General description

After an outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the world has certainly changed, including the entire European continent and the Czech Republic. On March 1, The Minister of Health confirmed first three cases of COVID-19 in our republic, all connected with Italy. Following more similar cases, mandatory 14 days’ quarantine was announced for people returning from selected parts of Italy. However, it was not until mid-March that the seriousness of the upcoming situation became crystal clear to all of us.

On March 11, all schools were closed (including universities). This became the first subject of controversy as, for example, the rector of our Charles University – who is a medical doctor himself – strongly disagreed with this measure and later signed a “Petition of eleven” against adopted restrictions. The Czech government declared a State of Emergency for 30 days and on March 16, an hour after the nationwide quarantine declaration had been approved, nearly 11 million Czech residents were placed under quarantine. Our republic became one the first European countries to completely close its borders and two days later, Czechia also became the first country in the EU to introduce mandatory face cover. Unfortunately, the first patient who died from coronavirus was reported at the end of the month. Another serious matter was a shortage of personal protective equipment (face masks, respirators, etc.). Although the government ordered us to wear face masks, they failed to provide enough of PPE. Therefore, thousands of Czechs began to make DIY facemasks as the Czech Republic continued to face a serious shortage in the coronavirus outbreak. Masks were delivered to hospitals or to friends and neighbors who would often find them in their mailboxes. Surely it is not at all necessary to add that a general closure of services and retail sale was in place from 14 March.

Government eased a number of restrictive measures during April (e.g. opening outside sporting grounds and allowing movement in parks and nature without face masks) and presented a plan for gradual lifting of remaining restrictions. At the time the Czech Republic was praised for its swift response to COVID-19 pandemic. On April 14, a month-long complete border closure ended. The Czech government outlined a five-step plan for re-opening shops, restaurants and other businesses.



Table 1 “Government’s five-step plan for re-opening shops and services”

20 April Farmers markets, tradesmen with shops, car shops and showrooms, weddings (up to 10 people) …
27 April Shops under 200 square metres in size, except for those in shopping centers over 5,000 square metres and those specified to open at a later date.
11 May Shops under 1,000 square metres in size, except for those in shopping centers over 5,000 square metres and those specified to open at a later date, Driving schools, Gyms and fitness centers.
25 May Outdoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops with outdoor sales and garden seating areas, barbershops, hairdressers, nail salons, tanning salons, cosmetic salons, massage parlors, museums, galleries, and art halls, ZOOs.
8 June All shops in shopping centers, shops over 1,000 square metres in size outside of shopping centers, indoor areas of restaurants, cafes, pubs, buffets, wineries and beer shops, hotels and other accommodation providers …


As of 11 May, pupils in the last year of primary schools were able to return to schools together with students in the last year of secondary schools and conservatories. Participation was not mandatory and could take place in a group of a maximum of 15 people. State of Emergency ended on 17 May. Extraordinary measures either ended or were extended beyond the State of Emergency with lesser restrictions. Everything seemed to be on the right track, however, our government did not use this precious time to prepare for a possible second wave and the worst was yet to come.



In dealing with the pandemic and its consequences, numerous legal questions arise, the answers to which are not always easy in view of the novelty of the facts and which also cause a certain amount of uncertainty. The Municipal Court in Prague invalidated some of the adopted restrictions against COVID-19. The court invalidated Ministry of Health Measures dealing with curfew, banned hospitals visits as well as with selected banned services. The court held that such wide restrictions of basic rights may be adopted only under the Crisis Act by the Government as a whole and not under Protection of Public Health Act by the Ministry of Health alone. Both the curfew and retail sale ban were originally adopted by Government Resolutions on 14 and 15 March, respectively. However, then they were replaced by Ministry of Health Protection Measures from 24 March onwards. The court invalidated these measures from 27 April onwards, giving the Government three days to remedy the situation.


“The court determined that the fact that measures were not adopted by the Government under the Crisis Act powers, but by Ministry of Health under the Protection of Public Health Act, leads to violation of constitutional guarantees of separation of powers. When adopting measures under the Crisis Act, the Government is continually under the supervision of the Chamber of Deputies of Parliament. Under Art 5(4) of the Constitutional Act on the Security of the Czech Republic, the Chamber of Deputies can revoke the State of Emergency at any moment. Thus taking away Government’s power to adopt crisis measures under the Crisis Act, including those that violate basic rights. Adoption of the measures by Ministry of Health under the Act on Protection of Public Health frustrated this control by the Chamber of Deputies. In effect, the respondent impermissibly restricted constitutional powers of the Chamber of Deputies.”

Judgement of the Municipal Court in Prague No. 14 A 41/2020, section 152, from 23 April 20201


Spring Statistics

Figure 1: Confirmed COVID-19 cases in total / Active cases each day


Figure 2: Number of deaths (cumulatively)


Figure 3: Number of newly confirmed cases each day


Figure 4: Development of “R” ratio


Crucial numbers (as of 1 June):

  • Number of deaths in total = 320 people
  • Number of confirmed cases in total = 9 302 cases
  • Number of recovered people in total = 6 880 people
  • Active cases at the time = 2 201 people


Reference list

Article written by Radek Machurka, student at the Charles University of Prague, part of a series of articles under a collaboration between ASD and Všehrd.