Covid-19: Czechs to ease virus measures for Easter, Slovaks crack down

A woman wearing a face mask walks past the legendary graffiti-covered John Lennon Wall as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Prague April 6, 2020. ― Reuters pic
A woman wearing a face mask walks past the legendary graffiti-covered John Lennon Wall as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Prague April 6, 2020. ― Reuters pic

PRAGUE, April 7 ― The Czech government said yesterday it would ease its tough anti-virus measures ahead of Easter, while neighbouring Slovakia announced it would double down on restrictions for the holiday.

From Tuesday, runners and cyclists in remote Czech areas will not have to wear a face mask ― an exception to a rule issued last month, said deputy prime minister Karel Havlicek.

The government has also allowed hobby markets, hardware and building supply stores and bicycle shops to open as of Thursday, ahead of the four-day weekend which many Czechs are likely to spend at their weekend homes.

“We are aware Easter is coming up so we have eased the measures regarding sports, recreation and leisure time,” Havlicek told reporters.

He added however that stores will now have to offer disinfectants and single-use gloves while shoppers will have to observe social distancing rules.

The Czech Republic has reported 4,735 cases of the virus, including 78 deaths. Last month, the EU member closed its borders and limited most public gatherings to two people.

Neighbouring Slovakia, which has 534 confirmed cases including 2 deaths, for its part adopted a resolution Monday banning mass gatherings during Easter.

Between April 9 and 13, Slovaks will only be able to leave their homes for work or a relative's funeral, to visit a doctor or spend time in nearby nature or to care for family or help a neighbour, Prime Minister Igor Matovic said.

“It is a very serious decision... But if we slacken now, we could ruin everything,” Prime Minister Igor Matovic told reporters. ― AFP

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