Monday has brought a major loosening of coronavirus restrictions in the Czech Republic, with shops and services, galleries, cinemas, pubs and restaurants reopening after a break of two months.
Shopping centres, hairdressers, massage and wellness salons have been allowed to reopen under strict hygiene conditions. Pubs, cafes and restaurants are now able to serve clients in outdoor spaces.
Schools have reopened to students facing entrance exams, with a maximum of 15 students in the classroom.
Masses and weddings of up to 100 people are allowed and the country’s castles and chateaus are reopening their doors to visitors.
According to epidemiologists the biggest danger for a possible setback currently lies in the reopening of shopping malls, due to the large amount of people who pass through them daily and the air-conditioning system, and travel abroad.
The government has given operators the green light to renew international rail, road and water transport as of Monday, May 11 and Prague’s main international airport is also renewing some air links.
Czech citizens may now travel abroad for “substantiated reasons“ such as work, to visit relatives or for medical care.
People travelling abroad will have to produce a negative COVID 19 test upon their return or undergo a two week quarantine.
Face masks will not be obligatory outdoors after May 25 on condition that people can maintain the social distance requirements of two metres, Health Minister Adam Vojtěch reported after Monday’s government session.
Face masks will remain obligatory in shops and institutions and closed public spaces with a high risk of transmission such as public transport or taxis.
Vojtěch said the regulation according to which shops, post offices and other services are reserved for people over the age of 65 from 8am till 10am every day, will remain in place for the time being.
Twenty-eight new coronavirus cases were registered in the country on Sunday, bringing the overall number of confirmed cases to 8,123, according to Czech Health Ministry statistics.
The number of newly registered cases per day has remained under 100 for ten days now.
280 people have died, 4,474 have recovered from the disease. 239 people are currently hospitalized with COVID 19, 40 of them are in serious condition.
Hotels and accommodation facilities report a steep drop in profit in the first quarter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of guests in Czech hotels, boarding houses and camps reached 3.1 million in the first quarter, largely thanks to visitors who arrived in the first two months of the year, before the coronavirus restrictions closed accommodation facilities.
This represents a 22.2 percent drop compared to the same period last year. The number of overnight stays decreased by 16.7 percent year on year to 8.9 million.
The number of German visitors dropped by 17.4 percent as compared to the same period last year, the number of Polish tourists was down by 15 percent, the number of Italians visiting dropped by 40 percent and the number of Chinese and South Korean visitors was down by a half.
The government-ordered mandatory service for some medical students in state run hospitals, old age homes and emergency services ended on Monday, May 11th.
The compulsory character of the service stemmed from the state of emergency in the country, and concerned students in their last year of medical school who were asked to assist staff during the coronavirus crisis.
In reality many more than those addressed signed up to help on a voluntary basis in order to be useful and gain experience.
Altogether over 5,500 medical students from faculties around the country helped out, conducting blood tests, questioning patients in a pre-selection process and serving on info lines.
Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with a fresh wind and rain or sleet showers in the eastern parts of the country. Snow is forecast in altitudes of over 400 metres above sea level. Day temperatures between 7 and 11 degrees Celsius.