Prague, Czech Republic – Face-masks are about to make their come-back in the Czech Republic after the government announced it would tighten rules in September.
On Monday, the Minister of Health of the Czech Republic Adam Vojtech (ANO) told reporters that face-masks would, once again, become mandatory in all public transport nation-wide and most public indoor spaces, starting September 1.
Today, face-masks are only mandatory in public transport in high-risk districts, including Moravia-Silesia, and in the Prague metro.
But on September 1, Czechs will have to put on the famous roušky in all public transport (bus, trams, metro) and in most indoor public spaces, including schools (but only in the common areas, not in classrooms), shops, shopping malls, banks, post offices, etc.
For now, restaurants, offices and work spaces are excluded from the measure, although regulations might still change in the coming weeks. Face-masks will also be mandatory in all public indoor events, regardless of their size and the number of participants.
The Czech government had been hinting all summer that face-masks could once again become mandatory in public transport and closed public spaces once the heatwave was over, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as children head back to school and Czechs come back to work after the summer break.
At the same time, Czech authorities said the quarantine and self-isolation period will be shortened from 14 to 10 days starting next month.
The Czech Republic was one of the first countries in Europe, along with neighbouring Slovakia, to introduce the compulsory wearing of face-masks in public mid-March – a strict approach that has been partly credited with both countries’ success in containing the outbreak.
As a symbol of the Czech Republic’s fight against coronavirus, the National Museum in Prague is currently holding a special exhibition showcasing face-masks and other protective items sewn and worn since the start of the epidemic.