While Prague continues to open up from its strict Coronavirus lockdown, it still has not fully opened to foreign travel – for either visitors coming in or Czechs wishing to go abroad. So for the first time since the days of communism, really, locals are having their city to themselves.
In efforts to promote domestic travel & tourism, hotels & tourists sites are offering all manner of discounts & coupons, with some luxury brands that previously catered almost solely to foreigners, such as the Four Seasons, offering special packages to suit a local budget. The government has also issued coupons for hotels to give to guests that provide reduced entry into various sites.
After two months in COVID lockdown, Prague is opening up!
And things are happening quickly.
Just this month we’ve seen:
In my last blog post, I reported that the Czech Republic had begun to ease Coronavirus restrictions. This decision was made after we had good results from a five-week strict lockdown.
So Far, so good
Naturally, there was some concern about whether easing too soon might tempt people to let down their guard completely, given that we had all been indoors isolating for so long and the spring weather was beautiful.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’ve been documenting the Czech Republic’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak. You will also know that the results have been pretty good, and that continues to be the case.
For more on the steps that have been taken since the beginning of the outbreak, see my earlier blog posts:
March 4, 2020
March 9, 2020
March 12, 2020
March 13, 2020
March 16, 2020
March 20, 2020
March 23, 2020
March 31, 2020
I’d like to give you another update on the Coronavirus outbreak in the Czech Republic.
The Results Continue to be Positive
As I reported in my last post, the strict measures that were enacted by the Czech government when it realized that: a) Italy’s infection rates were exploding and its hospitals were overwhelmed, and b) lots of Czechs were in Italy on skiing holidays for the winter school break have been paying off.
From our first three cases diagnosed on March 2nd to March 30th, we now have 3,001 confirmed cases of COVID in the Czech Republic. Although that's a big increase, we've not seen exponential growth, and our hospitals still have the capacity to treat the sick.
Sadly, since my last post, we’ve now had our first deaths – the number is now 23. Almost all deaths were people over 70 and/or with underlying health issues. Twenty-five people have recovered from the disease.
I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but things continue to change by the hour here in Prague.
In my last post, I reported that the whole Czech Republic went into full quarantine on Monday. That meant:
Things are still moving quickly here in the Czech Republic. Friday I posted that restaurants and bars were required to close at 8:00 p.m., but by the time Friday was over, that was tightened to where restaurants and bars had to close altogether except to serve food or coffee to go through windows. Furthermore, all shops other than grocery stores and pharmacies were ordered to close.
As you can see from the photo above, the weather was very nice on the weekend, so after staying in as recommended most of the week, I went out for a walk on both Saturday and Sunday. I was surprised to see so many people out and about. While most shops were closed, cafes and restaurants at least had personnel inside with signs posted saying they will serve food and drinks through a window. Some were selling their unprepared food supplies, as the order to close came suddenly and they were fully stocked. I bought some (overpriced) vegetables from an Italian restaurant (some beautiful imported eggplant) just to help them out. But otherwise, because it was warm and sunny, I guess, lots of people were out and about drinking coffee and eating pastries, so in some respects it looked almost like a normal weekend in the neighborhood.
I began yesterday's post by saying that things are moving quickly here as facts change on the ground. And that is still the case.
more restrictions from the czech authorities
Yesterday I posted that events with attendees of more than 100 people are canceled, but within a few hours, that was changed to events with more than 30 people. In addition, the government ordered all restaurants to limit patrons to 30 maximum, and restaurants must close at 8:00 p.m. from today.
Last week I reported that Prague had its first cases of Coronavirus. From those initial 3 cases, we are now up to 29 as of yesterday. For those of you who have a trip planned here or are considering a trip, I'd like to provide another update on what is happening currently.
coronavirus update as of March 9, 2020:
As you probably know, northern Italy virtually shut down over the weekend. That means that Czech citizens who were on holiday there are returning en masse currently (and there are quite a lot of people in this category because it’s the first spring break here, and many Czechs go to northern Italy to ski at this time of year, but the Italian ski resorts are closing all at once).
It is still the case (as it was last week), that so far, all cases of Corornavirus in the Czech Republic (29 now) are people who were in Italy or people connected to those who were in Italy.
I am an American who has been living in Prague for two decades. After a long career in international finance, I left the business world to pursue other interests. I now works as a writer, mentor and guide to the city.