-coronavirus measures

From tomorrow, biking or running without a face mask and playing individual outdoor sports will be allowed; from Thursday, select shops will open

Following up on measures proposed by Health Minister Adam Vojtěch earlier today, the Czech government has approved the first of steps intended to ease the quarantine regulations that have been in place in the country for the past three weeks. As early as tomorrow, certain measures will be softened in relation to sporting and outdoor activities.

Biking, running, and outdoor hiking without a face mask will be permitted in forests. However, social distancing measures ensuring two meters distance kept from other people still need to be observed in all cases. Bikers or runners are still required to wear masks in areas they may pass within two meters of other people.

Additionally, select outdoor sporting grounds may be opened from tomorrow that provide access to individual sports as opposed to team sports. These include tennis courts and other ‘individual’ grounds that ensure a distance between players is kept at all times.

“The government has decided that from Tuesday, recreational sports activities will be allowed and outdoor sports grounds will be opened. These are not collective sports, but individual sports,” Czech Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček told members of the press after a government meeting.

Additionally, the government has agreed that certain shops will be able to open from Thursday, April 9.

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These include home improvement stores (“hobby markets”), building supply stores, hardware stores, and bicycle shops and repair services.

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Strict hygiene measures will need to be taken at each shop, however, similar to what is currently in place at grocery stores, drug stores, and pharmacies.

Shops will need to provide disinfectant at the entrance and guests will need to keep a distance of two meters while shopping. Stores are advised to limit the number of customers allowed inside at any one time.

According to Havlíček, additional shops will be able to open on Tuesday, April 14, the first working day following the Czech Republic’s four-day holiday Easter weekend. These include shoe stores, stationary stores, and children’s shops.

Vojtěch added that further measures softening the current regulations would be gradually introduced following the Easter holiday, assuming that there are not significant changes regarding the coronavirus situation in the Czech Republic.

In addition to the above measures, the government has also approved a Central Crisis Staff proposal to allow Czech residents to travel abroad from April 14 in ‘substantiated’ cases. This proposal still needs to be approved by Czech parliament, assuming the current State of Emergency is extended this week.

The proposal would allow travel abroad for “the purpose of necessary activities,” which could mean a business trip, visit to a doctor, or see family, but may need to be approved on an individual basis. Returnees would still be required to start a two-week quarantine.

Full details of the proposal for travel will be made public later this week. With some exceptions, travelling to the Czech Republic and vice versa is is banned until April 12 under the current State of Emergency.

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