As the majority of other countries, the Czech Republic has taken severe measures in order to slow down the spreading of coronavirus. The list of measures adopted so far is following:
• As of 12 March, the Government declared the State of Emergency.
• As of 13 March, all schools have been closed and all educational activities forbidden. Furthermore, all sport, cultural, religious and other activities, both public and private, with more than 30 persons were forbidden.
• As of 14 March, retail sales and the sales of services on the spot were forbidden, with the exception of groceries, electronics, ICT, fuel, pharmacies, chemists, animal welfare goods and feeds, opticians, newsagents, laundromats and e-shops.
• As of 16 March, free movement was limited with the exception of travel to and from work and necessary travels to ensure basic human needs (e.g. groceries, pharmacists, helping older family members). Furthermore, it was forbidden to provide accommodating services.
• As of 18 March, the Government banned reexports of medicines, medical products and personal protective equipment registered for the Czech market.
• As of 19 March, all persons need to wear a face mask or any other protection equipment covering mouth and nose during the stay outside of their residence.
• On 24 March, the Government decided to extend the limitations of free movement of persons outside their homes until 1 April.
Free movement of persons
As of 14 March, the Government decided to ban access of all foreigners coming from risk areas with the exception of those with temporary residence of over 90 days and with permanent residence to the country. Borders with Germany and Austria were temporarily re-introduced until 5 April 2020 with possible prolongation. As of 16 March, this ban covers all foreigners, not only those coming from risk areas. On the same day, all Czech citizens and persons with temporary residence of over 90 days and with permanent residence in the Czech Republic were forbidden to leave the country. To cross the borders is possible only for persons having and exception or for those working up to 100 km distance behind borders. Furthermore, for all persons returning from risk areas, there is an obligation to inform their personal physician and to stay in quarantine for 14 days.
In order to help entrepreneurs, the Ministry of Finance issued a so-called liberation tax package, which allows deferred tax payments (without fees, without interest and fines). For VAT payments, businesses must ask the competent tax authority to delay payments and charges incurred in connection with the COVID-19 situation. Filing personal income tax and corporate income tax can be submitted any time by 1st July 2020 instead of 31 March 2020.
The Government also approved a national COVID loan programme in record-breaking time in order to facilitate access for small and medium-sized enterprises to operating financing, in cases where their economic activities have been restricted due to the coronavirus. The interest-free loans are provided by the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) and the budget is 5 billion CZK (approximately 180 million EUR). The loans can range from 500 000 CZK to 15 million CZK (approximately from 18 000 to 540 000 EUR)
Czech credit insurance corporation EGAP prepared a package of measures to support exporters as well. It includes a fast track, i.e. priority treatment of insurance claims for exporters seeking new customers as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, significantly reduced fees for exporters and reduced time necessary for the recognition of claims for insured loans from 6 months to 3 months and for insured guarantees from 3 months to 1 month, which will help resolve any cash flow problems of the exporter.
On 17 March, the Government adopted quick compensations for employers in case of quarantine and closing down of shops.
On 19 of March, the Government adopted Antivirus programme focused on the protection of employees that will make the state compensate for the financial resources paid by companies. In other words, the state will financially contribute to companies in order to pay salaries of employees and avoid redundancies. The total budget of the programme is 1.2 billion CZK (approximately 43 million EUR).
On 24 of March, the Government adopted another package of measures to support entrepreneurs, including:
• 6 months of pension contributions and social and medical insurance advance payments holidays for self-employed, covering the period from March to August 2020;
• Postponement of the final phase of the Electronic Records of Sales (EET) until 3 months after termination of the State of Emergency and exception for the entrepreneurs that are already using the EET system for the same period;
• Liberalization package including wavers on June advance corporate tax payments and postponement of the deadline to immovable property tax payments until 31 August 2020;
• Introduction of the so-called kurzarbeit, a compensation system for employers that are unable to allocate work to their employees either due to quarantine or due to the necessity to take care of a child. In order to Employers need to prove that they can’t produce because of shortages of supplies or because of reduced demand in their products or services
• Aid for farmers that will allow for example to postpone payments of instalment of commercial loans or provide operational financing aid;
• COVID II loan programme by the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank (ČMZRB) with the budget of 5 billion CZK (approximately 180 million EUR). The interest-free loans with repayments postponed by 12 months can range from 10 000 CZK to 15 million CZK (approximately from 400 EUR to 540 000 EUR);
• Financial contribution of 424 CZK per day (approximately 15 EUR) for self-employed persons that have to stay at quarantine or have to take care of a family member;
• Cancellation of charges related to sending of data messages used to communicate with authorities and institutions remotely.
As of 24 March, there were 1 289 confirmed cases of coronavirus with 2 deaths and 8 cured patients. The number of tested persons reached 19 624.
Source: Government of the Czech Republic, BusinessInfo.cz
Prepared by the team of foreign office CzechTrade Brussels