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A new limit on the number of customers allowed in stores will apply from Wednesday, with no more than one person allowed per 15 square meters. However, shops will now stay open longer, until 9pm. The government has also approved another 30-day extension of the state of emergency, until December 20, which needs to be approved by the Parliament this week. Photo: Health Minister Jan Blatný at the Nov. 16 press conference, credit: Vlada.cz.

Czech Rep., Nov 17 (BD) – “We have coordinated the opening hours with the curfew. Stores will be able to stay open longer from Wednesday, until 9pm,” said Health Minister Jan Blatný at the press conference.

The government announced the new measure on Monday evening, in compliance with the rules set out by the new anti-pandemic system (PES) introduced last Friday.

According to PES, the 15 square meter per person limit should apply from the third tier and above. The Czech Republic is currently in the fifth tier. The limits refer to customers, not employees.

The new measure was widely criticised after the announcement. Critics point out that applying limits inside shops will lead to queues outside, which will become more of a problem as the weather gets colder in the coming days. Another argument is that people will be looking for shops with shorter queues, which will increase population mobility overall. 

Retail businesses plan to limit the numbers of customers inside their premises by, for example, limiting the number of available shopping carts. They have also announced increases to staffing capacities to decrease waiting times outside of shops.

On Monday, the government approved an extension to the state of emergency until December 20th, but this still needs to be approved by Parliament.

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