Press Advisories

2. 4. 2020 8:08

Measures adopted by the Czech Government against coronavirus

General measures

  • As of 12 March, the State of emergency was declared. The Government has approved a proposal to prolongate the State of emergency for another 30 days.
  • As of 13 March, full-time education in elementary, secondary and tertiary educational facilities, as well as universities, facilities specialised in language education and activities organised by these subjects are forbidden.
  • As of 13 March, 6:00 am, all sport, cultural, religious and other activities both public and private encompassing more than 30 persons are forbidden. This is does not apply to meetings of the state administration (e.g. the judiciary, Government meetings, meetings of constitutional authorities) and funerals.
  • As of 14 March, public access to swimming pools and tourist information centres is forbidden. The same applies to indoor and outdoor sports centres servicing (simultaneously over 30 people) and retail sales in stalls and markets. Restriction applies also to casinos, public restaurants and other eateries, including food courts in shopping malls larger than 5000 m2.
  • As of 14 March, retail sales and the sales of services on the spot is forbidden, with the exception of foodstuffs, electronics, ICT, fuel, pharmacies, chemists, animal welfare goods and feeds, opticians, newsagents, laundromats and e-shops. As of 26 March, there are new exceptions to this ban: locksmithing and servicing of household products, repair, maintenance and installation of household machinery and equipment, funeral services and car washes. The measure is lasting until 11 April and may be prolongated.
  • As of 16 March, free movement is limited with the exception of travel to and from work and necessary travels to ensure basic human needs (e.g. foodstuffs, pharma shopping, helping older family members). It is forbidden to provide accommodating services. As of 27 March, accommodation services are allowed to accommodate guests, who need to be accommodated for the purposes of work or business.
  • As of 18 March, all reexports of medicines and medicinal products registered for CZ market to the EU and the export of such outside the EU is forbidden. With effect from the same day, all stores and transport operators are advised to regularly disinfect their premises, particularly areas that commonly come into contact with persons.
  • As of 19 March, all persons need to be equipped with a face mask or other covering of the nose and mouth while outside of their residence.
  • As of 25 March, all shops over 500 m2 are reserved from 8:00am to 10:00am for seniors and disabled persons above 50 years of age. In stores below 500 m2, employees are ordered to give priority to the above-mentioned persons.
  • As of 30 March 2020, the project of the so-called “smart quarantine” has started in testing mode. The goal of smart quarantine is to prevent the further spread of SARS CoV-2 coronavirus in the Czech Republic as quickly and effectively as possible. Smart quarantine, which will map the contacts of positively tested individuals for COVID-19 using modern information technologies, is intended to help regional hygiene stations trace other potentially infected.
  • Obligation for landlords using digital platforms (e.g. Airbnb), to inform the municipal trade licensing office, at its request, of the number of concluded contracts for tourism services, the total price for these services, as well as the address of the place where guests were staying. In the future, the data can be used to trace the accommodated in case of a threat of disease spreading.
  • Bill proposal on the powers of the Czech Police and municipal police to penalize violations of crisis measures, has been adopted. Police officers will now be able to penalize persons violating crisis measures on the spot, even in cases that have to be normally dealt with in administrative proceedings.

Measures concerning foreigners and border crossing

  • As of 14 March, temporary reintroduction of internal borders with Germany and Austria - lasting until 24 April 2020 with possible prolongation. Border crossing possible only at a limited selection of 11 land borders as well as the Prague International Airport and the Prague - Kbely airport. Additional 8 border crossings available for verified cross-border workers. Land borders with Slovakia (from 13 March) and Poland (from 15 March) were closed by local Governments.
  • As of 16 March, until 12 April, the access to CZ forbidden for all foreign nationals, with the exception of foreign nationals with permanent residence or temporary residence of over 90 days and foreign nationals whose entry is in the interest of CZ.
  • Each returnee to the Czech Republic has to undergo the mandatory 2 weeks quarantine.
  • CZ citizens are forbidden from departing the country (with possibility of exceptions e.g. cross-border workers).
  • Foreign nationals with permanent residence or temporary residence of over 90 days may depart the country without right to return for the duration of the state of emergency.
  • Granting of visas and temporary residence of over 90 days and the relevant procedures at CZ consular offices have been suspended with the exception of foreign nationals whose visa application is in the interest of CZ.
  • Citizens already legally present in CZ are allowed to stay for the duration of the state of emergency.
  • As of 21 March, all cross-border workers must submit a proof of foreign employment as well as all relevant documentation when crossing the national border. Documentation will be stamped on crossing.
  • International air travel, rail travel, coach travel, boat travel and road travel for more than 9 persons is suspended.
  • New measure taken due to problems with cross-border workers. When returning to the Czech Republic, they will automatically have to submit to a fourteen-day quarantine. In practice, this will mean that if a cross-border worker does not want to be exposed to a risk of quarantine, he will be forced to find a temporary accommodation at his place of work for the necessary period. As of 26 March, the measure concerning cross-border workers has been modified. They are now divided into different categories according to the border crossing point and the type of work carried out abroad. For example, a book of a cross-border worker is not required, and no quarantine is required upon return for medical personnel.

Economic measures

  • An amendment to the Act on the Czech National Bank (CNB), which eases the existing restrictions on open market transactions, has been approved. Thanks to the amendment, the CNB can now trade instruments with maturities of more than one year. Also, the CNB can from now on trade with other entities, for example, with insurance and pension companies or with other institutional investors (normally CNB can trade only with banks, and credit unions). Everything was carried out within the framework of the rules of ECB and the aim of this amendment is to strengthen the stability of the Czech financial Market.
  • As of 17 March, Czech National Bank (CNB) has reduced the two-week repo rate by 50 basis points to 1.75 %, the Lombard rate to 2.75 % and the discount rate to 0.75 %. From 18 March, delivery repos will be promulgated three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). CNB has revised the countercyclical capital buffer for exposures located in the Czech Republic to 1.75 %.
  • Extension of the deadline for the filing of tax returns until 1 July (standard deadline: 31 March) and remission of any fines stemming from the late submission of tax declarations or reports.
  • To keep the employment rate, State will provide 100 billion CZK in direct support and 900 billion CZK in indirect in the form of guarantees.
  • Adoption of so-called Liberation packages. Liberation Package I – state will not impose fines for late submission of personal and corporate income tax return, for late payment of a tax claim and for late submission of control tax reports. Liberation Package II - excuse of the June advance on personal and corporate income tax, state will not impose fines for late submission of real estate property tax return, introduction of Loss carry back and suspension of the obligation to electronically record sales for entities in all phases of EET (during state of emergency and following three months). Liberation packages have been extended. Road tax advances due in April and July can be paid until 15 October and proposal for VAT exemption from goods that are supplied free of charge (e.g. covid-19 test kits, protective clothing, other medical supplies, etc.).
  • Adoption of a program to support companies called “Antivirus” - final version of the Antivirus employment protection programme, in which the state will contribute to employers' salaries. Companies have to fulfil several conditions, for example they must strictly follow the Labour Code, employees must not be in probationary period and employer has to pay wages and all lawful contributions. They also have to prove that the liquidity problems are connected to the COVID-19 pandemic. The amount of state compensation paid to employers is derived from the average super-gross wage, including mandatory contributions (CZK 48,400), and depends on the reasons why they had to put employees on “a barrier to work”. Employers will be able to apply through Labour Office for a contribution in two regimes.
  • Proposal to postpone the launch of the final phase of Electronic Sales Control System (EET) until 3 months after the end of the State of emergency.
  • The state will help self-employed persons, who are taking care of a child from 6 to 13 years of age and are not able to go to work due to the coronavirus, by 424 CZK per day. All self-employed, who have income only from their business, will be given a six-month holiday in the payment of health and social insurance. Holidays cover the amount of the minimum insurance premium, i.e. 4986 CZK.
  • Approved the draft amendment to the State Budget Act for 2020. It counts with total revenues of 1,488.3 billion CZK and expenditures of 1,688.3 billion CZK. The deficit will thus mount to CZK 200 billion (i.e. by 160 billion CZK more than in the originally approved budget). This proposal will be submitted to the Czech Parliament in a speeded-up procedure.
  • The Government released 3.3 billion CZK for the 2020 Rural Development Program. This funding should help entrepreneurs in agriculture, food and forestry while fighting coronavirus crisis. The main reason for this support is ensuring the Czech food independency.
  • CZK 3 billion will be released from the governmental budget reserve to ensure the operational purchase of necessary protective equipment and other equipment and CZK 4.316 billion to cover the costs the Ministry of the Interior has with the centralised purchase of protective equipment.
  • Preparation of state orders for transport infrastructure - for maintenance, repairs or new investments has been approved. Through the State Fund for Transport Infrastructure, the state will spend CZK 6.5 billion above the current budget. The contractual deadlines of these contracts were also extended.
  • Compensation Bonus, which will directly support self-employed persons with the amount of CZK 25,000. This will be paid if the following conditions are met:
    a) it is a self-employed person according to the pension insurance law,
    b) the activity performed is the principal activity (under clearly defined conditions it may also be an ancillary activity),
    c) the decrease in gross sales during the period from January to March 2020 was at least 10% compared to the period from January to March 2019 (if a business was set up after January 2019, the comparison counts for the first 3 months period after setting up the business),
    d) the entity achieved at least CZK 180,000 of gross income in 2019 or at least CZK 15,000/month in case the business was set up after January 2019.
  • Moratorium proposal on the repayment of loans and mortgages signed before 26 March 2020, which will be binding on all banks and non-banking companies, has been adopted. Both natural persons and corporate debtors will be able to suspend their repayments for three or six months, based on their choice. The debtor has to notify this intention to its creditor by declaration that he/she/it is taking this action because of the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. However, he/she/it will not have to prove these reasons.
  • Companies who were forced to close their premises due to government orders, will be entitled to postpone their rents. The deferral will apply from 12 March to 30 June and deferred payments will have to be paid back within 2 years. Also, a ban on ending the rent contract of people who are not able to pay rent due to financial distress caused by Covid-19 epidemic, has been adopted.
  • To reduce the impact of the economic downturn, the proposal to create a financial reserve of 4% of GDP for 2021 and then consolidate public finances in the following years, has been approved. The European Commission has enabled Member States to temporarily ease fiscal rules by activating the so-called “escape clause”.

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