Majority of Czechs planning an ordinary Christmas despite epidemic, suggests survey

Photo: Noe Stirnemann

Despite the Czech Republic still being heavily affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic, a slight majority of Czechs does not plan to make any changes to their standard Christmas plans, according to a newly released survey conducted by the Median agency for Czech Radio. Nevertheless, a sizeable group among the population is looking to limit contact with friends and family.

Data shows that the coronavirus epidemic has been losing steam in the Czech Republic over the past several days. A downward trend is noticeable in infection rates and the reproduction number has fallen from 1.4 to 0.7 in the space of a month. The government partly reopened schools on Wednesday and has signalled its intention to loosen restrictions on personal freedoms and businesses. However, it has also asked the Chamber of Deputies to extend the ongoing state of emergency until December 20. It therefore seems unlikely that all will be well by Christmas.

Online retail stores have already seen a significant jump in sales this year and an analysis conducted by the country’s largest shopping site suggests that a Christmas boost could lead to as much as a 30 percent rise to their overall revenue this year. People have already resorted to buying in bulk ahead of the Christmas holidays and some internet retailers have had to set limits on the size of a purchase in order to prevent empty shelves.

Photo: archive of Radio Prague International

However, while the epidemic may be influencing their shopping, a slight majority of Czechs is not planning to impose coronavirus restrictions on how they celebrate, says Přemysl Čech, the director of research agency Median which surveyed Czechs ahead of Christmas for Czech Radio.

“55 percent of respondents do not expect to limit contact with their friends and family this Christmas. This is especially true among the age group between 18 to 29. Furthermore, those who say they would not take a coronavirus vaccine are most in favour of significantly easing restrictions during the Christmas period.”

Meanwhile, 43 percent of respondents said that they would be willing to limit contact. Among those who say that they would take a COVID-19 vaccine the number is as high as 54 percent. At least 50 percent of seniors and university students also say they want to cut down on contact during the Christmas period.

More than a third of respondents also said that they wish to spend less on presents this Christmas season, while 56 percent expect to spend the same amount as in previous years. This trend is noticeable among all age groups, with the exception of young adults, 12 percent of whom plan to spend more. Less than a tenth of respondents said that they are prepared to indebt themselves in order to buy Christmas gifts.