Czech daily news roundup: Friday, December 24, 2021

Czech Republic celebrates second Christmas under state of emergency, Prague Castle guard orchestra plays Christmas songs, and more holiday headlines. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 24.12.2021 09:56:00 (updated on 24.12.2021) Reading time: 3 minutes

Restrictions Czech Republic celebrates second Christmas under state of emergency

2021 marks the second consecutive year that Christmas celebrations in the Czech Republic have been limited due to a state of emergency and restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. In the Czech Republic, most traditions including attending church services, opening presents, and the traditional Christmas dinner take place on the evening of December 24.

This year, restrictions are milder than in 2020. While the number of visitors who could attend church services was limited last year, that limit is not in effect this year. Church attendees must wear a face mask, however. Additional restrictions that were in place over Christmas 2020, including a night curfew and the full closure of restaurants and cultural venues, are also not in place, though restaurants must close by 10:00 p.m. The Czech Republic's state of emergency will expire on December 25, but many measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic will remain in effect.

Music Prague Castle Guard Orchestra plays Christmas songs

The Prague Castle Guard Orchestra performed a 15-minute concert full of Christmas songs from a balcony above the third courtyard at Prague Castle on Thursday. The concert consisted of seven members of the Castle Guard's ensemble.

"During the 15-minute performance, visitors will have the chance to listen to beautiful carols from the Christmas Time Songs collection compiled and instrumented by Jan Pavel," the Czech President's spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček said before the event, inviting people to enjoy Christmas songs at the castle. The concert was also broadcast live on social media.

Shopping Large shops in Czech Republic to close from noon today

All stores in the Czech Republic over 200 square meters in size must close from noon today, December 24, and will be able to re-open on Monday, December 27 following the Christmas holidays. These restrictions on opening hours would normally be in effect under the Czech Republic's Retail Sales Act, but the situation this year was complicated due to the state of emergency, which expires on December 25. The Retail Sales Act is not valid during the state of emergency, but a government directive re-created its intended effect over the Christmas holidays.

Most retailers had previously announced that despite the state of emergency, they would follow the usual holiday opening hours. Exceptions to the Retail Sales Act and subsequent directive include gas stations, pharmacies, and shops at airports, railway stations, and medical facilities.

Mail Czech post office in Boží Dar sent out 332 kilograms of Christmas mail

The Czech post office in Boží Dar (which translates to "God's Gift" in English) sent out 332 kilograms of letters with a special Christmas-themed stamp this year. Popular among collectors for its unique stamp, which changes each year, the Boží Dar post office has continued the tradition since 1994. From December 1-23, letters and packages dropped off at the post office were mailed with the Christmas-themed stamp.

"The popularity of the Christmas stamp endures. There were days when we stamped up to 9,000 shipments by hand," says Daniela Tautermannová from the Boží Dar Infocenter. "If we convert it into total weight, then the year 2016 was a record for us with 386 kilograms. On the contrary, we recorded the least shipments in 2018, it was only 315 kilos. Our standard is 340 kilograms."

Skiing 43% of Czechs plan to take to the mountains this season

A total of 43 percent of Czechs plan to go to the mountains this winter season, according to a new poll conducted by ERV Evropská pojišťovna. The number represents a year-on-year increase of 13%. Most people plan to go to ski resorts within the Czech Republic. Of those who plan to spend time in the mountains, 15 percent will go between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Of those who plan to ski abroad, most are planning to travel to Italy, followed by Austria and Slovakia. Most plan to travel by car to their selected destination. According to the survey, 39 percent of Czechs plan to travel to the mountains in January, about 40 percent will travel in February, and 17 percent plan to ski in March. "Generally speaking, most Czechs go to the mountains during the spring holidays, which take place this year from February 7 to March 20," said Vlastimil Divoký, ERV's marketing and communications manager.

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