Press Advisories

18. 3. 2020 16:29

The government requires the wearing of protective equipment and reserved time for pensioners to do their food shopping

The government has decided to require the wearing of protective equipment and reserved time for senior citizens to do their food shopping, 18 March 2020.
The government has decided to require the wearing of protective equipment and reserved time for senior citizens to do their food shopping, 18 March 2020.
At an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, 18 March 2020, the government approved several new measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. It is introducing a ban on any movement outside one’s place of residence without protective respiratory equipment. At the same time, for senior citizens over the age of 65, a time has been reserved for food shopping, from 10.00 to 12.00. Those “commuting” to work abroad will be subject to stricter curfew rules.

At today's extraordinary meeting, the government ruled that from 19 March 2020 people are prohibited from moving around outside their homes without protective respiratory equipment. Protective devices include surgical masks, respirators, face masks, scarves, head scarves or other means of preventing the spread of droplets.

The government has approved stricter conditions for cross-border “commuters”. They must restrict their movements within the Czech Republic to the strictly necessary minimum. “This is a special regulation. In essence, they will only be able to go to the shops,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. These “commuters” must now also submit to inspections for signs of any infectious disease when crossing the state border. If any symptoms are detected, they must give a biological sample in order to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus. They also are subject to all the measures resulting from all other resolutions, in particular the obligation to wear protective respiratory equipment.

As of 19 March 2020, the government has banned the presence in retail food stores from 10:00 to 12:00 of all persons other than senior citizens over the age of 65. Owners and employees of these stores are exempt from this. “Of course, our pensioners are the most at risk and we are concerned for them. We have therefore decided that starting tomorrow only pensioners may buy foodstuffs from 10:00 to 12:00. We still have to add drugstores and pharmacies to this, the Minister of Health will be preparing that today for the government’s approval tomorrow,” explained Andrej Babiš.

At the same time, members of the government are recommending that retail store operators disinfect shopping trolleys and baskets after every use. This measure also applies to door handles and handrails, which are to be disinfected at least once an hour. The recommendation to disinfect places often touched by people also applies to public transport operators. In particular, these are handles, handrails, door controls, handholds and seat supports. Here, operators should ensure disinfection at the least following each trip.

The Cabinet was today advised of a measure from the Minister of Health prohibiting providers of spa and rehabilitation care from accepting new patients, starting on 19 March 2020 .

The government has once again discussed the COVID guarantee. It is ready to transfer additional funds of up to CZK 10 billion from the operational programmes of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. At the same time, approval was granted to cover the costs of the Ministries of the Interior, Foreign Affairs and Defence in connection with the central purchase of protective equipment. The Ministry of the Interior will thus receive almost 1.1 billion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 118 million and the Ministry of Defence a total of 110 million crowns.

Support for Czech exporters abroad is being extended. The PROPEA programme will allow companies in certain destinations to hire a commercial export specialist and use its services to secure continuity of trade. The programme is being launched in ten countries - Morocco, Japan, Vietnam, Peru, China, Mongolia, India, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the United Kingdom and Mexico. More in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release (in Czech language).

The operation of Czech Railways long-distance trains is now to be temporarily restricted. These restrictions will apply to 6.6% of train journeys. The reductions will affect 39 out of a total of 589 trains operated on a state-contract basis.

The government has also approved the setting of rules and the establishment of a legal framework for the indicative tracking of the position of people in whom the coronavirus infection has been clearly confirmed, for a monitoring period and on the basis of their informed consent.

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