Czechia tightens coronavirus measures, introduces mandatory respirators and double-masking

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Starting Thursday, Czechs will have to wear respirators or double face masks in heavily frequented places, Czech Minister of Health Jan Blatný announced.

People will have to wear them in shops, service establishments, on public transport, and at airports. They will also be mandatory in medical facilities where outpatient care is provided or in cars unless people in the vehicle are members of one household.

Children from two to 15 years of age do not have to wear a respirator, because according to Minister Blatný, children’s sizes are not available. However, they will have to wear a regular medical face mask.

People must also wear a medical face mask in other indoor areas or outdoors in the close vicinity to other people. Home-made face masks or scarves will only be allowed in these places until the end of February. After that, Czechs will have to switch to respirators or double-masking.

There are also some exceptions. For example, children under the age of two or in kindergarten, in children’s homes, or in boarding schools do not have to cover their nose and mouth. The obligation also does not apply to persons with mental disabilities, hospitalized individuals, and some healthcare professionals. The exception further applies to constitutional officials, public transport drivers, court participants, fiancés at a wedding ceremony, actors, dancers, and others when performing creative work, lecturers, and people working in high-temperature workplaces.

Athletes or people exercising will also be exempted from mask duties during some activities.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Jan Hamáček, sanctions for violating the coronavirus measures are imposed based on which law has been violated. The police usually impose a fine on the spot or hand the case over for administrative proceedings.

By tightening the measures, Czechia tries to avoid further escalation of the already deteriorating situation. On Monday, tests detected 11,233 new COVID-19 cases, which is about 2,300 more than a week ago. A total of 6,573 are in hospitals, of which a record 1,329 people are in serious condition. Currently, Czechia is reporting 120,823 active cases.

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