Thursday, March 19, 2020

Cancelled Trip and Current Restrictions

I was supposed to head out today on holiday but that's not happening now.  I'd been planning the one for quite some time.  

I was going to visit friends in Bratislava and fly out tomorrow morning to Lviv, the 7th largest city in Ukraine.  

After a few days I was headed on to Debrecen, the 2nd biggest city in Hungary, with a day drip to Oradea, the 10th biggest city in Romania.  

I'm disappointed but I got lucky at the same time.  If I had started by trip last week then I could have gotten stranded somewhere trying to get back.  My next trip to Austria and Bosnia and Herzegovina is also cancelled.

Lots more has happened since last week when the Czech government declared a 30-day state of emergency.  

On 13.3., the law was changed and spreading COVID-19 on purpose is now a felony and punishable by up to 10 years in prison.  On the same day the USA has banned all flights coming from Schengen countries including Czechland.

On 15.3. a hospital in Prague and University Hospital Brno were set up to handle COVID-19 patients.

On 16.3., the government put the entire country in lockdown.  Restaurants, bars, gyms, museums, libraries, and most shops are all closed.  Employees are encouraged to work from home if possible.  With few exceptions, the borders have been closed and the only people allowed in are citizens or permanent residents.  Czechs can't leave either.

On 17.3., it became mandatory to wear a face mask or cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when on public transportation.  

You can no longer enter at the front.  The front section of trams and buses are blocked off.  The doors now open automatically at stops so you don't have to push the button.

The fine for not wearing a mask is 10.000 Kč ($458).

Then yesterday Czech Republic became the first country in the EU to require face masks when you leave your home.

Only seniors over 65 are allowed in grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores.

Parents of school aged children under ten are able to take nursing care leave for nine days.  If you're a single parent then you can take 16 days of leave.  Parents on nursing care leave receive 60% of their salary.

The government will cover 80% of employee salaries for businesses forced to close during the lockdown.

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