Czech Republic opens up to more tourists from Europe and beyond as coronavirus travel restrictions eased

More tourists are now allowed to travel to the Czech Republic after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs updated its “traffic light” map of Europe and marked a further eight non-EU states as having a low enough COVID-19 pandemic risk to visit the country.

As of Tuesday, Britain and Belgium are no longer seen as orange, “medium risk” states on the Foreign Ministry’s coronavirus travel map of the Schengen zone, meaning that tourists from these countries are again allowed to travel to the Czech Republic.

The update was first announced at a press conference held by Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček on Monday, who told Czech Radio that he was particularly happy about changes in the designation of the last travel restricted region neighbouring the Czech border.

“I am glad that from [Tuesday] the whole of Poland should be in the green category. This should eliminate border controls with the Silesian Voivodship [which was in the red until now].

“In the case of Portugal, the situation is also improving and, from Tuesday, Portugal should fall into the orange category.”

Tomáš Petříček, photo: archive of the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic

With Portugal and Silesia moving up on the scale, Sweden remains the last “high risk” country on the Foreign Ministry’s map of Schengen states. As far as the other Schengen members are concerned, their designation as “low risk” remains the same.

Aside from updates to the “traffic light” map, the foreign minister also announced the EU will be opening up its borders to tourists from 15 non-member states.

“The topic discussed over the past days was whether, when and under what conditions will it be possible to travel to non-EU states.

“We stressed that such an agreement should be unanimously accepted by all EU member states, as the situation is already messy right now and a different approach would only complicate things further.

“For practical reasons, this would be beneficial for example for a Czech tourist traveling to Tunisia, Asian states, or Turkey, who can thus take the trip from Prague or Berlin under the same rules.”

The EU did indeed release its list later that day. It contains Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. Tourists from these countries should therefore be permitted to enter the EU from July 1. China was also floated under the condition that the Chinese government offers a reciprocal travel deal for citizens of European Union countries.

However, the Czech Republic has only agreed to travellers from eight of these states being allowed entry to the country, namely Montenegro, Serbia, Thailand, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea.

This selection was based around conditions outlined by Mr Petříček, who stressed that the Czech Republic was especially open to travel from the Balkan states, as well as COVID-19 safe countries in Asia, but with the express wish that those countries reciprocate the lifting of the travel ban to Czech tourists as well.

In the end, reciprocal agreements, allowing travel also for Czech tourists without a COVID-19 test, was reached in the cases of Montenegro and Serbia. In regard to the other states, this condition was not met, but the ministry decided to allow travel to the Czech Republic, in part, because of Czechs who may be returning from these countries.

The EU’s travel map is set to be updated every two weeks.