Shops open until 11 pm, Christmas trees are a go

Some anti-coronavirus measures will be relaxed from Monday - and it will be possible to buy Christmas trees and traditional carp this year.

Starting Monday, November 23, the Czech Republic will switch to the fourth level of the anti-epidemic PES scale. People will be able to meet in groups of six instead of two, and the overnight curfew will begin two hours later - at 11 pm. Shops will also be able to stay open until this time. As the transition to the fourth level has been approved, more students will return to schools soon - we wrote about it here.

Even though the shops will stay open for longer, they will still have to remain closed on Sundays. A limit of one customer per 15 square metres will stay in effect as well. The Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (for ANO) wanted to relax these measures too - we wrote about it here.

However, the epidemiologists were against these proposals, and Havlíček said he respected their opinions. Many shops now require people to use numbered carts to monitor the number of customers. According to the Minister of Health Jan Blatný (for ANO), parents with prams will have an exception from this rule, and children under the age of six will not be counted.

As some hobbymarkets have already started selling Christmas trees, Blatný said that the government expects the sale of Christmas trees, carps and decorations to be possible this year. The cabinet will discuss the Christmas markets in a week. Farmer's markets will also be allowed to sell Christmas ornaments and other decorations.

According to Blatný, it is probable that Czechia will be at level three of the epidemic risk at the end of November or beginning of December. That would mean gatherings of up to 50 people outdoors and ten indoors, and all shops and restaurants would be able to be open (with appropriate restrictions in place).

Blatný also said that the government has not yet discussed another big Czech tradition - Saint Nicholas Day (December 5th) - when people dressed as Saint Nicholas (Mikuláš), angels and devils walk the streets and visit homes to give treats to the good children and potatoes or lumps of coal to the bad ones. The devil also scares the bad children with threats that he will put them into his sack and take them to hell if they do not behave.