Czech morning news in brief: top stories for Feb. 15, 2021

Germany widens travel exemptions, World Cup cross country races in Nové Město canceled, and Czechs spend more than ever on Valentine's Day this year.

Expats.cz

Written by Expats.cz
Published on 15.02.2021 09:16 (updated on 15.02.2021)

TRAVEL: Germany adds additional exemptions for commuters

Germany will allow commuters from the Czech Republic and Tyrol who work in vital professions to continue their daily commute, exempted from COVID quarantine, as of Wednesday, German federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer told journalists Sunday afternoon. The state governments of Saxony and Bavaria will determine which professions are vital, Seehofer said. As of Sunday morning, Germany introduced tougher conditions for entry after having shortlisted the Czech Republic as a country with a high incidence of coronavirus mutations. Saxony announced on Friday that along with the health staff, agricultural workers would be allowed entry. Bavaria opted for a less strict approach, deciding that all commuters whose employers designate as necessary would be able to enter. (ČTK)

ECONOMY: Czech economy won't reach pre-pandemic levels until 2023

The year-long coronavirus pandemic has deprived the Czech economy of hundreds of billions of crowns and tens of thousands of jobs. At the same time, losses have been distributed differently across individual sectors of the economy, with the services sector being the hardest hit, economists told ČTK. Industry helped stabilize the economy, especially in the second half of the year. Economists predict the economy will reach pre-pandemic levels next year at the earliest or in 2023. According to the Ministry of Finance, developments have shown the extraordinary resilience of the economy and the need for an active role for the state according to the Ministry of Finance. The economy fell by a record 5.6 percent last year. (ČTK)

SPORT: Czech Republic cancels World Cup cross country ski races

World Cup cross country ski races will not take place in the Czech Republic on Feb. 20-21 after COVID-19 restrictions in neighboring Germany tightened, Czech organizers said on Saturday. The decision came after Germany, which is due to host world championship races from Feb. 25 to March 7, tightened conditions for travelers from the Czech Republic, which has struggled to control one of Europe’s highest infection rates of the novel coronavirus. Organizers said they were discussing moving the event to March. Under changes, participants in the Czech races scheduled for Nove Mesto would need to enter quarantine in Germany and would miss races. They were unlikely to get any exemptions, the Czech Ski and Snowboard Association said in a statement. Read more here.

PIC OF THE DAY

WEATHER: Czechia wakes up to deep freeze; more snow on the way

A deep freeze was reported in the Czech Republic last night with temps in Šumava dropping below minus 30 degrees Celsius. Prague woke up to a freezing morning on Monday, measuring around -18.3 degrees in Kbely, the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute (CHMI) reports. The temperature also dropped to minus 30 degrees in the Jizerka frost basin in the Jizera Mountains. Elsewhere in the Czech Republic, morning lows most ranged between minus 20 and minus ten degrees. According to the CHMI forecast, temps will range between minus four degrees and zero throughout Monday. Snow is expected throughout the afternoon and evening in the Czech Republic. Tuesday night could see freezing precipitation.

VALENTINE'S DAY: Czechs spend record amount on flowers and jewelry

Czechs are spending more on Valentine's Day shopping than ever before. Over the past ten years, Valentine's spending has increased by 180 percent in the world and by 648 percent in Europe. The data comes from the annual Mastercard Love Index, which analyzes shopping behavior via credit card transactions around the world. In the Czech Republic, the number of gifts and experience purchases has increased by 2,863 percent over the last ten years. Individual items, such as flowers (1806 percent) and a visit to a restaurant (1037 percent), also recorded significant growth. Of the European countries, Russia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom spent the most on flowers last year. Expenditures on jewelry in the Czech Republic also increased year-on-year (253 percent) over the past ten years. Read more here.

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