New AntiCovid Team launches patrols along Prague's popular embankments today

Náplavka is often filled with groups of people despite the stricter lockdown rules in place since March 1.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 12.03.2021 12:42:00 (updated on 12.03.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

A special AntiCovid Team has started to assist the Municipal Police in patrolling Prague’s embankments to ensure that people comply with the restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus.

The two embankments of the Vltava river in Prague’s center – commonly called Náplavka, which runs on the left bank along Rašínovo nábřeží, and Smíchovská náplavka, on the right back along Hořejší nábřeží — have been popular spots for recreation during the pandemic.

“Prague’s embankments were, are and will be a place of a relaxed atmosphere designed for relaxation and sports. Currently, however, the safety of visitors comes first. That is why we have decided to use the services of professionals before the coming weekend,” Prague City Councilor Jan Chabr said in a press release.

“They should contribute to the fact that the embankments can serve their purpose even within the framework of government anti-epidemic measures,” Chabr added.

The purpose of the AntiCovid Team is to draw people’s attention to the need to wear appropriate protective equipment such as a mask or respirator, to observe minimum distances of two meters between groups, and to refrain from consuming alcohol in public.

People not wearing masks or respirators in public has been a key issue. Health Minister Jan Blatný yesterday confirmed that people on the streets must wear respiratory protective equipment. According to him, no exceptions can be made in this situation due to the more contagious British mutation of coronavirus.

“Given the current really unfavorable epidemiological situation in connection with the occurrence of a new so-called British mutation, which is spreading in the population 40 to 70 percent faster, it was necessary to recommend the use of personal protective equipment more strictly in the outdoor environment," Blatný told the Chamber of Deputies.

“From the available information, it can be assumed that the spread of the virus can also occur outdoors, if the person in question does not keep a distance of two meters and does not have protective equipment. This is not a transmission that is limited to indoor spaces,” he said.

The four member AntiCovid Team began its first patrol at 11 a.m. today and will work until 8 p.m. Under the current curfew conditions, people should be off the streets by 9 p.m. unless they have a valid reason such as going to or from employment.

The AntiCovid Team will work in addition to the regular patrols by the Municipal Police on the embankments.

“We will use the services of CrowdSafety, which has long specialized in ensuring the safety of mass events. They are a long-term partner of the Prague City Hall, and have ensured security, for example, at the Freedom Festival, which took place on Nov. 17 on Národní třída, Václavské náměstí and Albertov,” Prague embankment curator Petr Hozman said.

CrowdSafety also helped during the first wave of the pandemic within the activities of City Hall’s Coordination Center.

Tough restrictions limiting the movement of people came into effect across the Czech Republic on March 1. People are supposed to stay home except for necessary trips, but going out for exercise has been allowed as an exception. A medical mask or respirator is also required in urban areas. Restaurants and other eateries are also allowed to offer window service but not indoor seating. People as supposed to congregate together only if they are from the same household.

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