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The government confirmed the partial relaxation of certain measures

Office of the Government, 18.04.2020
press conference

The care allowance for parents of children under the age of 13 who are unable to attend pre-school or school facilities as a result of the quarantine measures and for those caring for those with health disabilities within a joint household may increase from the current 60 percent to 80 percent of the daily assessment base. The relevant draft amendment to the Act on Certain Social Security Adjustments in connection with extraordinary measures for the 2020 epidemic was approved by the government of Andrej Babiš at an extraordinary meeting on Friday 17 April 2020.

The government has increased the value of the care allowance in view of developments in the epidemiological situation, which, according to the outlook for the coming weeks, will probably not permit the renewal of regular school attendance before the end of June, i.e. the end of the current school year. Parents who have to take care of younger children and because of this are unable to go to work may find themselves in serious financial difficulties because of this four-month long situation. For most employees, the current care allowance of 60 percent of the daily assessment base is only about 70 percent of their net salary. The proposed increase from the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, to 80 percent of the daily assessment base, which still needs to be approved by Parliament under the legislative emergency powers, would increase the care allowance to more than 90 percent of net salary for most employees. More information can be found in the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs press release (in Czech language).

The Government also noted new emergency measures from the Ministry of Health implementing the first phase of the government's scenario for the gradual relaxation of quarantine measures. From Monday 20 April, most trades will be able to open their premises, with the exception of barbers, hairdressers, podiatrists and other professions where there is direct physical contact with clients; car showrooms and car bazaars may start up, and students of the final years of higher education institutions will be able, subject to strict hygiene conditions, to go to faculties for individual interviews, exams or laboratory, experimental and artistic work in connection with their final dissertations. Outdoor markets are now also exempt from the ban, but even there sellers will have to ensure compliance with the established rules. Dog grooming salons will also be open from Monday.

From Monday 20 April, small weddings in the presence of a maximum of ten people will also be able to take place under strict rules, and professional athletes will be able to return to training at outdoor training grounds. Strict rules also apply to the latter, such as limiting any training group to eight persons except for their technical support team, prohibiting the use of shared changing rooms and showers, and a ban on any training exercises involving contact. However, athletes, including amateurs, will be allowed to make use of toilets, subject to compliance with strict hygiene rules.

Press Conference
Press Conference after the extraordinary meeting of the Government, 17 April 2020. Source: Office of the Government

The government has also agreed that from Monday 27 April an exemption from the ban on free movement will also apply to attendance at services of religious worship. A maximum of 15 people can attend a service at any one time, they will have to keep at least two metres apart and must disinfect their hands when entering. The whole act will be subject to the wearing of face masks; blessing with holy water and other similar rites are prohibited. Believers will also not be allowed to move around outside the main area of worship. Clergy will be obliged to disinfect their hands as a minimum before the service begins and then before the Eucharist.

Details of the changes adopted today can be found in the Ministry of Health press release (in Czech language). A summary of Ministry of Health emergency measures can be found at https://koronavirus.mzcr.cz/category/mimoradna-opatreni/ (in Czech language). 

Ministers have also approved a new emergency measure from the Ministry of Finance instructing governors and the Mayor of the City of Prague also to include in the group of children aged 3 to 10 for whom they are obliged to provide essential care, those children whose legal guardians are employees in the state Financial Administration and Financial Analytical authorities. The reason for this is that these authorities are key institutions in tax administration, or more exactly, in measures against money laundering and terrorist financing and their operation is absolutely indispensable in terms of securing the basic functions of the state and its financing.

The government has also approved financial assistance to two expatriate associations in the United Kingdom which provide much-needed health and social assistance to economically weaker members of the community facing the consequences of the pandemic crisis in the Leeds and Peterborough areas. These are the Comenius Schools in the United Kingdom in Leeds and the Compas Charity in Peterborough, to each of which the Czech Republic is donating 150,000 crowns. This money will come from the government's budget reserve and will primarily be used to organise a food bank, to purchase and distribute food to needy citizens at home, to purchase fuel for food distribution and provide medical assistance, social counselling and assistance in dealing with the UK social security agencies, provision of alternative home teaching in families at a time of school closures and the purchase of the necessary supplies and to cover essential costs incurred by the providers of such assistance. These are members of the Czech Roma expatriate community living in these areas and  already very strongly affected by the pandemic crisis, especially by a massive loss of income.

Autor: Euroskop