Czech morning news in brief: Top stories for Dec. 3, 2020

Shops, restaurants and services reopen, govt. may extend state of emergency, Czechs establish embassy extension in Jerusalem, snow and ice on the way.

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 03.12.2020 07:48 (updated on 03.12.2020)

Shops, restaurants and services reopen today

As of today, many COVID lockdown restrictions will be lifted in the Czech Republic. With the PES level downgraded to level three, all shops, service establishments and restaurants are allowed to reopen, and the night curfew will be completely lifted. However, people must still wear masks in all indoor spaces, as well as designated outdoor areas.

All shops can be opened now without exception. However, the number of people in any store will be limited to 15 square meters per customer. Restaurants, which until now were only allowed to have take-out windows, can fully open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. but the number of guests will be limited to four people per table. Hotels and other accommodation facilities can now open without restriction.

All hairdressing salons, cosmetic and manicure shops, are allowed to reopen with a limit on the number of customers to one per 15 square meters, they must wear masks and keep a two-meter spacing between clients.

The limit of gatherings of up to six people at events has been raised to 50 people outside and ten indoors. Up to 30 people can now attend weddings and funerals. Amateur sports events can now also take place, but spectators still cannot attend both professional and amateur sports events.

Museums, galleries, libraries, zoos and cultural monuments, will be partially opened, as well as gambling bars and casinos. On the contrary, theaters, cinemas and concert halls must remain closed. Even in the third PES level, cultural events can only take place without spectators.

Govt. to seek state of emergency extension for another 30 days

The Czech government will ask the Chamber of Deputies to extend the state of emergency by another 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic, PM Andrej Babis (ANO) said on TV Nova yesterday, adding that he is not satisfied with the current development of the situation in the country.

Health Minister Jan Blatny (ANO) confirmed this to reporters in the Chamber of Deputies the same afternoon. Babis called on people to be cautious now that pandemic restrictions have been loosened.

A state of emergency was declared by the cabinet amid surging coronavirus infections in early October and extended once in November, with Parliament's consent. The current state of emergency is in force until December 12.

The rise in COVID-19 infections has been slowing in the Czech Republic recently. Babis, nevertheless, said the daily increases in the new cases still remain high. "Unfortunately, the virus is still here and I feel far from confident from the Tuesday number [of 5,176 new infections]," Babis said.

He said only a vaccine against COVID-19 will be the solution to getting back to normal life. The vaccination will be voluntary and free of charge, he reiterated.

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"However, the numbers are not good. On Tuesday, we saw that it was over five thousand people. The main problem is that some people do not want to be tested and not because we do not have the capacity, but those people simply do not want it," he continued.

Czech embassy to establish branch in Jerusalem

A branch of the Czech embassy, now seated in Tel Aviv, will be relocated to Jerusalem in the first half of next year, the Foreign Ministry said, adding that this did not mean the establishment of a new diplomatic office, but services for Czech citizens.

In Jerusalem, where the Czech Republic has an honorary consul, one diplomat will serve, the Foreign Ministry said. Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (CSSD) and his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi discussed the issue over the phone yesterday, Petricek tweeted.

The Israeli government has welcomed the Czech step. Ashkenazi tweeted that he had talked to Petricek and congratulated him on the decision that was underlining the friendship and strategic partnership between the Czech Republic and Israel. "We want to enhance our relations and bring services of the Foreign Ministry closer to Czech citizens whose trips to Israel have doubled compared with four years ago," Petricek said.

Last year, the number of Czech tourists visiting Israel has doubled since 2016, when 17,000 Czechs visited the country.

Snow and ice will be replaced by strong winds and warmer temps. at the weekend

The Czech Republic will see snow, ice and strong winds in the coming days, according to Dagmar Honsová from Meteopress. Temperatures will drop by the end of the week, with temperatures rising significantly at the weekend.

"St. Nicholas weekend will bring a big temperature shift. In the east of the country it will be up to 10 degrees Celsius, but will feel colder as strong winds move across the region, with gusts ranging from 70 to 90 kilometers, hitting upwards of 110 kilometers per hour,” Honsová said.

"Snow cover and freezing rain will form in the east. With ice forming in the early morning hours and at night, roads will be slippery starting Friday, continuing throughout the weekend,” she pointed out. Thursday it will be mostly cloudy and overcast with snow showers.

There will be a mix of snow and freezing rain in Moravia-Silesia with temperatures fluctuating between -2 and 2 degrees Celsius. Weather with heavy clouds will continue on Friday. Night temperatures will drop to -2 to -6 degrees Celsius, and during the day they will reach 1 to 5 degrees, in the east up to 8 degrees.

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