Prague announces new rules for wearing face masks, limited hours for restaurants and bars

From next week, masks must now be worn in additional public places in Prague

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 04.09.2020 15:04 (updated on 04.09.2020)

Hygiene officials gave a press briefing today which addressed the increasingly worrisome COVID numbers in Prague and the implementation of added mask-wearing measures until the situation in the Czech capital improves.

Speaking to journalists on Friday afternoon, lead Prague hygienist Zdeňka Jágrová said, “Prague is no longer at level 6, which is really alarming. It’s a big problem.”

To that end, Jágrová announced several new measures that will go into effect within the coming days.

Among them, masks must be worn in stores and shopping malls from September 9. 

Also from September 9, Prague’s bars and restaurants must close between midnight and 6 am, Jágrová told journalists. It will also be possible to buy from a window without customers entering the establishment.

From September 14 anyone entering school premises (students and parents) will need to wear face masks in common areas — but masks will not be required in the classroom.

Masks will not have to be worn on Prague sports grounds, such as swimming pools or sports halls.

While the number of hospitalized COVID patients is low and capacity is sufficient, Jágrová said the number of hospitalized patients is increasing.

“There is an increase in the number of reported diseases. We have a cumulative increase of 726 cases in recent days. There are more than 100 cases a day in Prague,” she said. 

“Of yesterday’s 168, there were an alarming 68 patients in the 20-29 age group, where there is a high risk of disease, so we introduced this measure,” Jágrová added.

Prague health officials said of the decision to re-implement wider spread mask-wearing mandates that wearing masks is one of the few measures the city can take to curb the illness. 

Jágrová believes mask are “not a big intervention in the lives of residents.” She cited studies that prove the effectiveness of masks in preventing the spread of droplets. 

It was also announced that Prague will remain at the orange traffic light; another ten districts have recently reached the green level.

According to Jágrová, the spread in Prague is determined by the size of the metropolis, the number of inhabitants and commuters, public transport, and other factors, which is why it will stay in the orange zone.

Hygienists have not yet banned visits to the home for the elderly. According to Jágrová, however, people with symptoms of the disease or young people returning from abroad should avoid them.

In Prague, a large proportion of foreigners are infected, 38 out of a total of 168 patients, among them tourists, partly agency employees who have a 90-day work visa.

Tracing has become difficult for her department says Jágrová who is asking anyone who tests positive to stay home as well as to list the last 20-30 people they had contact with.

“Our employees have long since exhausted all overtime and yet they working seven days a week,” Jágrová said of the challenges of tracing.