This Monday sees another series of restrictions lifted as the coronavirus epidemic in the Czech Republic subsides. After five months of forced closure, hotels and lodging houses are again allowed to open. Meanwhile, schools and universities across the country have been allowed to return fully to classroom teaching. The attendance cap on cultural events and sports activities has been expanded.
Hotels, guest houses and also outdoor camps are now allowed to reopen for travellers. However, conditions still apply. Visitors must present a negative PCR or antigen coronavirus test no older than 48 hours when checking in. They are also required to undertake another test if their stay exceeds seven days.
Furthermore, hotels can house guests who provide either a valid vaccine certificate or proof of having antibodies. Hotel buffets remain off limits, but guests can use hotel restaurants from 6am to 10 pm, provided that they are served.
There are also significant changes for schools. Until now, classroom teaching was only allowed in schools located in low-risk regions. Others had to use a system of bi-weekly rotations between classroom and online instruction.
However, as Education Minister Robert Plaga stated at a government press conference last week, schools in all regions are switching to a full classroom teaching regime from Monday, ending the rotation system.
“Elementary schools will run in a standard classroom teaching system from Monday. The Ministry of Health has also updated the testing frequency to one antigen test a week. The government has also made it available for schools to conduct bi-weekly PCR tests, whose cost will be partly subsidised by the state (CZK 200 per test).”
High schools are now also allowed to return to classroom teaching in theory, provided that their pupils fulfil the same testing criteria.
Those universities whose taught semesters are still in progress can now welcome students back inside lecture halls. However, students will have to maintain social distancing. The changes are not as impactful as in the primary and secondary education system, because most universities have already entered the exam period.
Monday also sees the government increase the number of participants allowed to attend cultural events. Those taking place outdoors can now welcome up to 1,000 visitors. Meanwhile, indoor events can accept as many as 500 people.
Indoor pavilions in zoos and botanical gardens may also host visitors from Monday, provided they do not exceed 50 percent maximum capacity and guests maintain social distancing.
Sports enthusiasts also have reason to celebrate, with maximum allowed indoor capacity in sports halls being raised to 30 people. Group training is allowed for up to 12 people. However, locker rooms and showers remain closed.
A plan on how to end the lockdown in the near future is set to be discussed by government this week. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on Sunday that it counts on reopening indoor spaces in restaurants facilities on June 14, followed by the lifting of restrictions on large-scale concerts in July.
Vaccine registration also opened up for people between the ages of 35 to 39 on Monday. And on Wednesday registration will be expanded to all people aged 30 or older. Prime Minister Babiš also reaffirmed the government’s plan to open vaccine registration for people aged 16 or older from the beginning of June.