Confirmed: Outdoor seating areas of Czech restaurants can open from Monday, May 17

Those with a negative Covid test, proof of vaccination or recent recovery from Covid can enjoy garden seating; interiors will remain closed. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.05.2021 16:53:00 (updated on 10.05.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček has tweeted that restaurant gardens will be allowed to open from May 17. A maximum of four people may sit at a table unless they are members of the same household. Guests will need to be tested, vaccinated, or have already had Covid-19 to be able to visit outdoor seating areas.

The Czech government initially planned to open outdoor catering facilities when the number of coronavirus infections fell below 75 per 100,000 population in seven days. To date, there are 101 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in the Czech Republic, but that figure should continue to fall during during the week.

This afternoon Havlíček tweeted, "Gardens restaurants can open from 17/5 in the mode of max. 4 guests per table if they are not people from the same household. The condition is that the customer is vaccinated or tested on the basis of PCR/POC tests, or self-tests, or has undergone Covid-19."

Today saw the relaxation of another wave of Covid-19 restrictions including the reopening of the remaining shops and some services forced to close due to the pandemic. By midday, the Czech media was reporting lengthy lines outside several Prague shopping malls. Mandates on wearing face masks outdoors were also lifted, but they are still required at public transit stops and other places where people might be expected to concentrate or where distancing can't be guaranteed.

No date has been set for the reopening of the interiors of restaurants, but that step would be part of the fifth package of relaxation measures, which would take effect when the number of newly infected people falls to less than 50 cases per 100,000 over seven days.

Czech pubs and restaurants closed down on Dec. 18, after having been open for a short time at 50 percent capacity since Dec. 3. Before that, they had been closed since mid-October. Only window service and delivery have been allowed. According to industry experts, pubs and restaurants have lost CZK 100 billion in revenues since the start of the Covid crisis in March 2020.

The Inter-Disciplinary Group for Epidemiological Situation (MeSES) has recommended to the Czech government that it should not add any changes to the new wave of relaxation of the anti-COVID lockdown rules, the group said in its press release before the restaurant garden reopening was announced.

"Since the relaxation as of May 10 is likely to increase mobility, it is desirable to wait with further changes until its effect is obvious," MeSES said. Its influence should only be evaluated after 10 to 14 days, which would mean not considering further steps until at least May 20.

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