Czech Republic to re-enter lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge
On Wednesday, the government ordered most shops and services to close to limit all movement to essential trips such as work and medical visits to curb Europe’s fastest growth in new coronavirus infections. The exceptions are the stores of the basic assortment. As in the spring, the sale of services in establishments will be banned. The cabinet also ordered restrictions on movement and contact with other people.
Exceptions are trips to work, shopping, to the doctor, or family. The new measures are intended to prevent the collapse and shortage of hospital beds. “Citizen’s lives come first,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The Minister of Health Roman Prymula admitted that first-graders would not return to primary schools on November 2, as promised.
Due to the surge in coronavirus cases, the government has ordered retail shops to close from 06:00 on Thursday until the end of the state of emergency, which is currently valid until November 3. The exceptions are the stores of the basic assortment. Also, as in the spring, the sale of services in establishments will be banned. The government decided on it today. This was stated on Twitter by Minister Prymul. Wholesale will remain unrestricted.
Exceptions to the ban on retail sales will be grocery stores, fuel, hygiene goods, cosmetics, other drugstore goods, pharmacies, dispensaries and medical devices, small pet stores, animal feed, and other necessities, glasses, and contact lenses, newspapers, and magazines: tobacco products, laundries, or dry cleaners.
There will also be car repair shops, providers of towing and troubleshooting of vehicles on roads, establishments enabling the collection of goods and consignments from third parties, gardening supplies stores, ticket offices, funeral services, florists, textile and haberdashery stores, computer and telecommunications services, consumer electronics stores, locksmithing, household product service establishments, car washes, household goods stores and hardware stores, raw material collection and purchase establishments or composting plants.
The regulation also does not apply to banks. “Banks have a completely identical regime as in the spring. There is an exception to activities that are not under the Trade Licensing Act. Banks should remain open,” Prymula said.
In large shopping malls, only stores covered by the exceptions mentioned above will also be open. Restaurant facilities in the shopping centers will be closed with the possibility of buying food with you in the dispensing windows.
In the spring phase of the epidemic, the government decided on March 14 to close deals with exceptions, which it gradually supplemented during March. It also agreed that only people over the age of 65 could shop in retail stores for a certain period. The timing changed twice at that time.
Until now, the obligation to cover the nose and mouth has been applied to shops and shopping centers, as well as in all other indoor spaces.
The government has ordered restrictions on movement and contact with other people.
From Thursday 6:00 to November 3, the government ordered restrictions on movement and restricted contacts to a meeting of no more than two people unless they were from the same household. Participation in demonstrations is also limited to 100 people. So far, 500 people could meet. A maximum of ten people will be able to arrive at weddings and funerals, with a limit of 30 on Monday. According to Prymula, the restriction of persons’ free movement is the most effective form of prevention against the spread of the epidemic, and the measures taken so far have not effectively ensured this. According to him, the new measures will take effect in two to three weeks.
Exceptions to the restriction of movement apply to trips to work, necessary trips to the family, provision of living necessities, volunteer assistance, provision of health, social or spiritual care, urgent official matters, participation in weddings or funerals, or departure from the Czech Republic. It is also allowed to stay in parks or cottages and chalets, but not more than two people unless they are members of one household. Prymula wrote on Twitter that the Ministry of Health recommends staying in the fresh air. Holidays in a hotel or guest house may not be.
According to government regulations, a maximum of 100 people in groups of up to 20 people will be allowed to gather at the demonstrations. The spacing between the groups will have to be at least two meters; all rally participants will have to have a veil or similar respiratory protection means.
The free movement of people was restricted even in the spring wave of the epidemic. At that time, the restrictions lasted from mid-March to April 24, people could only move in two and leave their homes only because of the journey to work, the necessary journey to family or close relatives, the way to necessities, medical facilities, and social services or for voluntary assistance. Authorities also advised people not to travel to their cottages.
In the spring, restrictions on persons’ free movement also included a ban on travel abroad because, in many European countries, the epidemic situation was worse than in the Czech Republic. The government feared the introduction of the disease into the country. Now the cabinet has not taken a similar step. The numbers of newly infected in the Czech Republic per 100,000 inhabitants are the highest in the EU.