Coronavirus and Prague
It seemed like another great year. The beginning of 2020 was very promising, as our company has been growing for couple years in a row – bit by bit, but there has been a steady growth for quite a while. Unfortunately, Covid-19 shattered the plans for upcoming season for many businesses and industries.
So you may wonder how Covid-10 affected our beloved city? Here is how it all began – step by step…
Coronavirus was first detected in Czech Republic in the beginning of March. During first few days no one thought it’s going to be a big deal. All the previous diseases, such as Ebola, bird flu and swine flu almost completely missed us. However, this was a bit different.
On Friday, March 13th (yes, Friday 13th – which is believed to always be a bad day) our government imposed heavy restrictions – shutting down all restaurants, shops and forcing everyone to stay home on quarantine and, if going outside, everyone had to wear a face cover.
To be quite hones, I liked the way in which quarantine was solved in our country. Czech have always been pretty responsible citizens so even though we had to stay home, no one felt like it’s just impossible to go grocery shopping.
Probably due to early and very tough restrictions, numbers of infected people were very low. Till this day (May 2nd) there are only 8000 infected (in country of 10 million) and only 250 people had died so far (numbers are rounded).
How life has changed
Now let’s talk about practical impact of country’s lockdown. Tourism counts among those hit the hardest. We’ve lost all of our reservations till the end of summer and have only individual reservations for autumn. We’re luck that we are still don’t have massive expenses, such as paying for office or shop, as we run our entire business through online reservations. If we would be paying several employees and office, we’d go under probably within three months.
Restaurants and cafes were forced to either completely shut down or sell only through a window, so all the orders they receive are through food delivery apps (UberEats and similar).
I expect around 10-20% to go under now, with possibility of another 10% within few months because who knows when people will feel safe enough to go to the restaurants in a way they did before.
The most fascination transformation was in accommodation business. It’s no secret that Prague in last few years battled with increasingly growing number of AirBnB apartments that essentially forced most locals out of the city center. Crisis like this forced many of the owners to either sell or rent long term, so right now you have a unique chance to rent an apartment nearby Old Town Square for a bargain. Even some locals are right now tempted to try it – how it’s gonna feel to live in the heart of the city.
A million dollar question is how the life is going to look like in next few months. Most tour guides had to find part time jobs for near future which means there are going to be less people who can show you around.
Big blow for us was when American Airlines with few others announced that they are canceling all direct flights to Prague till the end of year. We pray they will chance their mind but who knows. It just means people will need to chance flights somewhere on a way to our beloved capital.
So what does it all mean for us, Explore Prague? We are not planning to stop running our tours. However, it might be harder to do last minute reservations, as most tour guides will have other part time jobs so it won’t be possible to accommodate someone who books a tour only one day in advance. We also started selling tour vouchers, so if you know someone from your family or friends are planning to come to Prague in near future, you can request a voucher for them with three-year redemption period. When they book is then up to them. It will help us a great deal to survive this difficult period and you can be sure that we’ll do the best we can to make your future stay an unforgettable experience.
If you’re interested in knowing more about life in Prague, let us know in comments bellow! We’re looking forward to hearing back from you and we hope we will be able to welcome you in Prague soon!
Stay safe and see you later!
Mike – founder