Prague, Czech Republic – The Czech government’s sports commissioner and member of Parliament Milan Hnilicka resigned after attending an illegal party contravening COVID-19 regulations.
Illegal party in Teplice investigated by Czech police
A gathering was held on Saturday at a hotel in the Czech city of Teplice, north-western Bohemia, despite the current restrictions in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
A mild lockdown and 9 pm night curfew have been in place in the Czech Republic since the end of December, with most establishments, bars, restaurants and cultural venues closed. A maximum of two people can meet in indoor and outdoor spaces, according to current regulations.
The head of the National Sports Agency and ANO MP Milan Hnilicka was among the attendees of the Saturday party, local magazine Blesk revealed, alongside dozens of other guests which included former Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek, and former MP and vice-chairman of the Czech Television Council Jiri Slegr.
Held at the Prince de Ligne Hotel in Teplice, the celebration was organized for the 50th anniversary of Petr Benda, another former MP and the owner of the venue.
Czech sports commissioner resigns after PM’s threat
Criticizing the irresponsible and “unacceptable” behaviour of those who attended the party, Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Sunday M. Hnilicka should step down from his positions as sports commissioner and as MP for his ruling ANO party in Parliament.
On Monday, Hnilicka sent a statement to the Czech News Agency apologizing for his “mistake” and saying he would step down as MP. The former NHL ice hockey goalkeeper however still hasn’t made any decision regarding his position as chairman of the National Sports Agency, which will depend on “the reaction of the sports community”.
The sports commissioner also said that he had made a donation of 50,000 Kc to the Czech NGO People In Need.
This isn’t the first time a Czech politician has been caught in the act of violating the government’s COVID-19 restrictions. In October, then Health Minister Roman Prymula was photographed entering a restaurant that should have been closed. He stepped down shortly afterwards.
Former President and Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions, has also regularly violated the measures in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus, going so far as to call it an act of “civil disobedience”.