Government approves the rules for relaxing emergency measures from 11 May, state of emergency remains in force until 17 May
At an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, 30 April, the government of Andrej Babiš approved the extension of the state of emergency until 17 May. Ministers also agreed on precise rules for the next phase of the relaxation of the emergency measures from 11 May, a proposal to help cultural facilities and artists, and a bill to abolish property purchase tax.
The state of emergency will remain in force in the Czech Republic until 17 May. This extension was decided on by the government of Andrej Babiš on the basis of consent granted by the Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, 28 April. A state of emergency due to the coronavirus epidemic has been in force in the Czech Republic since 12 March. At the same time, all measures taken by the government due to the state of emergency have been automatically extended and have remained in force to date.
At the same time, ministers have agreed on partial changes to the emergency measures already in force, as well as the rules under which another major wave of relaxation of existing restrictions will take place; this is due to start on Monday, 11 May.
The government agreed from Friday, 1 May exemptions from the obligation to wear face masks in public for those with severe mental illness. Moderators and editors of television and radio programmes will not have to wear face masks if they are alone in the studio, nor will actors and dancers in theatres or during filming, nor children under the age of seven while at kindergarten or in a children's play group. More in the Ministry of of Health press release (in Czech language).
The government has also approved an exception to the limitation on the number of persons for a service in the Cathedral of Sts Vitus, Václav and Vojtěch in Prague on 5 May 2020, which will take place on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Prague Uprising. Up to 60 people will be able to attend this service.
From 11 May, the government has added to the already approved scenario for example, the activities of museums and galleries, cinemas, theatres, circuses and similar establishments, provided that they comply with the limits and restrictions already laid down. For these, but also for sports, religious, club and other public events, as well as for weddings or training sessions of athletes, the number of participants will be limited to one hundred at any one time, will still not be able to use facilities except toilets and will have to meet a number of hygiene conditions, including keeping a distance of at least two metres between people.
The government has also set clear rules for the operation of hairdressers, pedicurists, massages and other establishments, as well as large shopping centres, which will also be able to open on 11 May. At the same time, the ban on trying on clothes will be lifted on that date. As in the case of footwear, after prior disinfection of the customer's hands and following return in the event of a complaint or for other reasons, these goods will have to be stored separately from other goods for 24 hours before it will be possible to offer these goods again to customers. Full text of crisis measures about ban on retail sales and sale of services (in Czech language) and about the restriction of free movement (in Czech language) with effect from 11 May 2020.
Elementary, secondary and art schools will also be able to partially open from 11 May. In addition to the previously announced graduating years and the final years of conservatoires and higher vocational schools, individual teaching, for example in language schools and school attendance in schools at children's homes, educational and diagnostic institutions, children from the ninth grade of elementary schools will also be able to go to school. Their participation at school will be voluntary, in order to prepare for the secondary school entrance examinations, and like other students, children will have to bring to school an affidavit that they are not showing any symptoms of Covid-19. For all types of teaching, including university teaching, there will be the restriction that there may not be more than 15 people in any one class or group. A new timetable for relaxation of measures in education can be found in the Ministry of Education press release (in Czech language).
Ministers have also decided on a partial amendment to the rules for crossing borders for cross-border commuters from 1 May 2020. For them, a new test for Covid-19 with a negative result will be sufficient every 30 days, not every 14 days as before. If they are unable to provide this confirmation, they will have the opportunity to submit it retrospectively to the relevant regional hygiene station within 72 hours and, in the event of a negative finding, will not have to undergo mandatory quarantine. Appropriate crisis measure ( in Czech language).
The government has also agreed an increase in funds for the salaries of employees of the security forces and the armed forces in the service of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic of 52.9 million CZK. The money will be used for remuneration related to increased work demands during the coronavirus crisis. Among other things, the prison service has managed to prevent the penetration of Covid-19 among domestic prisoners by rigorously implementing the adopted measures. A further 16.65 million CZK has been released by the government to cover the expenses of the Prison Service incurred on the production of personal protective equipment.
The government has also discussed several important legislative proposals. It has approved a bill that to abolish the property purchase tax, with retroactive effect. The tax of 4 percent of the total purchase price will not have to be paid by anyone who acquired property in December 2019 at the latest, and if this tax has already paid, it will be refunded. However, the time test for income from the sale of immovable property not intended for own residential use has been extended, from five to ten years. More information in the press release of the Ministry of Finance (in Czech language).
The government has also approved a Budget strategy for the public institutions sector of the Czech Republic for the period 2021 to 2023 and the related Convergence Programme of the Czech Republic, which will be submitted to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. The government calculates that in 2021 state budget expenditures will reach 1,792 billion CZK, in 2022 1,811 billion CZK and in 2023 1,825 billion CZK. The structural balance should thus reach minus 4 percent of GDP in 2021. More in the Ministry of Finance press release ( in Czech language).
Ministers have also approved a bill on certain measures to mitigate the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic on cultural events, as an aid to Czech culture. As in the case of travel agencies, cultural event organisers may offer a customer who has already purchased a ticket for an event with an expected date up to 31 October 2020 a voucher for a replacement event or the same event to be held on an alternative date. More information in the press release of the Ministry of Culture (in Czech language).