“The Czech state is ready to pay at least a third of the rent to companies and entrepreneurs who had to close their businesses from March 12 (when the state of emergency was declared), to the end of June. One-third of the rent should be paid by the tenant, one third by the landlord and one third by the state,” said Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to the iDNES.cz server.
The government should discuss the details of this new proposal next week, but no later than May 11.
“We are doing our best to help companies. We will extend the kurzarbeit program and come up with a proposal to postpone social security payments,” added Babiš.
If the state participates in paying the rent for a third, it would cost about 3 billion CZK. “We can help shopping centers, thousands of pubs, small shops, and hairdressers, whose landlords agree to forgive a third of the rent,” said Babiš.
Previously, the Czech government agreed to allow companies to defer payments for social security and health insurance for the months of May, June, and July.
It’s a move designed to allow companies to concentrate their available cash on covering their wage bill that many managers said would be more useful than the complicated process of applying for low-interest loans from the state.
From May 11, ninth-graders students will return to school, cinemas, and theaters, can reopen. Minister of Health added that there will be strict rules for visitors, such as a safe distance between them.
Sports and cultural events (up to 100 people) will be able to take place again. The rule will also applies to weddings and church services.
Since March, the coronavirus has been confirmed in 7,740 cases. To date, 3,378 people have recovered from Covid-19, while 241 patients have died.
The Czech Republic reported just 52 more cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, the smallest daily increase since March 14.
The country had 7,404 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection by Monday morning. So far 2,555 people have recovered and 221 people have died, only one more in the last 24 hours.
From Monday, April 27, shops of up the 2,500 m² will be allowed to reopen if they’re not located in large shopping centers, as well as gym and fitness centers, outdoor zoos and gardens, driving schools, libraries and church services of up to 15 people.
Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček (CSSD) during an interview to CT on Sunday evening believes that “from July, Czech tourists could visit Slovakia or Austria, or even earlier in case of favorable developments.”
“Regarding Italy, France, or the United States, it is premature to talk about traveling to these countries,” he added.
5,508 (out of the planned 27,000) people have been tested for the coronavirus antibodies to gain information on how many came into contact with the infection.
Seven percent of Czechs who were active in terms of work before the coronavirus pandemic have lost their jobs, according to the latest survey “Life during a pandemic” conducted by PAQ Research and IDEA AntiCovid initiative.
Job losses have now occurred for 24 percent of the self-employed individuals and 3 percent of employees.
More than a third of employees said that their employment contract or work activities were adjusted for reduced hours (11 percent), reduced wages (8 percent) and benefits (8 percent). Others have been forced to take care of their children (6 percent), experienced forced leave (9 percent), and had a loss of income from an employment contract (4 percent).
The decline in the number of hours worked has stabilized compared to the end of March. About 30 to 35 percent of people working before the epidemic claims they now work up to 20 hours a week, and about 50 to 55 percent have maintained their full-time working hours of 40 hours a week or more.
Roughly a quarter of respondents who were active in terms of work before the epidemic have a relatively strong fear of losing their job.
More than 40 percent of people whose working conditions have changed, as well as about a third of people with lower qualifications and those who were poor before the epidemic, are also fearful of this outcome.
The number of those partially affected by the decline in household income has increased slightly since the end of March.
About 36 percent of households participating in the survey have savings that would be enough for a maximum of one month if they did not have any other income.
Roughly seven percent of people belong to a high-risk category, in which households have lost at least half of income and have savings for only one month. This group greatly consists of the self-employed, single parents and people whose working hours have changed.
The survey shows that 14 percent of households are still considering some radical solutions, such as loans, a sale of a property, and the search for cheaper housing. This applies to about a quarter of respondents from the group identified as vulnerable.
Thanks to the mortgage and rent payments deferment, the situation for households has improved, however, there are still some households that already had problems repaying long-term financial liabilities even before the crisis.
Czech PM Andrej Babiš sees no reason to extend the State of Emergency, which expires on April 30.
The government will discuss it further on Thursday. According to Babiš, the whole ANO party will vote unanimously against the extension.
However, ČSSD chairman and the head of the country’s Central Crisis Staff, has repeatedly stated that an “extension of the State of Emergency would be necessary.”
“If the Prime Minister does not want to extend the State of Emergency, then it makes no sense to ask the government. I will order the Ministry of Internal Affairs to prepare the documents to stop the centralized distribution of protective equipment by April 30,” wrote Hamáček on Twitter.
“>Můj dopis panu premiérovi, v němž vysvětluji důvody pro pokračování nouzového stavu: pic.twitter.com/jCNvzj1Fkl
— Jan Hamáček (@jhamacek) April 21, 2020
Hamáček warned that it would no longer be possible, for instance, to purchase protective equipment centrally or to control the regime at the country’s borders.
Minister of Labor Jana Maláčová (ČSSD) is also skeptical about the consequences of the end of the State of Emergency on April 30. “If this happens, I want to know how to protect the elderly after the emergency, how we will help Czech companies, families and individuals to overcome this crisis. The emergency can be “canceled”, but it will not eliminate the real need of people,” she said to Novinky.cz
In the morning, the members of TOP 09 confirmed that they would not support further emergency extension.
The termination of the State of Emergency mode does not mean the automatic cancellation of restrictive measures.
The main point is that the Czech government will no longer be able to quickly and easily introduce new restrictions and adopt laws in a simplified manner.
The state of emergency was declared by the government effective 12 March 14:00 and was due to expire on Saturday 11 April; the government requested deputies to extend it until the end of the month.
Restrictions in the Czech Republic will be lifted on April 20, with the opening of farmers’ markets, craft shops, and bazaars. Wedding celebrations with fewer than 10 people will also be allowed to take place.
From April 27, shops under 200 square meters in size will also be allowed to open.
The government clarified today that also shops over 200 square meters that are not located in large shopping centers will be allowed to open. They can reduce the sales area with safety tape and reach the required size.
From May 25, the outdoor areas of cafes, pubs, and restaurants will be able to open. Services including barbershops, hairdressers, pedicure and manicure facilities, spas and massage parlors, as well as museums, galleries, and zoos, will also be able open from this date.
Czechs will continue to be required to wear masks for the time being, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said. His deputy, Roman Prymula, added that now “a person with the virus infects less than one person on average” and that the epidemic is in decline, Reuters reported.
The plan will be divided into five stages. The first restrictions will be eased on April 20 with craft shops, farmers’ markets, car showrooms, and second-hand stores to be allowed to open, and more shops and events to be added in stages, according to the ministry.
By June 8, large shopping centers could be fully opened again along with events up to 50 people, said Havlicek.
If the infection is under control, then the plan will be enacted according to schedule. “There may be some shifts there, but we’d like to keep it this way,” he said.