The Czech government agreed on Monday to relax some lockdown measures that have stifled the economy as growth of new coronavirus infections has been levelling off in recent days, officials said.
The country was among the first in Europe to declare a state of emergency in March, imposing some of the strictest curbs on public life to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when the proven number of cases was still below 200, Reuters reported.
Data for the past few days have shown a single-digit percentage daily rise in new cases, to 4,735 on Monday.
Industry Minister Karel Havlicek said that as of Thursday, the government would allow reopening of shops selling hobby goods and building materials, and also relax rules on open-air sports activities where people do not congregate, such as running and cycling. More shops may be opened after the Easter weekend.
Strict hygiene rules will apply, such as distances between customers, disinfection requirements and health checks on staff, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said earlier on Monday.
The government also approved, as of April 14, easing restrictions on leaving the country, currently permitted only for commuting workers. People will have to present "reasonable grounds" to go, and observe two-week quarantine upon return.