Daily news summary

Major loosening of Czech coronavirus restrictions takes effect Monday

A major loosening of restrictions aimed at containing Covid-19 took place in the Czech Republic on Monday. In the final stage of a government roadmap to restart aspects of the economy, hotels and the indoors premises of restaurants and cafés have been allowed to reopen for the first time since mid-March.

Hundreds of thousands of elementary school children have been allowed to return; they will be taught in small groups and attendance is at parents’ discretion.

Face masks are now only required in enclosed spaces or in close proximity to others. Castles and chateaus are launching their summer seasons and swimming pools have also been allowed to reopen.

Mining halted at Darkov due to coronavirus outbreak

Mining was halted at the Darkov mine in Karviná on Monday due to a local coronavirus outbreak. A blanket test on all miners and their families revealed 212 cases of COVID 19 last week, and over 1,000 people who they came into contact with have been quarantined. None of the cases are reported to be serious.

Monday’s nation-wide loosening of coronavirus restrictions will not apply in the region. The ban on visits to hospitals and social facilities will remain in place and the regulation banning mass events for more than 100 people will not be lifted for the time being.

According to Health Minister Adam Vojtěch the restrictions could remain in place for at least another week to 14 days, depending on how the situation develops.

Supreme Audit Office criticizes Defence Ministry for mismanagement of finances

The Supreme Audit Office has issued a report criticizing the Defence Ministry for poor planning and mismanagement of finances relating to maintenance of army equipment.

It says that in 2016 to 2018, the Ministry of Defence invested 2.8 billion crowns in new equipment and another 1.3 billion crowns were spent on repairs, maintenance and spare parts.

Nevertheless, some of the equipment was not operational when needed or was grounded for longer periods. Inspections also revealed a dependence on suppliers or overpriced repairs.

Shopping hours reserved for senior citizens to be scrapped

The regulation which reserved a shopping window for senior citizens only between 8am and 10am in shops, pharmacies and post offices is to be scrapped as of Tuesday, May 26th, Deputy Prime Minister Karel Havlíček told the ctk news agency.

The measure was taken in mid-June to protect senior citizens - the most vulnerable group – from the coronavirus epidemic.

The government also agreed to lower the VAT on tickets for cultural events and the cost of accommodation services from 15 to 10 percent.

Writer and dissident Zdena Tominová dies at 79

The writer and one-time spokesperson for Charter 77 Zdena Tominová has died at the age of 79. Her philosopher husband Julius Tomin organised underground seminars in Prague and the family faced such pressure from the authorities in communist Czechoslovakia that in 1980 they moved to the United Kingdom, where one of Tominová’s activities was working for the BBC.

She drew on her family’s experiences in their native country in the writing of Enemies of the State, a film released in the UK in the early 1980s.

Prague Spring Music Festival to stream Plachetka concert on Monday

The Prague Spring Music Festival, which is taking place online due to the coronavirus pandemic, will stream Adam Plachetka's concert from Prague's Rudolfinum on Monday night, at which he will perform Franz Schubert's Winter Journey. The successful Czech opera singer will be accompanied on the piano by David Švec. Plachetka, who made his debut at the Prague National Theatre fifteen years ago, will appear at the Prague Spring Music Festival for the tenth time.

All of the Prague Spring Music Festival concerts are being streamed live on the festival’s website. All of the concerts should also be available for catch-up, or delayed streaming for a period of 30 days.

Weather forecast

Tuesday should be partly cloudy to overcast with rain around the country and day temperatures between13 and 17 degrees Celsius.