Police order nude sunbathers to wear masks under Czech coronavirus rules

You can bare it all in the Czech Republic as long as you cover up what matters: your face.

The coronavirus threat has turned social norms upside down in the eastern European nation, where lockdown rules have made it illegal to wear nothing but a smile in a public place — but not for the reasons you’d expect.

Authorities say they ordered dozens of nudists to wear face masks while sunbathing on a beautiful day late last month after they caught more than 150 people violating the country’s strict rules for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“The sunbathing citizens were in one place in a large number, and some did not even have a mask,” Margaret Janovska, a spokesperson for the Tydenik police, said in a statement about the incident.


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Police caught the sunbathers, including many nudists, soaking up some rays around a pond near the Bohdanec Spa in central Czech Republic on March 27, according to Janovska.

Police approach a sunbather near a pond in the Czech Republic on March 27, 2020.

Police approach a sunbather near a pond in the Czech Republic on March 27, 2020.

Tydenik Police

The Czech government ordered every person to wear a mask outside the home last month after becoming the first European nation to declare a state of emergency in the face of the pandemic. It also imposed strict social-distancing rules and restricted many public activities.

“Citizens may be in places designated for this purpose without clothes, but they must cover their mouths and observe the numbers in which they can go into nature,” Janovska wrote.


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The nudists covered up their faces and were not fined for the incident.

Janovska added that it’s OK for people to “ventilate” in nature, but they must also follow the government’s rules so the country will be safe for everyone.

“We will not achieve this before everyone has strictly followed the regulations,” Janovska said.

The Czech government relaxed its rules around face masks earlier this week after recording a significant dip in new infections. However, it also extended the state of emergency to the end of the month, leaving the door open for a new round of mandatory mask-wearing in the future.

In other words, some people are going to have super weird tan lines in the Czech Republic this summer.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

With files from Reuters

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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