Despite recommendation from Prague's Crisis Staff, farmers markets still take place

Open-air markets have been operating as usual this weekend, despite record-high COVID-19 numbers in the Czech capital

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky
Published on 25.10.2020 13:54 (updated on 25.10.2020)

Despite a recommendation from Prague's Crisis Staff on Friday, farmers' markets took place as normal this weekend despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Czech capital.

"The Crisis Staff of the City of Prague is asking the organizers of large events in public space to refrain from organizing any event that could contribute to the further spread of COVID-19," Prague City Hall stated in a press release on Friday, which was reportedly sent directly to the organizers of popular farmers markets on the city's embankments.

"At the same time, it warns market organizers in the territory of Prague to strictly comply with the regulations of the Czech government, otherwise they may face the threat of administrative proceedings and the imposition of sanctions."

While photographs of large crowds of people at Prague's Náplavka farmer market yesterday made news stories and social media posts, organizers stated that visitors complied with social distancing and face mask regulations.

"People behaved very disciplined," Jiří Sedláček, chairman of the firm Archetyp, which organizes the Saturday Náplavka market, told ČTK .

Sedláček added that he did not yet know whether the Náplavka market would continue through the coming weeks.

According to organizers, long-distance photos of the crowded market did not convey the actual situation on Saturday.

Unlike earlier in the spring, farmers' markets do not fall under any of the country's current lockdown measures, which have closed most shops and services, restaurants, bars, and clubs, and cultural activities.

This weekend, police in Prague stepped up security at Prague markets to monitor compliance with the current regulations, which includes a requirement to wear a face mask at outdoor locations if less than two meters from others.

Police spokesperson Irena Seifertová told ČTK that two-person patrols at the embankment farmers markets had been increased yesterday.

"If the police found any violation, they dealt with it within their powers," Seifertová stated.

"If they were asked to help the organizers, they provided the necessary cooperation," she added.