Blatny scolds citizens for socializing, puts new restrictions on restaurants, outdoor food stands

It's been only five days since the Czech government lifted restrictions on restaurants and bars – it didn't last long.


Written by ČTK Published on 08.12.2020 06:59:00 (updated on 08.12.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

Restaurants and bars in the Czech Republic must now close at 8 p.m. starting Wednesday, instead of current 10 p.m., Health Minister Jan Blatny told the press yesterday, citing the cabinet's decision in reaction to the frequent breaching of COVID restrictions by catering services.

Referring to the violation of restrictions, Blatny (ANO) said that restaurants have installed heated tents at their take-away windows for customers to consume meals. Some bars were overcrowded despite a directive limiting the permitted number of visitors. At marketplaces, too, meals and alcohol have been consumed in violation of the rules, and these will be banned as of Wednesday as well, Blatny said.

The Health Minister asserts these claims, even though police spokesperson Eva Kropáčová told the press this past weekend, "We did not encounter any violations and did not see any restaurants open after the 10 p.m. deadline."

Since last Thursday, restaurants and bars were allowed to stay open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. No one else but seated customers were allowed to be present, four people at a table at most, and the restaurant's capacity could be filled to a maximum of 50 percent.

Restaurants and bars have been shuttered since October 14 due to government imposed coronavirus restrictions, and only allowed to operate take-away windows. The restrictions were lifted Dec. 3.

"The cabinet agreed that the new measures, whose goal is to raise the probability of the restrictions being observed, will take effect as of Wednesday," Blatny said.

The loosening and tightening of coronavirus measures in the Czech Republic has been determined by the five-level PES national anti-pandemic system.

At present, the country is at the third PES level, with most businesses remaining open. The third level has been in force since Thursday, when the country switched it based on the improving risk index. However, the risk index has slightly worsened since and corresponds to the fourth PES level now.

Blatny said that the epidemic development reacts to measures with a seven-to-ten-day delay, which means that even amid the previous fourth PES level, people must have failed to strictly observe the measures.

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