Face mask on a Prague tram / via iStock

Face masks will still be required in Prague metro, but not trams or buses, from July 1

Areas with significant coronavirus risks are an exception to the easing of mask requirements

Prague and the Moravian-Silesian region will be exceptions to the July 1 rollback of some measures to stop the coronavirus.

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Face masks will still be required in Prague in the metro and at events with over 100 people after July 1, as the city still has significant risk of the spread of coronavirus. The mask requirement will be dropped for trams and buses. Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO) made the announcement at a June 29 press conference.

Vojtěch previously said he was in favor of also continuing to require face masks in trams and buses, but his Health Ministry colleagues warned him that it could also have a negative impact on the elderly in the hot summer months.

Andrej Babiš (ANO), discussed the easing of coronavirus measures on Czech Television (ČT) over the weekend, and explained why trams and buses were an exception. “As the [health] minister informed me, it is because it is hot,” he said.

Vojtěch in a separate interview over the weekend said the situation in Prague was developing favorably. “If we look at the numbers for Prague, the situation there is improving over time. [On June 26] there were perhaps not even 10 new cases in Prague and before that 13,” Vojtěch said.

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On June 18, the working group for the release of quarantine measures at the Ministry of Health recommended that face masks would no longer be required indoors or outdoor as of July 1, except for areas that still have significant coronavirus risk.

Face coverings will also continue to be required in the Moravian-Silesian region, where local outbreaks of the disease have recently appeared. Measures will be tightened to fight local outbreaks in the Karviná and Frýdek-Místek regions.

“Given the development of the epidemiological situation in local outbreaks, such as Karviná and Frýdek-Místek, where the disease is spreading in the community, we must take some stricter measures,” Vojtech said. The measures will take effect on June 30.

Hospital visits and participation in mass events for more than 100 people will be prohibited in Karviná and Frýdek-Místek. The obligation to wear a face covering will also remain with hairdressers or barbers. Eateries will remain closed from 11 pm to 6 am, it will be necessary to maintain distancing. Cross-border workers in the Moravian-Silesian region will also have to submit negative tests for coronavirus.

Vojtěch said the increase in cases in the region is mainly due to the large-scale testing of miners, but also to the lack of discipline of some citizens. “It is not uncommon for people with symptoms to attend mass events,” he added.

If the situation in the Moravian-Silesian region does not improve, more restrictions could be put back in place.

Vojtěch the situation in the Czech Republic is relatively stable. “In this respect, it is not necessary to look at the situation tragically, even if the numbers are not encouraging,” he added.

Chief Hygienist Jarmila Rážová called on citizens to behave responsibly. “The virus is still here, although many cases are asymptomatic,” she said. “Underestimating the symptoms and going to mass events is a big risk, especially if people from all over the country gather together,” she added.

Across the Czech Republic, face coverings will still be required in medical facilities.

The restrictions of operating hours of catering services is also being relaxed, so they will no longer have to close between 11 pm and 6 am. Refreshments can also be consumed in auditoriums and halls. Masks will still be required for intercity transit.

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