While the coronavirus has not yet fully disappeared, European governments are already releasing most of the restrictions previously put in place to stop the disease from spreading rapidly and minimize the pandemic impact. Life in the Czech Republic has mostly returned to normal, however, there are still some changes that have to be made for the situation to be the same as it was before the pandemic.
The “Traffic Light System” updated
On June 1 the Czech government introduced the so-called “Traffic Light System”, which divides the EU countries into three different groups based on the level of risk of getting infected with the COVID-19 in these European countries:
- countries marked green are safe with a low risk of getting infected;
- traveling to countries marked orange is not recommended;
- countries marked red are considered unsafe with a high risk of getting infected.
How exactly does this work? As of June 15 traveling to countries marked green is allowed with no restrictions. It won’t be required to give the reason for entering the country which means that traveling for the purpose of a vacation will be allowed as well. Neither Czechs nor citizens of these countries have to produce a negative test for COVID-19 or undergo the mandatory 14-days long quarantine upon their arrival to the Czech Republic from these countries.
Citizens of EU+ countries marked as red or orange continue to be bound by restrictions issued by the Ministry of Health (for example tourists from these countries aren’t allowed to enter the Czech Republic). In order to be allowed into the Czech Republic, foreigners still need to give a reason for entering, such as studying or working in Czechia. All details regarding this can be found on the Ministry of Health’s webpage.
It is also necessary to keep in mind that other countries have their own set of rules and restrictions regarding traveling and these rules must be still followed.
The same thing applies vice versa: for example, Sweden allows people to enter and leave the country with no restrictions but according to the Czech government it is a country with a high risk of getting infected and so when traveling from Sweden to the Czech Republic it is still necessary to produce a negative test for COVID-19 or undergo the mandatory 14-days long quarantine.
When traveling, remember, please, that citizenship or residence permits can also make a difference when it comes to being or not being allowed to cross the countries’ borders.
All the necessary information regarding the immigration process can be found on the Czech Ministry of the Interior’s webpage.
On June 12 the Czech government introduced its updated version: Compared to the original Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy, and Spain are considered safe. On the other hand, Portugal and the Silesian Voivodeship are newly perceived as high-risk as opposed to the UK which is now considered only medium-risk.
The “Traffic Light System” will be updated depending on the situation.
Traveling to Slovakia and other neighboring countries
The border between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was reopened on Thursday, June 4. Citizens of these two countries, as well as EU citizens with a permanent or long term residence permit in the Czech Republic or Slovakia, are free to cross the border with no restrictions. This means that it is not required to produce any documents when entering these countries, nor is it necessary to produce a negative test for the COVID-19 upon return or to undergo the mandatory quarantine.
Traveling to Austria and Hungary is possible from June 5 and the Polish border was reopened on Saturday, June 13. The only problem here is the Silesian Voivodeship, which is still considered high-risk, as the number of newly infected people is still growing rapidly, and borders with Czech Silesia and the North Moravian region.
As for Germany, the border controls have been eased and Czech citizens can return from this country without submitting a negative test for COVID-19. Entering Germany is possible for all EU citizens from June 15.
Face masks no longer mandatory outdoors
Another, albeit, not so significant change was announced on June 12 and concerns the mandatory wearing of face masks. As of June 15, it won’t be mandatory to wear them outdoors even if there are other people present nearby (more specifically two meters far from each other).
This change, however, doesn’t include public events (such as protests) during which the wearing of face masks will still be mandatory until announced otherwise. This also applies to buildings and public transport where they remain mandatory as announced by the Minister of Health, Adam Vojtěch.
From June 15, it is also possible to organize events for 2 500 people in areas with structurally separate sectors, such as sports stadiums. Each sector can accommodate a maximum of 500 participants and must have its own entrance.
Social distancing at the hairdressers’ is also lifted, some water attractions are reopened and people will also be able to buy snacks at markets, theaters, and cinemas.
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Let us know and get your residence permit as soon as possible to be safe in the future in case the pandemic returns – 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.
Sources: Novinky.cz article I and article II, Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic (UPDATE, June 29: The document was removed from the Ministry’s website), Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic and Seznamzpravy.cz