Shops and shopping centers around the country will not reopen on February 22.
The vast majority of them have been closed since October, with a brief exception in the run-up to Christmas, and are scrambling to stock up and prepare to meet the stated safety norms.
“The pandemic situation is not good, the UK variant is still spreading. That’s why we decided not to open closed shops for now,” Havlicek said, adding the government will debate shop openings again next week.
Pandemická situace není dobrá, dál se šíří britská mutace viru. Na vládě jsme proto rozhodli, že zbytek uzavřených maloobchodů zatím pouštět nebudeme. V příštím týdnu téma ale opět otevřu a podle stavu šíření epidemie navrhnu další kroky. https://t.co/z2j4FgnlKa
— Karel Havlíček (@KarelHavlicek_) February 19, 2021
Just a few days ago, Minister of Health Jan Blatný agreed to reopen stores on Monday, February 22.
“Store staff needs to wear FFP2 respirators and will be expected to enforce the stated hygiene norms – safe distancing, only one customer per 15 square meters, hand sanitation, and facemasks,” said Havlíček on Tuesday.
“Although customers can cover their nose and mouth with a regular facemask, shopping malls should motivate them to wear respirators as well – by making them widely available, and handing them out for free at the cash desk or even upon entry,” he added.
Shops that could have reopened next Monday include clothing and footwear stores, furniture shops, bookstores and specialized shops.
The gradual reopening of shops, services and sporting activities was one of the conditions set by the Association of the Regions (AKČR) to accompany the request for a two-week extension of the state of emergency, which the government agreed to meet. The reopening of services and ski resorts has not yet been confirmed.
The health ministry recorded 11,553 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, a jump of around 2,500 from a week ago.
The official death toll from COVID-19 has reached 18,913, a daily rise of 174 which includes deaths from Thursday and revisions to previous days, according to ministry data.
The country, with a population of 10.7 million, has had one of the highest cumulative per capita death rates in Europe. In total, 1.135 million infections have been recorded since March 2020.
Current hospitalizations rose to 6,343, more than double the government’s target level. The ministry reported 519,757 vaccine shots have been administered.
As of Friday morning, 14% of intensive care and high dependence beds were available across the country, including 149 places for COVID patients.