Czech government reopens borders sooner than planned, special regime with Slovakia

Photo: ČTK/Václav Pancer

The Czech government has moved to ease travel with three of the country’s neighbour states. All border crossings with Austria and Germany reopened on Tuesday, with only random checks. Cross-border travel between the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be eased as of Wednesday, ahead of a major loosening of travel restrictions in mid-June.

Photo: ČTK/Václav Pancer

All of the Czech Republic’s borders with Austria and Germany opened to travellers at midnight on Tuesday, several weeks earlier than originally planned. Rail crossings have reopened and, hard on the heels of Prague’s main airport, the country’s international airports in Brno, Ostrava, Karlovy Vary, Pardubice and Prague-Kbely have been allowed renew flights within Schengen.

Citizens of EU member states and citizens from third countries with long-term residence in the EU can now enter the Czech Republic for a period of 72 hours for “substantiated” reasons such as business trips or visits to close family. They will need to produce a negative COVID 19 test and say where they are planning to stay during their time in the country. Czechs leaving the country will also have to produce a negative COVID 19 test upon their return.

Travel between the Czech Republic and Slovakia will be eased from Wednesday, under a special regime. Czechs and Slovaks will be able to travel from one country to the other without the need to produce a negative test for COVID-19 or undergo a 14-day quarantine, if they return to their country within 48 hours. Health Minister Adam Vojtěch:

“I regard this as another step on the road to normalizing the travel situation. The reason why we chose to allow a more liberal regime with Slovakia ahead of everyone else is that it is a former sister state and many people have family and relatives there. So I hope this will make their lives easier. In the meantime, we are working on a major lifting of travel restrictions planned for mid-June. After that date only people returning from high-risk states will need to produce a negative COVID 19 test.“

It was later announced that the same regime will also be valid for Hungary.

The list of states deemed high-risk, which is currently being compiled, should be made public next week and will likely determine many people’s holiday destinations, since the price of tests and the hassle associated with the process is something many people will be looking to avoid.

The Foreign Ministry is currently engaged in bilateral negotiations with other countries to ascertain under what conditions Czechs could holiday there and if possible arrange a reciprocal border regime.

However, for the present time, the Czech Republic is still closed to foreign tourists and Czechs planning holidays abroad are looking for July and August terms at the earliest. According to the results of a survey conducted by the Median agency only 13 percent of Czechs are planning foreign holidays at present.