At a meeting on Monday, the government approved further relaxation of the Ministry of Health’s anti-pandemic restrictions in the Czech Republic from Monday, May 17th. Photo :Minister of Health Petr Arenberger and Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček at the press conference on May 10. Credit: Vlada.cz.
Czech Rep., May 11 (BD) – Minor adjustments to the anti-coronavirus measures will take effect from today. Spa services will open to self-payers and antigen tests will now be enough to allow guests. Also, other health and beauty care services involving skin treatment will be able to return to work, under the same conditions.
A more significant relaxation of restrictive measures will follow on Monday, May 17th. Restaurants can open their outside seating areas following the set rules. Capacity at tables will be limited and all customers will need proof of negative tests, vaccination, or infection in the last 90 days. Consumption of food and drink at markets will also be allowed.
From the same day, up to 700 seated spectators will be able to attend outdoor cultural events, as announced by Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD) at a press conference after the government meeting yesterday. Again, the condition will be either a negative test, full vaccination at least 14 days earlier, or having had Covid-19 in the last 90 days. Respiratory protection will also still be required. Restrictions on sports and other organized events will also be partially relaxed, allowing up to 50 people outdoors and up to 10 indoors, under normal hygiene conditions.
The government stated that, if the current downward trend in the number of infected does not change, cultural events will be able to take place indoors with up to 500 participants and outdoors with up to 1,000, from May 24th. More details on the gradual reopening of the cultural sector are available from the Ministry of Culture.
There will also be further relaxation in the field of education. Rotational teaching will end nationwide for the lower years of primary schools, and also for the upper years of primary schools and lower levels of gymnaziums and conservatories in regions with positive epidemiological situations, namely Karlovy Vary, Hradec Králové, Liberec, Pardubice, Plzeň, Central Bohemia, and the capital city of Prague. From May 24th, depending on the epidemiological situation, rotational teaching at these levels will end nationwide.
The Interdisciplinary Group on Epidemic Situations (MeSES) said during the meeting that rotating classes, ie. a week at school and a week from home, could end for those groups of children who have had at least two weeks on a rotating basis. Twice-a-week antigen testing or a PCR test every two weeks should also be a condition. Currently, pupils are tested in schools only once a week, mainly due to the shortage of antigen tests.
The expert group also decided that rotational teaching should not end in regions where the number of new cases of Covid-19 is higher than 100 per 100,000 population per seven days. This condition would thus prevent normal teaching resuming in the Moravian-Silesian, Zlín, South Bohemian, and Ústí regions.
From May 17, hospital visits will be allowed again, announced at the press conference by Health Minister Petr Arenberger. In addition to respirators, a negative test result for Covid-19 is also a condition for visits to long-term and outpatient care facilities, including long-term care hospitals, hospices, psychiatric hospitals, and rehabilitation institutions.
Arenberger stated that zoological and botanical gardens and other types of parks will be able to open at full capacity to 50% from May 17th. They reopened from April 12th, but only in outdoor areas up to a capacity of 20%, with indoor pavilions closed to the public.
The government also approved up to another CZK 330 million from the budget of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to co-finance the support program for small businesses. There is currently CZK 2.9 billion available for this program, but CZK 2.83 billion had been used as of May 3rd, and the Ministry of Industry and Trade is planning a new round in April in addition to the recently announced round for March, as businesses are still partially closed.