Indoor facemask requirement to end on July 1

Photo: ČTK / Michaela Říhová

Facemasks have been compulsory in the Czech Republic since not long after the coronavirus pandemic hit the country. After previous partial easing, the requirement to cover one’s face will end completely on July 1 – except for in spots with a relatively high risk of Covid-19.

Photo: ČTK / Michaela Říhová
Adam Vojtěch,  photo: ČTK / Vít Šimánek

The Czech Republic was the first country in Europe to introduce compulsory face masks, on 19 March.

The move has been seen as effective in containing the pandemic and fewer than 340 deaths with coronavirus having been recorded in this country to date.

Under a relaxation in late May, Czechs were allowed to stop covering their faces outdoors, as long as they observed social distancing.

The minister of health, Adam Vojtěch, had further news in this regard on Thursday morning.

“We’ve decided to end the obligation to wear face masks in all indoor and outdoor spaces from July 1. The exception is regions where the epidemiological situation is worse. In such cases, the obligation would continue to wear a mask on public transport, at mass indoor events, or at outdoor events if one is closer than 1.5 metres to others.”

This means that in high-risk areas people would still need to use masks at cinemas, theatres, concerts, sports events and medical or social facilities.

Under present conditions, Prague and Karviná in the Moravian-Silesian Region are regarded as high-risk, though the situation is fluid and will be reassessed, said Mr. Vojtěch.

Photo: Lenka Žižková

Also revealed on Thursday was that restaurants and pubs in the Czech Republic will from July 1 be allowed to stay open past the current curfew of 11 pm.

What’s more, the maximum permitted attendance at mass events is set to increase on Monday from 500 to 1,000.

Trade fairs will be allowed to operate under a system where 5,000 people may attend at the same time, but split into five sectors, with no interaction between the visitors in any of them.

Also from Monday, as many as 5,000 fans will be allowed to go to Czech football games, up from the figure of 2,500 permitted since the beginning of this week.

Rastislav Maďar,  photo: Elena Horálková,  Czech Radio

These supporters too will be kept in separate sectors, each with its own entrance.

From the start of next season, after the summer, there should be a further easing, according to the head the group overseeing the relaxation of Covid-19 measures, epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar.

“If the epidemiological situation goes well, half of stadiums would be filled, whether for ice hockey, football or other sports. The system would be that every second row would be empty. People would be allowed to sit beside strangers. With every second row empty, people’s respiratory tracts would be sufficiently distant from one another during a game.”