• Prague bans slot machines, video lottery terminals


    Prague councillors have approved a ban on slot machines, video lottery terminals and other gaming machines. Live gambling, however, will still be allowed in casinos in many districts.

    The long-debated ban stems from concerns about criminal activity, including tax evasion, linked to gaming bars and the impact of compulsive gambling especially on poorer members of society.

    Although the ban is due to come into force in January, operators of electronic and mechanical gaming machines will not have to remove them until the current licensing period expires in 2024.

    Of Prague’s 57 districts, 41 opted for a total ban on gambling, while others voted to allow so-called live gaming in casinos, most of which operate in largely non-residential areas and cater mainly to tourists.

    Author: Brian Kenety
  • Weather forecast


    Friday should bring partly cloudy skies around the country with day temperatures between 21 and 25 degrees Celsius.

  • Mobile operators file complaint against planned auction for 5G frequencies


    The country’s three mobile operators - Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2 - have all filed legal complaints against the Czech Republic's planned auction for 5G frequencies at a Prague court, challenging the auction’s conditions, the CTK news agency reported on Thursday.

    The Czech telecoms regulator CTU launched the auction in August for frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.4-2.4 GHz bands, and has stated that one of the aims was to attract a fourth operator to the country to boost competition and cut data prices.

    It revised the conditions three times, but operators say it failed to take their reservations into account.

  • PM: government in control of coronavirus crisis


    Prime Minister Andrej Babiš  has rejected criticism from the opposition which claims the government’s management of the coronavirus crisis has been unprofessional and chaotic.

    In an interview for Thursday’s daily Pravo, Mr. Babiš said the situation was unpredictable and called for fast action depending on the circumstances.

    He said the government was in control of the situation and the priority was to try to protect high risk groups and keep the number of serious cases in check.

    The prime minister pointed out that things were complicated by the fact that, unlike in the spring, the public was now divided with regard to the preventive measures ordered, with some people acting like the virus did not exist.

    He called for inter-generational solidarity with those for whom Covid-19 presents a serious threat.

  • Consumer price growth slows slightly in August


    Consumer price growth in the Czech Republic slowed slightly, year-on-year, to 3.3 percent in August from 3.4 percent in July, according to data released by the Czech Statistics Office on Thursday.

    People paid more for alcohol and tobacco, less for postal services and telecommunications. The price of spirits increased by 9.5 percent compared to last August, the prices of beer went up by 3.7 percent.

    People paid 6 percent more for meat than a year ago, fruit rose by almost a quarter and sugar by 12 percent. The cost of rent, water, sewage, electricity and gas also increased. On the other hand, postal and telecommunications services cost four percent less than in the same period last year.

  • State begins delivering face masks and respirators to seniors


    All Czech citizens over the age of 60 will receive a free respirator and five face masks from the state, the government decided late on Wednesday. The author of the proposal, Interior Minister Jan Hamáček, tweeted that, starting Thursday, the supplies will be handed over to Czech Post which will subsequently deliver them to households. According to Czech Statistics Agency data for 2019, 2,78 million over 60-year-olds live in the country, that means roughly 2,8 million respirators and 14 million masks should be handed out.

    According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, the Czech state has 13 million FFP2 respirators and 75 million face masks which are either in storage or have been ordered.

    The move has been criticised by main opposition party leader Petr Fiala of the Civic Democrats, who said that the move is a “joke on the public”. According to Mr. Fiala the government has not delivered on its promise of a functioning “smart quarantine” system.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Face masks now compulsory in all indoor spaces


    As of Thursday Czechs have to wear face masks in all indoor spaces in the Czech Republic. The measure follows up on a rule enacted on Wednesday wherein people are required to wear masks in public transport, administrative centres and health care facilities.

    In Prague, the hardest hit region, it is also necessary to wear masks in shops, malls and post offices.

    While the measure is extensive there are several exceptions. Small children and the mentally impaired do not have to wear masks. Meanwhile, the general public is not required to wear masks while consuming food, drinking, exercising, or entering into marriage.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Wednesday sees amount of new COVID-19 cases in Czechia reach second highest number yet


    The Czech Republic saw 1,161 people test positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus on Wednesday, two cases fewer than the previous day which saw the highest rate of new cases in the country yet.  The number of patients who are currently fighting the virus lies at 10,218, the first time that the 10,000 mark has been crossed, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

    Most patients are experiencing mild symptoms. However, the number of hospitalised has increased two-fold over the past month (currently 244), with a threefold increase in the amount of patients in serious condition (currently 57).

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • PM: No travel restrictions between the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia


    The Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia are not planning any mutual travel restrictions in light of the current COVID-19 coronavirus situation, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said in Vienna on Wednesday, highlighting that this was apparently assured by his counterparts. Babiš, the Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovič had previously met for deliberations in the so-called Austerlitz format, a loose cooperation gathering between the three states that was launched in 2015.

    According to Slovak Prime Minister Matovič, the three states want to do everything possible to keep the borders open until the last moment. His Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz said that the number of coronavirus cases is increasing again in Austria and that the situation is therefore difficult, especially in view of the high number of commuters with the Czech Republic.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe
  • Karlovy Vary Region to subsidise tourists to visit


    The Karlovy Vary Region, home to the famous spa town of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary), will offer tourists up to CZK 300 a night if they stay in one of the region’s hotels. The aim of the scheme is to support tourism, a vital component of the region’s economy, during the autumn and winter months.

    The region has set aside CZK 3 million to fund the subsidy scheme, Regional Governor Petr Kubis said on Wednesday.

    Author: Tom McEnchroe