Press Advisories

6. 4. 2020 20:09

Exercising alone to be allowed without face masks. Government to allow some shops to re-open from Thursday

Exercising alone to be allowed without face masks. Government to allow some shops to re-open from Thursday, 6 April 2020.
Exercising alone to be allowed without face masks. Government to allow some shops to re-open from Thursday, 6 April 2020.
At its session on Monday, 6 April, Andrej Babiš's government set about partly relaxing its stringent anti-epidemic measures. People will be able to exercise alone without face masks as of Tuesday. On Thursday, certain shops that have been closed until now, will be allowed to re-open. Essential travel outside the Czech Republic will be allowed from Tuesday, 14 April.

Starting from Tuesday (midnight Monday) Czechs will once again be able to use outdoor sports facilities, parks and other public spaces to exercise alone. While exercising (including running and cycling), they will not have to wear face masks provided they keep at least two metres away from other individuals. No more than two individuals may exercise together (with the exception of household members), and they may not use indoor changing rooms, showers or other common indoor areas. What this means in practice is that people may now play tennis, foot tennis or golf, go horse riding, skating or swimming, for instance, as long as there are no more than two people on the playing area or in the group.

Collection points, scrapyards and composting plants can start working again from Tuesday, and from Thursday 8 April people will once again be able to go shopping at DIY stores, hardware stores, building supply stores, bicycle shops and bicycle repair shops as well as those shops and businesses already allowed. All merchants, whether newly re-opened or already permitted, will have to abide by stricter hygiene measures as of Thursday – they will have to ensure that customers in their business premises keep at least two metres away from one another. They will also have to make disinfectants available near goods subject to high exposure, and wear protective gloves when serving customers.

The Government has also decided to cancel the limitation on the activities of Czech POINT offices with immediate effect, so as to allow people to use these offices to attend to urgent official matters. The ministers have also decided to alter the emergency measure relating to the activities of local authorities. Representatives may hold meetings as long as they wear protective respiratory devices and keep at least two metres away from one another. They must also set up an appropriate way for members of public to attend meetings in separated areas. The Government recommends that municipal and regional councils continue to hold their meetings via video conference.

From Tuesday, 14 April, the current ban on travelling out of the Czech Republic will be relaxed slightly. Besides cross-border commuters and other individuals already excepted from this ban, people who can prove that it is essential for them to travel abroad for business or personal reasons will also be allowed to travel outside the country. They are to have as little personal contact as possible while they are abroad, and upon returning to the Czech Republic they will have to undergo a health check and quarantine.

The Government also approved a bill extending the deadlines for holding by-elections to the Senate, as prompted by the verdict of the Supreme Administrative Court. This concerns the by-election in electoral district 32 (Teplice). The bill assumes that the President will announce election dates so that both rounds are held by 30 June 2020. For more information about the agenda items submitted by the Ministry of the Interior, see the press release (in Czech language).

At its video-conference session the Government also passed other bills and will submit them to Parliament for discussion in the state of legislative emergency. The bill to mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 epidemic on the tourism industry is intended by the Government to help travel agencies in real danger of bankruptcy due to the necessity to return deposits to clients cancelling package holidays because of the pandemic.

The Cabinet therefore proposes that a one-year transition period apply to reimbursement of paid-for package holidays if the client withdrew from the contract because the holiday could not be realised. During this one-year transition period the travel agency will offer vouchers to clients for a package holiday in the same value as that paid for by the client.  The travel agency will only have to refund the money if the client fails to use this voucher within twelve months. This rule will not apply to clients who are senior citizens, handicapped individuals or otherwise particularly vulnerable groups. If a client purchased a package holiday for before 31 August 2020 and would have to pay a so-called cancellation fee if he cancelled it, then it will be possible to ask the travel agency to issue a voucher in the value of the cancellation fee paid and postpone the client's package holiday to a later date.

The Government will also submit a bill to Parliament on special rules for non-EU-qualified individuals to pursue the profession of doctor and complementary medical professions in connection with the 2020 epidemic emergency measures. This was submitted by the Minister of Health with the intention of allowing individuals from third countries who are adequately qualified but who have not yet requested recognition of their qualifications in the Czech Republic, or have not yet passed all the approbation examinations, to engage in medical and non-medical professions for the duration of the state of emergency and immediately after it ends. These doctors and paramedics are to assist their Czech colleagues in overcoming the current Coronavirus crisis.

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