The Czech House of Commons approved another extension of the state of emergency – this time until December 23. Besides that, drinking outdoors is prohibited as the government wants to stop crowds of people consuming food and beverages from gathering at Christmas markets and on streets. This, however, doesn’t affect only stalls at the markets but also dispensing windows.
State of Emergency Extended
On December 10 another extension of the state of emergency was approved despite the criticism from the opposition parties. The state of emergency therefore will be in place until December 23. At the same time it is already expected that by that time another extension will be proposed by the government which already wanted to extend it until the end of 2020. Originally it was supposed to be in place only until December 12.
Besides this, the consumption of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages outdoors is now also prohibited. This means that it is not possible to buy any beverage from dispensing windows and drink them, for example, at Christmas markets. It is supposed to stop people consuming food and beverages in the streets, though the Minister of Health Jan Blatný eventually admitted that this was a bad decision.
What will happen is, however, not yet clear as the epidemiological situation is gradually getting worse and it is possible that restaurants and hotels will have to close again. Because of the growing number of new COVID-19 cases the PES system score is increasing and several Regions are on the highest level. It is expected that in the next few days the whole Czech Republic will move on a higher level of the PES system, possibly the highest one.
Some people, such as the Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček, are worried that Czechs will spend this Christmas on the PES highest level which also means the introduction of harsh restrictions. Hamáček would therefore prefer to move to the fourth level as soon as possible – ideally on Wednesday, December 16. It is expected that this will be discussed on Monday, December 14 and restaurants and hotels will close sometime at the end of this week. Shops should, however, remain open no matter on which PES system level the Czech Republic will be.
The worsening situation also leads to disputes between the two governmental parties – Prime Minister’s ANO and Social Democrats (ČSSD) led by Jan Hamáček. The Minister of the Interior Jan Hamáček said that his party will remain a part of the government until the end of the state of emergency and then the members will discuss what will happen next. It is, therefore, possible that ANO will later rely only on the support of the communist party (KSČM).
Make sure to also pay attention to our Advent Calendar – series of articles about celebrating Christmas in the Czech Republic.