A set of new countermeasures was announced by the Minister of Health Roman Prymula on Thursday, October 8. Some of them come into force on Friday, October 9, the rest of them will apply from Monday, October 12. Most of them concern leisure activities, although restrictions affecting shopping or education were announced as well.
Countermeasures Coming into Force on October 9
Some of the countermeasures come into force already on Friday, October 9, that is only one day after being announced. This concerns for example shopping as it will be possible to enter stores only individually or in pairs from October 9. The only exception applies to children up to 15 years of age who can enter stores in bigger groups. They can, however, be accompanied by only one adult person.
Besides that, ZOOs, indoor swimming pools, gyms, fitness centres, wellness centres, tanning salons, cassinos, indoor sports facilities, children’s clubs and after-school clubs (for extra-curricular activities) will also be closed. Restaurants, bars and pubs must stay closed from 8:00 PM to 6:00 AM and only up to four people can sit at one table. Until now the maximum number of people sharing one table was six.
These restrictions should supposedly be in effect for a period of two weeks, unless the epidemiological situation remains the same or gets worse – in that case the restrictions will be extended.
Countermeasures Coming into Force on October 12
Other countermeasures will come into force on Monday, October 12. They should also be in effect for a period of two weeks and will only be extended if the epidemiological situation requires it.
As of October 12, most cultural events will be banned – theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, planetariums, observatories, castles and other cultural objects will be therefore closed. The same applies to sports events as well as professional and leisure sports activities. Only a maximum of 20 people can play sports, or exercise outdoors.
Catering facilities at shopping centres will have to turn off the wi-fi in order to stop people from spending more time there than necessary for eating. Only up to two people will be allowed to sit at one table.
During the next two weeks, the operation of offices will be limited to two days a week, five hours each day.
Starting on October 12, only up to ten people will be allowed to attend religious events.
All universities and secondary schools will have to switch to distance learning with the exception of practical classes where distance learning is not possible. This was, up until now, only mandatory in the regions with the highest numbers of people infected with COVID-19. At upper grades of primary schools, there will be a weekly rotation of entire classes so while one class will do distance learning, the other one will be physically present at school. Each week they’ll switch. Art and music schools can hold individual lessons, otherwise they’ll be closed.
From Monday, October 19, only up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings and funerals.
Possible Future Development
The epidemiological situation in the Czech Republic is still getting worse despite the previously introduced restrictions and there is a high chance that this is largely caused by asymptomatic people infected with the COVID-19 who are further spreading the disease without being even aware of that. For this reason, on October 8, the Minister of Health also presented his plan to test all Czech citizens for the coronavirus. This could be done by so-called antigen tests which are less reliable but can produce the results in a much shorter time. If planned successfully with doctors, this could be carried out in about two weeks.
Those people who have only mild symptoms and are hospitalized only for social reasons (that is because they have no one to take care of them) will be moved to hotels and spas that are now empty. This way, the capacities of hospitals could be increased so the medical personnel would only take care of those who really need professional care.
On Friday, October 9, the Prime Minister Andrej Babiš warned that another lockdown cannot be ruled out if the current restrictions aren’t followed. This is something that several epidemiologists and immunologists have already proposed since the epidemiological situation is serious and the number of daily new cases doesn’t stop increasing. The number of infected medical professionals (mostly nurses) is also growing rapidly.
Let us know and get your residence permit as soon as possible to be safe in the future in case the pandemic indeed returns in full force. Having a residence permit is the best way of making sure you’ll be able to return to the Czech Republic even if the borders are closed again.
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