State of emergency extended

The Chamber of Deputies has agreed to extend the state of emergency until December 12. That is 8 days less than the government requested.

The debate lasted 8.5 hours - without an agreement, the state of emergency would end on November 20 and with it the current anti-coronavirus measures.

The Minister of Health Jan Blatný (for ANO) has announced that on November 25, final years of secondary schools will return to schools, as well as final year university students (in groups of up to 20).

Starting Monday, November 30, third through fifth graders as well as ninth-graders will return to schools (first and second years of primary schools returned on November 18). Other primary school grades will start alternating weeks of learning at home and in classrooms.

There is one condition to all these changes - the government has to approve moving the country from the fifth to a milder fourth level of epidemic risk on the PES scale. The cabinet will discuss this on Friday and the fourth level measures could apply from Monday, November 23.

The current PES system needs the state of emergency to be in place even at the first (mildest) level. The Chamber of Deputies called on the government to revise the system so that a state of emergency was not necessary at least for the first level.

The MPs also called on the cabinet to ensure an end to the discrimination against small Czech businesses in favor of large multinational corporations by November 23. Right now, most shops (such as those selling clothes or toys) must be closed - while people can buy the same goods in supermarkets. Senators prepared a motion to the Constitutional Court to lift the ban on most retail sales during the epidemic.