Government discusses proposal for gradually easing exceptional measures
Starting Monday 20 April, tradespeople and farmers' markets will once again be able to operate, small weddings and individual consultations will be able to take place, and so will exams for students in their final years of university. This as part of the scenario for gradual easing of declared exceptional measures planned by the Andrej Babiš government at its meeting Tuesday 14 April 2020.
The government plan for a gradual return to normal of life in the Czech Republic in connection with the easing of preventive quarantine measures has five phases. The scenario, prepared by the Ministry of Health in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and expert epidemiologists, was discussed by the government. The first phase of easing is planned for Monday 20 April and would apply to the establishments of tradespeople, car dealerships and showrooms, farmers' markets (in Czech language) and training sessions of professional athletes under precisely defined conditions. Also permitted will be weddings with attendance of up to ten persons if specific hygienic conditions are observed.
Assuming the epidemiological situation does not deteriorate, the whole process should culminate on Monday 8 June, when even the largest places of business, shopping centres, indoor dining areas, theatres, castles and sporting events with attendance of up to 50 persons should be opened. This would mean that as of this date, professional team sport competitions could also start in a limited regime, albeit without spectators. You can find the timeline for easing of business and other activities in Ministry of Industry and Trade press release (in Czech language).
A similar scenario was drawn up in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport for schools in the Czech Republic as well. First of all, starting Monday 20 April, individual consultations and exams for students in the highest years of universities with a maximum number of five persons in one spot will be permitted. Secondary school graduation exams, "maturita" exams and those at conservatories and tertiary vocational schools, as well as limited practical instruction, will be possible after 1 June at the earliest, and secondary school entrance exams will then occur over the course of June. At present this scenario also counts on a return to schools solely for children up to 5th grade, and only in limited groups of fifteen children with one child per desk. Older students would only return to school over the course of June, again in smaller groups in the form of homeroom classes.
Timeline for easing of measures in both education and business activities
The preliminary plan to release business and other activities:
- as of 20 April – craft workshops, farmers' markets, car dealers, outdoor training activities of professional athletes, weddings of up to 10 people,
- as of 27 April – business premises up to 200 m2,
- as of 11 May – business premises up to 1 000 m2 (only if they are not in shopping malls over 5 000 m2), driving schools, gyms and fitness facilities without the possibility of using locker rooms and showers,
- as of 25 May – restaurants can open their gardens while serving food there, beauty services, museums, outdoor expositions of zoological gardens,
- as of 8 June - shopping centres, business premises over 1 000 m2, restaurants, accommodation services, taxi services, theatres, cultural events for up to 50 people, weddings, indoor expositions of zoological gardens,
- TBC in June – all the rest
The preliminary plan to release schools and school facilities:
- as of 20 April – individual activities leading to finish degrees of the students in senior year at universities,
- as of 11 May – students finishing high schools and conservatories can be prepared for leaving exams at schools, individual classes for students of elementary art and language schools, full attendance in schools at children’s homes,
- as of 25 May – possibility of attendance at primary schools (maximum 15 students in a class), group classes for maximum of 5 students at elementary art and language schools,
- as of 8 June – high school leaving exams and university state exams can be realised,
- TBC in June – entrance examinations for high schools and individual consultations for all other students not mentioned above.
Journalists met at the press conference on the five phases of easing exceptional measures, 14 April 2020. Source: Office of the Government
Ministers also approved further deployment of professional soldiers. Members of the Army of the Czech Republic will now be able to help out in situations of shortages or overburdening of employees in facilities providing social services if they are not able to secure sufficient staffing through their own efforts. The Army is prepared to allocate up to 360 soldiers. More in the Ministry of Defence's press release (in Czech language).
The government has also approved a proposal for securing care for the children of employees of Czech Labour Offices and the Czech Social Security Administration and district social security administrations. School capacity for these children must be provided for by regional governors and the Prague Mayor, just as they were required even now to provide for care of children under 10 for employees of security corps and medical service providers, for example. The government hopes to thereby allow employees of these offices, who are currently very busy handling administration related to assistance for people and businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis, to be able to fully devote themselves to their work.
The government took under advisement the information of the Ministry of Health on reactive purchasing of medical devices, medical equipment and other supplies for healthcare providers and other subjects in need in connection with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The ministry ordered 359 artificial respiration devices and 520 thermal cameras. A total of 44 respirators have already been delivered to the storage site of the State Material Reserves.
Ministers also approved the provision of a material donation to the Republic of Northern Macedonia. The Czech Republic will send Northern Macedonia a million protective masks to help manage the epidemic of SARS CoV-2.