Government accelerates scenario for loosening extraordinary measures, larger establishments can open starting Monday
Thanks to favourable development of the epidemiological situation in the incidence of COVID-19, at a special meeting Thursday 23 April 2020 the Andrej Babiš government approved an accelerated scenario for loosening the extraordinary quarantine measures. Starting Friday the rules restricting free movement have been altered and people can go out in public or play sports in groups of up to ten. Starting Monday, places of business of up to 2 500 square metres can also open, with the exception of those in shopping centres.
Starting Friday 24 April, the rules for moving around and spending time in public will change. Movement outdoors and while playing sports will be limited to a maximum of ten-member groups except in cases of family or carrying out one's profession, and people must maintain a distance of at least two metres. Congregations will be able to attend church services as long as there is no more than fifteen people in the church at once and the stipulated hygienic rules are observed. Association activities are also permitted, with no more than ten people in attendance at once allowed.
The Andrej Babiš government has also decided to accelerate the planned scenario for opening shops and places of business. Thus starting Monday 27 April, larger shops of up to 2 500 square metres in retail area will be allowed to open alongside the already announced smaller ones. Weight rooms, fitness centres and gyms will also be allowed to start operating on Monday, though without the use of changing rooms and showers. Driving schools and zoological and botanical gardens will also open with the exception of enclosed pavilions.
This easing of measures does not affect places of business in large shopping centres over 5 000 m2 that do not have their own entrance from outside, dining facilities with the exception of sale through a take-out window, or places of business where the service providers come into contact with the surface of the customer's body. All establishments must fulfil strict hygienic conditions and demands, for example in terms of maintaining at least two metres' distance between customers, and requirements for disinfectant and equipment. For example, in clothing shops, customers will not be able to try on clothes, while zoos will only be able to sell tickets online and so that there will not be more than 150 persons per hectare on the grounds. The further waves of easing should also be accelerated, as stated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade's press release (in Czech language).
Also starting Monday, students from lower years will also be able to start individually attending consultation sessions, clinical and practical instruction and practicums at university and going to university libraries.
At the proposal of the Ministry of the Interior, cabinet has also changed the rules for crossing state borders as of Monday 27 January. The group of foreigners who can enter the Czech Republic under the government-stipulated conditions has been expanded to include EU citizens that are coming to carry out economic activity or as university students. For Czech citizens and foreigners with permanent residence it is now the case that upon returning to the Czech Republic they must present confirmation of a negative COVID-19 test or go into quarantine. Details can be found in the Ministry of the Interior's press release (in Czech language).
The government has also agreed with the health minister's decision to lift the ban on admitting patients to spa rehabilitation care. Spa facilities will however only be able to accommodate clients one per room with the exception of members of the same household; shared meals and group procedures will also be restricted. The Ministry of Health has also lowered the demands for allocating beds for clients of social services with a documented COVID-19 infection in regional and Prague-based inpatient care facilities from 60 to at least 10 beds per 100 000 inhabitants.
Cabinet also approved the draft act on certain measures to mitigate the effects of the epidemic of the coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2 in the field of sport, which it will submit to Parliament for discussion under a state of legislative emergency. The goal of this emergency law is to help sports organisations that have been hit by the effects of the coronavirus crisis, as these non-profit organisations are not covered by any of the programmes for assisting economic entities announced by the government so far. For this reason the government is proposing expanding the powers of the National Sports Agency in order to allow it to prepare a proposal for a relevant subsidy programme.
The government also took under advisement the realisation of a Study of Collective Immunity SARS-CoV-2-CZ-Preval, which five major medical facilities in the Czech Republic joined starting today with the goal of determining through a representative sample of tests on the presence of antibodies to COVID-19 how many people in the Czech Republic have experienced the disease and have antibodies against it in their body. Information on the study is contained in the Ministry of Health's press release (in Czech language).