Bars and restaurants in the Czech Republic are now obliged to check the Covid-19 status of patrons, one of several changes to the country’s pandemic response that went into effect on Monday.
The businesses are only allowed to serve guests who can prove they are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, recovered from an infection or have a recent negative test.
The government has threatened severe penalties for operators if they are caught failing to carry out the checks.
The measure, adopted by the outgoing government under populist Prime Minister Andrej Babis, has drawn criticism from restaurateurs.
The government was shifting responsibility for combating the pandemic to private entrepreneurs, who were already hard hit by the crisis, some of them said.
Meanwhile, the validity period for tests has shortened: Antigen tests are now only valid for 24 hours instead of three days; PCR tests only for three days instead of one week.
Also new as of Monday is that the tests usually have to be paid for by the patient, instead of the government picking up the cost.
With 57 per cent fully vaccinated among its 10.7 million inhabitants, the Czech Republic’s vaccination rate is low compared to other EU countries.