Breaking: New Czech anti-COVID-19 lockdown measures to close shops and services as of Thursday, October 22

Following a record rise in new COVID-19 cases, Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula announced the new lockdown restrictions at a press conference today

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 21.10.2020 12:49:00 (updated on 21.10.2020) Reading time: 3 minutes

After a record-breaking day when the Czech Republic announced nearly 12,000 new COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Roman Prymula and other members of the Czech government have announced a new series of lockdown measures that will close most shops and services from Thursday.

"We need to protect the health of the people first and foremost," said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš.

"If we do not take these measures, the health system will collapse."

With the exception of grocery stores, drugstores, pharmacies, and other shops providing essential goods (see bottom of article for a full breakdown), all retail stores in the Czech Republic must close as of 6:00 a.m. on Thursday morning, October 22. The same applies to hairdressers, nail salons, and other venues providing similar services.

In larger shopping centers, only the allowed shops may be open from tomorrow. Restaurants in shopping centers may still operate take-away windows (as well as restaurants outside of shopping centers).

Additionally, outside groups will be limited to a maximum of two, with the exception of family members from the same household.

According to Czech Health Minister Roman Prymula, free movement of people will be restricted, and only necessary travel should be undertaken, such as traveling to work or to buy food and other supplies.

All companies that are able to utilize home office are urged to do so, however.

In order to limit the contact of civil servants with the public, state offices have been ordered to switch to home office if possible. Public office opening hours have been limited to ten hours per week, and all visitors are required to make an appointment in advance; no queues should be formed at the offices.

Despite the restrictions on traveling, Prymula still recommends going outside to get exercise and fresh air.

Hotels will not be permitted to take guests traveling for leisure purposes, though they may still accommodate guests traveling for business.

The new measures do not affect the operation of nurseries and kindergartens, which may remain open. All other schools in the Czech Republic have switched to distance learning.

The new measures will last until the end of the current state of emergency in the Czech Republic, on November 3. At that time, the measures will be repealed, loosened, or extended, assuming the Czech state of emergency is also extended.

Prymula stated that the measures could start to be loosened once the COVID-19 reproduction number, the average number of people one infected person transmits the virus to, reaches 0.8.

The current reproduction number stands at 1.3, while about 30% of COVID-19 tests have come back positive in recent days. According to Prymula, Czech hospitals are currently at about 80% capacity.

"It's a huge burden on the population," Prymula stated.

According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the Czech Republic has requested outside help to deal with the epidemic, and 28 military doctors from the United States will come to the country to offer assistance.

The new regulations come the same day as a previously-announced measure, a requirement to wear a face mask while outdoors or in a car if less than two meters from other people, went into effect. The latest measures bring the country closer to the near-full lockdown restrictions that were in place during the spring.

Previously-announced measures that remain in effect through November 3 include the closure of restaurants, pubs and bars (though they may serve takeout and delivery), as well as gyms and cultural venues including cinemas, theaters, museums and galleries.

Face masks are now required at most locations in the country, indoors or out, for anyone coming into contact with others outside of those family members.

Shops and services that may remain open after Thursday, October 22 include the following:

  • Food shops
  • Drugstores
  • Pharmacies
  • Gas stations
  • Shops selling hygienic supplies
  • Cosmetic stores
  • Medical supply stores
  • Pet stores
  • Animal feed retailers
  • Newspapers and magazine retailers
  • Opticians and similar shops
  • Retailers of tobacco products
  • Gardening supply stores
  • Laundromats
  • Dry Cleaners
  • Car repair shops
  • Towing services
  • Pick-up points for packages
  • Funeral services
  • Florists
  • Tailors and other clothing services
  • IT and consumer electronic services
  • Real estate brokers
  • Tax and accounting consultants
  • Household repair and installation services
  • Car washes
  • Household goods and DIY stores
  • Composting and material collection services

This is a breaking story; we will update with more information as it becomes available.

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