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Hotels, boarding houses may reopen in the Czech Republic

Hotels and boarding houses may reopen as of May 24, Industry and Trade Minister Karel Havlicek told journalists after a cabinet meeting, adding that he will submit a proposal to the government next week so that they can reopen without capacity limits. The government has been relaxing the economic restrictions based on six packages and on the number of new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 in the past seven days, which was 102 on Sunday.

Under the package number four, which was on the agenda today, facilities and services including hotels and boarding houses might resume operations as of next Monday. A 25 percent capacity limit has been set for hotels and boarding houses. The condition was criticised by entrepreneurs, which is why the government decided to postpone their reopening by a week, Havlicek said.

Vaclav Starek, President, Association of Hotels and Restaurants, told CTK previously that hotels need more time to prepare for reopening, which also applies to making reservations. When it comes to holiday reservations, Czechs are cautious because of uncertainty in the tourism industry, Jan Herget, head of the state-run agency CzechTourism, told CTK.

Czechia's accommodation occupancy rate is 40 per cent at the end of July, said the agency. Popular holiday sites for Czechs are cottages, apartments and camping sites, and among regions, it is South Bohemia, South Moravia and Liberec, while their interest in visiting Prague is insignificant. Accommodation establishments were closed between Oct 22 and Dec 2 and from Dec 18 because of a coronavirus resurgence in Czechia. Now they can provide services only to people on business trips and those visiting a doctor.

The government modified its previous resolution and gave the green light to services like tattoo and piercing shops, Havlicek said.

Referring to the document, Seznam Zpravy website said at the weekend that these facilities cannot reopen as of May 10 but Havlicek said on Saturday the government would correct the mistake (on Monday), with tattoo and piercing shops to be able to provide services as of Tuesday. "Up until that time, only on the basis of consultations," Havlicek told Seznam Zpravy.

Outside seating areas of restaurants may reopen as of May 17, with four people at a table at most unless they are family members, and 1.5 meter distance between tables, Havlicek tweeted. Guests must present a test or a Covid vaccine certificate or must prove they have had Covid-19 and recovered, Havlicek said.

Guests can also have their own testing kits and perform a test on the spot themselves, Havlicek told journalists. The original plan of the government was to allow reopening of the outside seating areas of restaurants once the number of Covid infections falls to below 75 per 100,000 population in seven days. It is 101 confirmed cases today.

The government will allow indoor sports grounds to resume operations as of May 17 under a special regime, which involves one person per 15 square meters, two people in a group at most and a maximum of ten people altogether, Jana Havrdova, Head of the Czech Chamber of Fitness, told CTK today referring to an extraordinary measure of the Health Ministry.

Negative tests, vaccination certificates or a certificate that a person has had Covid-19 and recovered during the past 90 days are a must.

Swimming pools, wellness centers and saunas will stay closed.

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