Daily news summary

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More shops and services reopen around the country

More shops and services reopened around the country on Monday within a phased-out easing of the government-imposed coronavirus restrictions.

Shops the size of up to 2,500 square meters that have their own entrance and are not located in large shopping centres are free to reopen, under strict hygiene conditions, as are driving schools, gyms and fitness centres, although without the use of showers and changing rooms.

The Prague Zoo also reopened to visitors on Monday, although tickets are only available online.

The government will also reportedly debate the possibility of speeding up the reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants. According to the present timetable pubs cafes and restaurants with outdoor spaces can reopen on May 11, indoor spaces as of May 25.

Number of coronavirus cases decreasing nationwide, Cheb region having problems

The number of registered coronavirus cases in the Czech Republic reached 7404 on Monday morning, up by 52 on Sunday, the smallest daily increase since March 14. 4,628 persons are fighting the disease, of those 360 are hospitalized. Over 2,500 people have recovered, 221 people have died.

While the situation has been improving around the country the Cheb area on the country’s western border reports a sharp increase in the number of cases. The town Mariánské Lázně reports 51 cases, an increase of 42 in the past week.

Skoda Auto renews production in all three plants

The car maker Skoda Auto has renewed production in all three of its plants located in Mladá Boleslav, Kvasiny and Vrchlabí, company board member Bohdan Vojnar told the ctk news agency on Monday.

The plants are operating on two instead of the usual three shifts in order to leave time for the strict hygiene measures that need to be taken between shifts.

The car makers 2,500 Polish workers will not be able to return to work for the time being. Skoda Auto stopped production on March 18.

Czech businesses say government aid “too little, too late”

Many Czech firms and businesses hit by the coronavirus restrictions claim that the government’s support programs have left them out in the cold or that the financial aid has been late in coming.

In the first wave, the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank received 3,200 applications for state support, but according to the bank, less than 200 companies will receive help. The others have been told they do not fulfil the stated conditions for aid.

The Vice President of the Confederation of Industry and Transport Radek Špicar says the coming days may decide the fate of many Czech companies.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade is already preparing a third aid program for entrepreneurs, but just days ahead of its launch companies still do not know the exact conditions for aid within COVID III.

Czech foreign minister: Prague ready to negotiate moving Marshal Konev statue to Russia

The Czech Republic is open to discussions about the transfer of the statue of Marshal Ivan Konev, which until recently stood in Prague 6, to Russia, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told the daily Hospodářské Noviny. The statue of the marshal had raised controversy in the Czech Republic due to the marshal’s participation in the brutal suppression of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was removed by the local authorities in April after it was repeatedly vandalized. The decision sparked outrage in Russia, which accused Prague of violating the 1993 treaty signed between the two countries.

The Czech foreign minister dismissed the accusation saying that the 1993 treaty only commits both sides to the dignified treatment of each other’s monuments and their protection from damage.

The statue of the controversial marshal who liberated Prague in 1945, but also had an active role in crushing the Hungarian Uprising and building the Berlin Wall, has been at the centre of a diplomatic row between the two countries for some time.

Senators petition Constitutional Court not to allow surface application of a poison against voles

A group of senators has petitioned the Constitutional Court to annul a regulation allowing the blanket surface application of a poison against voles, the so-called Stutox II, in fields, orchards, meadows and vineyards at risk of severe damage to crops and fruit.

The regulation was issued in March by the Central Agricultural Inspection and Testing Institute (ÚKZÚS).It allows a limited and controlled use of Stutox on land where the so-called harmful threshold of voles has been exceeded five times.

Environmentalists say Stutox II presents a serious threat to birds and other animals, including household pets, and that its use violates the law on landscape protection.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be clear to partly cloudy with day temperatures between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius.