Legal Guide to COVID-19 in the Czech Republic

15 Apr 2020

STATE OF EMERGENCY

In connection with the new virus COVID-19 (the “coronavirus”), the Czech government has declared a state of emergency on the territory of Czech Republic. The declaration of the state of emergency is subject to the constitutional Act on Security of the Czech Republic and the Act on Crisis Management. The state of emergency is declared till 30 April 2020 (and can be further prolonged by Parliament). It was originally declared on 12 March 2020 for a maximum period permissible, i.e. 30 days, and is therefore supposed to end on Saturday 11 April 2020 (provided that it is not cancelled by the government before this date). The state of emergency can be prolonged only with a prior approval of Parliament – which was given on 7 April 2020; any further extension can be also done only by Parliament.

The government gradually adopted measures limiting the rights and freedoms of persons, including closing of some shops, broad quarantine obligation and other. The updated list of all adopted measures is available on the government’s website (the English version is updated less frequently). On 14 April 2020, the Government published a plan on lifting the measures which is available (in Czech only) at Ministry of Trade’s websites.

What consequences do these measures entail for employers, client and business partners, and what can be requested from the government? Below, we provide a basic overview of legal aspects relating to the government’s measures. All information is also available in Czech.


EMPLOYMENT ISSUES

Due to the government’s decision to limit the free movement of persons and prohibit cultural, sport and other events and operation of retail, employers may face certain limitations of their business operations and assignment of work to their employees. The current situation gives rise to obstacles to work on the side of employers, as well as employees. The state has prepared the so-called ANTIVIRUS program for support of employers and protection of jobs.

Home Office is one of the potential ways how to protect employees and ensure ongoing business operation.s We have summarized the basic rules of Home Office in the Legal Guide: Home Office.

Other relevant information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Employment Issues.


IMPEDIMENT AND ITS EFFECTS ON CONTRACTUAL RELATIONSHIPS

The pandemic of the COVID-19 and subsequent governmental measures (quarantine, closing of shops and restaurants, cancelled flights, etc.) are already affecting the possibility of performing contractual obligations. What are the consequences of the pandemic for the existing contracts? Who should bear the relating costs and are potential damages claims affected by the impediment in the form of pandemic?

More information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Effects on Contractual Relationships.


REIMBURSEMENT OF DAMAGE BY THE STATE

The measures adopted by the government in connection with the state of emergency significantly interfere with the free movement of persons but also with business activities of many companies and entrepreneurs. The state may be held liable for the damage directly caused by the adopted measures.

More information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Reimbursement of Damage Caused by Government Measures.


TAX ISSUES

The Tax Code provides for several basic instruments which enable the obliged persons to postpone fulfilment of some of their tax obligations. On top of that, the Ministry of Finance adopted an extraordinary tax relief package based on which some tax-related deadlines are postponed without any penalization.

More information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Tax Relief.


PRIVACY ISSUES

Dissemination of information relating to the spread of the pandemic (not only across the internet) has its limits, namely with respect to personal data protection. What data can employers process about their employees in regard to the pandemic and their health? Can government authorities publish data about the identity of the affected persons?

More information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Protection of Privacy.


LOANS, GUARANTEES AND SUBSIDIES

In reaction to the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Czech-Moravian Guarantee and Development Bank in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade prepared several programs for support of businesses. What kind of programs? Who can apply for the support? What are the requirements and limitations?

More information is available only in Czech in the Legal Guide: Loans, guarantees and subsidies.