Raise a pivo in protest: Czech pub owners to make beer-mug chain from Malá Strana to Old Town Square

Government pandemic restrictions have pushed many pub owners and restauranteurs to the brink of financial disaster.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston
Published on 18.12.2020 09:08 (updated on 18.12.2020)

Owners and operators of Czech pubs plan to protest coronavirus restrictions by lining up half-liter mugs and candles stretching from the Government Office in Malá Strana to Old Town Square.

Jiří Janeček, who owns the Malý Janek restaurant in Jince, Central Bohemia, is organizing the Jan. 3 protest. Similar events should also take place in more towns and cities in addition to Prague.

“We will not gather together, we will not speak. We will only clearly tell the government: There are many of us and we have had enough!” Janeček told news server iDnes.

Janeček is a member of the Chcípl PES (Snuff the PES) initiative, a group that opposes government restrictions on pubs and restaurants meant to slow the spread of coronavirus. The groups’ logo is a dog with crosses for eyes and its tongue hanging out. PES is the acronym for the Czech government’s five-level pandemic regulation system and also the Czech word for dog.

The Czech Republic is currently in the fourth level of the PES system, which only allows take away or delivery from restaurants. The level dropping down again depends on the spread of coronavirus slowing down.

Creating “paths of hope” in Czech cities and towns should be the last peaceful warning, Janeček said. He wants to show the government that there are more entrepreneurs and self-employed people affected by anti-epidemic measures than cabinet officials think.

“We are not just about gastronomy, but also about hotels, artists, taxi drivers, fitness centers, our suppliers, our guests and many more affected groups. Many entrepreneurs cannot survive this pre-Christmas closure without quick financial help,” Janeček said.

Many pubs and restaurants rely heavily on the holiday season for income from parties and holiday events. With restaurants closed, all this potential profit will be lost.

Some pubs and restaurateurs that have joined Chcípl PES refused to close at the set time of 8 p.m. when the country was still under the third level of the PES system.

Janeček has invited political party representatives to his restaurant to see the impact of coronavirus measures and discuss the current situation with him. “Politicians do not realize what they will cause terrible tragedies,” he said.

According to previous estimates, half of Czech pubs and restaurants could close due to financial losses from pandemic restrictions.