A 500-metre-long table on Charles Bridge in Prague was the focus of celebrations on 1 July, as thousands of Czechs partied without any social-distancing measures. They were taking part in an event organised to ‘symbolically’ say farewell to the coronavirus.
The event, involving music and food brought from home, was held despite a background of continued warnings from the World Health Organisation that the global pandemic is far from over.
There have been fewer than 12,000 coronavirus infections recorded in the Czech Republic, however, and around 350 related deaths.
Spaces had to be reserved in advance for the party on the bridge, a location usually swarming with tourists.
Ondrej Kobza, event organiser, told the AFP news agency: “We want to celebrate the end of the coronavirus crisis by letting people meet and show they are not afraid to meet, that they are not afraid to take a piece of a sandwich from their neighbour.” Kobza added: “Society mustn’t be afraid. Otherwise, we’ll have an economic crisis, a depression and that will hit society harder than Covid-19.”
The Czech government recently allowed public gatherings of up to 5,000 delegates on condition that the venue can provide structurally separate sectors, each holding no more than 1,000 people. Restaurants, bars and pubs have been serving people indoors for a month now.
As the Czechs partied, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was predicting: “The worst is yet to come” in terms of the Covid-19 threat.
The Czech Republic was among the first countries in Europe to close its borders (12 March) in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus.