Daily news summary
Some coronavirus restrictions lifted in first step to reopening Czech economy
Some restrictions imposed to help combat the spread of Covid-19 were lifted in the Czech Republic on Monday. In the first stage of a road map unveiled by the government last week, workshops operated by various artisans, farmers’ markets, car showrooms and car repair centres are now allowed to open, provided they meet certain hygiene criteria.
From next Monday shops under 200 square metres not in shopping malls will be allowed to reopen. On May 11 the same will apply to shops of over 1,000 square metres. More services will resume on May 27 while on June 8 shopping malls, restaurants and hotels will open again.
First year university students were also allowed to return on Monday for tuition in small groups.
Hamáček: Failure to extend state of emergency would cause complications
The head of the Czech Republic’s coronavirus task force, Jan Hamáček, says that if the current state of emergency is not extended beyond April 30 it could cause a number of complications. Mr. Hamáček, who is also interior minister, said on Monday that it would no longer be possible, for instance, to purchase protective equipment centrally or to control the regime at the country’s borders.
An initial 30-day state of emergency imposed by the government on March 12 was extended by MPs until the end of April. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš had been seeking another 30-day period.
Zeman: Borders should be closed for year
President Miloš Zeman says that the Czech Republic’s borders should be shut for one year. Speaking in a radio interview on Sunday evening, the head of state recommended that instead of travelling abroad Czechs should savour the beauties of their country’s landscape, adding that he himself would spend the summer in the Vysočina Region.
The minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, said on Saturday that the kind of international travel familiar from before the coronavirus crisis would not be an option for Czechs this summer.
Prague police investigate thousands of misdemeanors linked to Covid-19 measures
Police in Prague said they had investigated nearly 2,500 misdemeanors at the weekend linked to measures aimed at curbing the coronavirus. A spokesperson said the most frequent issue had been people not covering their mouth and nose, which is now compulsory. In almost all cases a warning was enough to resolve the situation.
Members of the public called a police hotline to report young people in parks and homeless people not wearing masks. They also complained about cyclists not covering their faces in crowded spots.
Remodeling of lower part of Wenceslas Sq. now underway
Work on the remodeling of Prague’s Wenceslas Square got underway on Monday. The first part of the project envisages the enlargement of the pedestrian zone in the lower part of the city’s main thoroughfare, with more trees and less space for cars planned.
The renovation of the section of the square from Můstek at the very bottom to where trams cross from Vodičková St. to Jindřišská St. will cost CZK 330 million and should be finished by the end of next year.
The studio Cigler Marani Architects won a competition to remodel Wenceslas Square in 2005 but it has taken until now for the project to begin.
Czech football players return to training
The majority of professional soccer players in the Czech Republic returned to limited training on Monday, over a month after the coronavirus situation forced them to begin doing individual training at home. The footballers have begun training in groups of eight or fewer at many clubs and must adhere to strict hygiene guidelines.
There are six rounds of the domestic top flight league remaining. Those games are due to be followed by a “superstructure” in which the table is divided into three sections and teams play one another to decide the final order.
It should be sunny in the Czech Republic on Tuesday, with temperatures of up to 15 degrees Celsius. More fine weather is expected throughout the week.