Going to Czech cultural events might soon be possible – with a negative COVID-19 test

According to Czech Deputy PM Karel Havlíček, new changes in the PES system would allow for certain activities if participants provide a COVID-19 test

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 23.01.2021 16:07 (updated on 30.01.2021)

Next week, the Czech government will discuss potential changes to its PES system, which dictates the restrictions in place across the country based on current rates of COVID-19 cases and other factors.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček in an interview with iDnes.cz yesterday, among those changes could be the reopening of sports and cultural venues such as theaters, which have been largely closed for the past year. On one condition: entrants must provide a negative COVID-19 test.

These changes would be applied to level four of the Czech Republic's PES system, meaning they could go into effect as soon as February if current epidemic trends continue and the current level (five) is lowered.

"These are activities of a sports and cultural nature, plus educational events with the participation of over 10 people," Havlíček stated, noting that sanitary and social distancing measures must also be observed at such activities and events.

Havlíček also mentioned a separate solution for re-opening ski resorts, which he hoped would be presented in further detail next week.

The reasoning behind opening sports and cultural venues to those with a negative COVID-19 test would be that they already have the logistics in place to manage admittance through ticketing or membership systems, unlike shops and restaurants.

"In the theater, one comes once in the evening and has to show a ticket anyway; in that same area, a screening of tests can be done," noted Havlíček .

"But I can't imagine how it would be controlled, for example, in a restaurant."

Additionally, attendance at such events would be strictly limited. According to Havlíček, regulations under discussion would permit venues to admit 20% of their capacities, up to a maximum of 300 seated people.

Would it be worth it for venues to open to only those with a negative test?

"The negative antigen test will have to be a maximum of two days old, for the PCR test it is five days," Havlíček added.

Given that the country is currently administering around 30,000 PCR tests daily, and roughly the same number of antigen tests, this means that somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 people may be able to go to such venues at any one time. Or, about 2% of the Czech Republic's total population.