Coronavirus update, May 11, 2021: Outdoor seating, open-air events, and fitness centers to reopen

May 17 will see a new wave of reopenings, hotels could reopen on May 24; plus vaccination opens for people 40 and over next week. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 11.05.2021 09:58:00 (updated on 11.05.2021) Reading time: 5 minutes

Outdoor seating at restaurants can open from May 17

Restaurant gardens will be allowed to open from May 17, Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček tweeted Monday. A maximum of four people may sit at a table unless they are members of the same household. Guests will need to be tested, vaccinated, or have already had Covid-19 to be able to visit outdoor seating areas. No date has been set for the reopening of the interiors of restaurants, but that step would be part of the fifth package of relaxation measures, which would take effect when the number of newly infected people falls to less than 50 cases per 100,000 over seven days. See our full story here.

Limited outdoor cultural events to be allowed

Cultural events outdoors will be allowed to host up to 700 people as of May 17, while indoor events could be allowed to seat up to 500 people as of May 24, Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek said. The audience will still have to show either a negative test for coronavirus, a vaccination certificate stating its holder was vaccinated 14 days ago at the earliest, or a declaration that the spectator was infected with Covid-19, but has already recovered within the past 90 days. The number of people allowed at events will increase as the epidemic situation improves. Cultural events might fully resume as of Sept. 1 without any capacity restrictions. Potential limits to cultural activities would be set locally based on the epidemic situation in the given area.

Indoor sport venues to open from May 17

The government will allow the operation of indoor sports grounds under a special regime from May 17, The president of the Czech Chamber of Fitness (ČKF), Jana Havrdová, told ČTK. The information was confirmed in the summary of the government meeting. Swimming pools, spas, saunas, and salt caves will still remain closed to the public. In indoor sports grounds, a limit of one visitor per 15 square meters of indoor sports ground will apply, with a maximum of two people in groups and a maximum of 10 people in total. It will be necessary to keep the spacing of at least two meters if they are not members of one household. People will have to prove their entry with a negative coronavirus test, a vaccination certificate, or proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the last 90 days. Visitors to sports facilities will not be allowed to use changing rooms or showers.

Vaccination opens to 40 to 44 year olds next week, then to all

Covid vaccinations in the Czech Republic will open to the 40 to 44 age category next week, and afterward it will probably open to all who are over 16 years old, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said after the Monday cabinet meeting. Arenberger said the military specialists who operate the reservation system had assured him that it would cope with being opened to the broad public. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš previously said vaccination should be open to people with public insurance over 16 as of June 1. As of midnight Monday, people aged 45 to 49 can newly register for vaccination.

Schools to switch to regular attendance as of May 17

Elementary school first to fifth graders are switching from rotation to regular school attendance regime across the Czech Republic as of May 17, as are sixth to ninth graders in Prague and the Hradec Králové, Karlovy Vary, Plzeň, Central Bohemia, Liberec, and Pardubice regions, Education Minister Robert Plaga said. If the pandemic development allows for it, the rotation attendance system will end for sixth to ninth graders also in the remaining seven regions as of May 24, Plaga said after the Monday cabinet meeting. Also on May 24, all secondary schools should fully reopen to students for regular attendance without rotation of classes. As of May 31, classes can restart joint residential outdoor lessons, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said.

Visits to hospitals to be allowed again

Visits to hospitals will be allowed again as of Monday, May 17, after being forbidden since January over the coronavirus epidemic with some exceptions, such as labor, visits of children, and those in a terminal stage of a disease, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said. Visitors still have to observe certain sanitary rules. Visitors have to wear respirators and show a negative test for Covid-19.

Havlíček: Hotels could reopen May 24

Hotels and boarding houses could open from May 24, Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček said. At the government meeting next week Havlíček will propose that hotels and other collective accommodation establishments can resume operations without capacity constraints.  

Revaccination might be needed after one year

Revaccination against Covid-19 might be needed regularly like the inoculation against influenza and might be required after one to 1.5 years since the second dose anti-Covid vaccine dose has been applied, Health Minister Petr Arenberger said.

"There are still discussions over the revaccination. For now, not all data are probably available yet. It is more an all-European issue and we will certainly join it," Arenberger said.

Arenberger said a new working group has been established to deal with the revaccination. Its first meeting will take place on Wednesday under the leadership on Deputy Health Minister Martin Havrda.

Three-fifths of Czechs want to get vaccinated against Covid

Three-fifths of Czechs want to have themselves vaccinated against Covid-19, most of them preferring the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and rejecting Sputnik V, according to an April poll whose results the CVVM agency released yesterday. Asked whether they would seek the vaccination, 59 percent of the respondents answered in the affirmative, like in the previous poll conducted in February. Twenty-six percent were opposed to the vaccination, compared with February's 33 percent. People with at least secondary education and elderly people are the most willing to get vaccinated. CVVM conducted the poll on 1,025 people from March 26 to April 15.

Pandemic continues to recede

There were 1,532 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection on Monday, 685 less than a week ago. Compared to last Monday, the number of applied doses against Covid-19 increased by almost 4,000, and medics vaccinated 73,998 people, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The reproduction number indicating how many other people on average infect one positive test has fallen slightly today from 0.82 to 0.81. It has been below the break-even value of one, which means a slowdown in the epidemic, since mid-April.  

Latest Covid-19 data from the Czech Ministry of Health (May 11, 2021)

  • New cases 1,532
  • Deaths 29,749
  • Currently hospitalized 1,884
  • PCR tests performed 6,919,695
  • Antigen tests performed 13,364,212
  • Total vaccinations 3,731,232
  • Daily increase in vaccinations 73,998
  • People with both doses 1,065,440
  • New cases per 100,000 in seven days 95
  • PES index 43
  • R number 0.81
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