The Czech government approved the reopening of museums and galleries in seven regions of the country.
The facilities can resume operating starting from May 3rd and under strict hygiene conditions, was decided at a cabinet meeting on Thursday.
On Monday, the government announced that aforementioned cultural institutions would be able to open in three regions with a favorable pandemic situation: Karlovy Vary Region, Hradec Králové Region, and Plzeň Region.
Four more administrative units were added to the list during the Thursday meeting. Those include Prague, as well as Pardubice, Central Bohemian, and Liberec Regions.
In addition to the mentioned institutions, no other area of culture will become accessible to the audience in the nearest future. Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD), Minister of Culture, said that the outdoor performances might be made available to the audience at the end of May or in June.
According to Zaorálek, the interior of the theaters are unlikely to open until the end of June, which marks the end of the theater season. It is inconceivable to him that all spectators would always undergo tests before a given cultural event. Minister also mentioned that the state would not be able to reimburse the organizers of performances for the tests.
Zaorálek noted that the concert of the Czech Philharmonic scheduled on May 10th would be a pilot project. It might shed light on how cultural events with a presence of an audience should be organized and whether the prospect as such is feasible.
Thanks to a sponsor, the leading Czech musical ensemble will receive PCR tests for the concert participants. The entire event will be held under strict pre-given sanitary conditions and only for a limited number of spectators.
Zaorálek elaborated, saying that similar pilot projects must remain exceptional and should not become the rule. This is due, among other things, to the price of PCR tests, which would hamper the relaunch of cultural activities.
On Monday, the government issued a statement according to which people in the mentioned regions will be able to visit museums, galleries, and monuments provided that each individual inside has at least fifteen square meters of space at their disposal. Visitors will be required to maintain a distance of at least two meters unless they are members of a common household; they will also have to use respirators. Group tours will remain prohibited.
The reopening of museums and galleries corresponds to the second easing package out of six presented by the government last week as a system of loosening anti-epidemic measures. No easing concerning culture is mentioned in the third package.
In the fourth one, theatrical presentations and musical performances in the open air will be permitted so long as the number of newly infected permanently falls below 75 people per 100,000 inhabitants per week.