Authorities in the Czech Republic plan to tighten certain restrictions following an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, which has reportedly placed a strain on hospitals. Effective Oct. 28 through at least Nov. 3, a nightly 2100-0500 nationwide curfew will be in place; however, persons may still engage in certain important tasks outside of their residences during curfew hours, such as performing essential work, purchasing medication, seeking medical help, or walking pets within 500 meters (550 yards) of their home. In addition, retail shops except forgas stations, pharmacies, and stores at railway stations or airports must close by 2000 daily; most stores will also be closed on Sundays.
Other restrictions in place include:
- Movement outside of curfew hours is restricted nationwide. Individuals may leave their homes only for essential reasons, such as travel to and from the workplace, necessary family trips, individual exercise, trips to parks and natural areas, and shopping for essential items.
- Indoor and outdoor public gatherings are limited to two persons from different households.
- Only essential businesses are permitted to operate. Many retail stores are closed.
- Employees must work from home wherever possible.
- Hotels and lodging facilities are only open for business travelers.
- Weddings and funerals are limited to 10 people. Protests and demonstrations are limited to a maximum of 100 people in clusters of no more than 20 people.
- Restaurants, bars, and similar establishments remain closed; however, takeout is permitted until 2000.
- The use of protective face coverings is mandatory in all indoor public areas, on public transportation, and outdoors when social distancing of two meters (six feet) between people cannot be observed.
- Schools, except for preschools, are closed and classes have moved to online learning modules.
- Casinos and indoor sports facilities, including indoor swimming pools, gyms, and wellness centers, remain closed.
The country remains in a state of emergency, which was declared Oct. 5 and will be in effect for at least 30 days.
Travelers from EEA countries - with the exception of continental Spain - as well as persons arriving from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Tunisia, and the UK, are allowed to enter the Czech Republic without restriction. Such travelers who have spent at least 12 hours in the last 14 days in a country classified as high risk must fill out an electronic arrival form before departure. They must also either produce proof of having tested negative for COVID-19 using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken in an EU or EEA country within no more than 72 hours before arrival, or take a COVID-19 test within five days upon arrival and submit the result to the relevant regional public health office within seven days after arrival. Individuals who take the test upon arrival are required to limit their movements to include only work- or education-related activities, procuring essential goods and medical services, and taking care of animals or children until the results are known. Individuals whose test results are positive must self-isolate for 14 days.
Travel from all other countries is prohibited. Exceptions to the travel ban include residents of countries where travel restrictions have been lifted, close family members of Czech residents, persons in a relationship with a Czech citizen or resident, diplomats, transport workers, and those with urgent circumstances are decided on a case-by-case basis.
Authorities could ease, tighten, extend, or otherwise amend restrictions at any time depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.