The Czech Republic is speeding up plans to ease its coronavirus lockdown by two weeks to get all shops, restaurants and hotels operating again by May 25 as the number of infections stabilises, the industry minister said on Thursday.
The central European country has used drastic measures including shop and school closures, limiting people's daily movements and making masks obligatory in public in an effort to prevent any uncontrolled spike in the new coronavirus.
With the number of cases declining in recent days, it had planned a cautious lifting of restrictions between this week and June 8, a schedule criticised by business lobbies as too slow.
On Monday this week, farmers' markets returned to action, along with craft shops, car dealerships and dog grooming salons.
Shopping centres, larger shops and hair and beauty salons are slated to open again from May 11 under the adjusted plan, which then sees restaurants, hotels, theatres and most other services open by May 25.
The government did not announce any changes to plans to keep schools largely shut for the rest of the school year ending in June, nor any decisions easing a ban on nearly all travel abroad apart from business trips and commuting.
The government did not announce any plans to lift compulsory wearing of face masks in public and said it would decide on allowing public gatherings later.