Starting on 00:00 of Monday March 16th, the Czech Republic entered the state of national quarantine. This state will be active until 6:00 on March 24th. What does it mean for you, a foreigner living in the Czech Republic? Read on and find out.
The official purpose of the quarantine is to minimize contact among people. That means that people are only allowed to go outside in the following cases:
- going to and from work
- going to buy groceries, drugs and similarly important items
- necessary family visits
- visits of doctors
- if you need to be outside due to your work (Police, Medics, Public Transportation Drivers, Couriers, etc.)
The government of the Czech Republic also recommends keeping at least two meter distance between each other in public places and using card for all your payments.
Public transportation will not be reduced, it should be even strengthened to make sure means of public transport are not crowded.
All public offices such as Town Halls, Trade License Offices, Social Security and Tax offices, etc. must reduce their opening hours. They should not operate for longer than 3 hours a day twice a week (usually Monday and Wednesday).
Tax returns can be submitted until the end of June, instead of the standard end of March.
Blue parking zones has been canceled.
The previous restriction in operation of shops, etc. is still valid. That means that all shops must be closed with the exception of:
- grocery stores
- drug stores
- petrol stations
- couple strange businesses (car repairs, gardening shops, flower stores, etc.)
All accommodation facilities must be closed.
Shops can not sell non-packed bakery products.
Operation of the MOI
This part might be particularly interesting for those of you who are residing in the Czech Republic under a short-term or long-term visa, under long-term residence permit, temporary residence permit or permanent residence permit.
Operation of the MOI is limited to certain agendas and only for appointed clients. That means that it is not possible to go and wait in the line – only clients with appointments will be serviced.
Also, it is only possible to book an appointment for the following cases:
- registration after arrival
- biometric appointments
- handing over of your residence permits or visas
- handing over of bridging visas (those can only be issued if you need to travel outside of the Czech Republic – please mind that you will not be allowed to reenter the Czech Republic).
Other appointments are canceled. That means that if you for example had an appointment date booked for extension of your residence permit, you will not be able to go for that appointment.
All foreigners residing in the Czech Republic legally will though be allowed to stay even if their visa/residence permit expires. They will also be allowed to apply for their extensions/changes of purpose of stay/etc. after the state of emergency (not the quarantine) is canceled.
Please also remember that not everything requires your personal attendance at the MOI (i.e. change of employer, Temporary Residence Certificate for EU citizens living in Prague, submitting additional documents to your application etc.) so you can just mail your documents to the MOI.
Submitting new visa/residence permit applications (both short-term and long-term) through Czech Embassies is suspended until the end of the state of emergency.
Our message to you
Even though the quarantine has never been issued in the history of the Czech Republic before and hence it is a very serious thing, we ask you not to panic. So, stay calm, stay at home as much as possible, do not buy every piece of food or toilet paper you see in shops. There is and will be enough food and medication for everyone.
If you need to go outside, follow the above mentioned rules (two meters, card payments) and basic hygienic rules (such as do not kiss strangers, wash your hands when you come back home, maybe disinfect them during your stay outside, do not cough at other people, admonish people who cough without covering their mouths).
Also know that we are still operating (mainly online through Skype or WhatsApp, etc.), if you need anything, give us a call, send us an e-mail, chat with us on Facebook or Instagram or on our website.
Let’s all use this time to relax, spend it with your family, catch up on things we have always wanted to do but “had no time” for that, binge-watch all your favorite series and try to have fun and remain calm 🙂
We all will be fine and back to normal real soon 🙂
Jan and Daria on behalf of the whole Move To Prague team!