Prague Ends Coronavirus Lockdown with a Giant Outdoor Dinner Party
After months of government-mandated mask-wearing to prevent the spread of the pandemic, thousands dined together at an extra-long table in the city's streets to celebrate the lifting of restrictions on group gatherings.
Earlier this year, as it became clear the coronavirus would be a global pandemic, the Czech Republic was quick to put the country into lockdown and, according to CNN, one of the first countries to recommend wearing masks in an effort to thwart a major outbreak within its borders. That action seems to have paid off as the government was able to lift restrictions on group gatherings this week, inspiring the citizens of Prague t0 celebrate in perhaps the most festive way possible: A giant outdoor dinner party.
Thousands of residents gathered along both sides of a 500-meter (1640-foot) table that stretched down city streets and even spanned the Vlatva River over the historic 14th-Century Charles Bridge. Attendees were encouraged to dine potluck style by bringing food, drinks, or other goods from home to share as local musicians provided entertainment.
"Everyone had to do something to be here, bring food or a flower. The idea was for everyone to get involved," Ondrej Kobza, a local cafe owner who organized the event, told Agence France-Presse, according to CNN. "We want to celebrate the end of the coronavirus crisis with people meeting up and showing they're no longer afraid to meet others. That they aren't afraid to accept a bite of a sandwich from someone."
However, as NBC News pointed out, The World Health Organization is warning that the pandemic is far from over, which is partly why the Czech Republic has also continued its strict restrictions on foreigners coming into the country, the no-tourist policy being one of the main reasons the city allowed the outdoor dinner to occur. Despite the celebratory atmosphere, the event was also held as the country faced a slight increase in reported cases.
The Czech Republic is also a member of the European Union which is beginning to relax recommended rules on traveling into the bloc from outside counties. However, the United States is notably absent from the list of 14 nations considered to be doing enough to contain the spread of COVID-19.