When government rules don’t exist: Vojtěch, Zaorálek and Bartoška didn’t have a respirator in Karlovy Vary

The long-awaited opening night of the 55th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is likely to be solved by the hygiene. As usual, countless celebrities, including actors, doctors, and leading politicians, arrived at the main hall of the Thermal Hotel. But as the footage from the festival reveals, few were wearing respirators. And that includes Health Minister Adam Vojtěch (ANO), who keeps the mandatory wearing of respiratory protection in force.

According to the Health Ministry’s regulations, respiratory protection is mandatory in cinemas, theatres, and other enclosed spaces. According to the photos, Vojtěch and his wife, festival director Jiří Bartoška, Culture Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD) and actress Jitka Čvančarová attended the official opening of the festival without respirators.

Epidemiologist Rastislav Maďar pointed out the violation of the rules. “When you are supposed to set an example for others, but somehow it doesn’t work out. When you are supposed to show that we are all in this together, but again, nothing happens, ” he wrote on Twitter and added a photo of a full hall. Of the dozens of seated guests, very few had a respirator.

In contrast, everyone’s covid armbands were lit up, which divided guests according to confirmation that they have been vaccinated, tested, or had covid in the last six months. Before the festival started, the organizers had already announced that they would be checking the necessary certificates to allow entry. On Saturday, they were actively handing out respirators to guests.

Minister Vojtěch “was eating” defends the ministry

However, the Ministry of Health is defending the boss, who did not have a respirator in the foyer but had already put one on in the main hall. “As you can see in one of the photos, he has a glass in his hand. According to the measures, it is not necessary to wear a veil when consuming, ” Daniel Köppl, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, said. He said the Karlovy Vary sanitary authorities should deal with the issue, which could impose a fine of up to CZK 3 million.

Epidemiologist Petr Smejkal, one of the advisers to festival director Jiří Bartoška, did not have a respirator. However, unlike Vojtěch and others, the head of the event did not wear a respirator at all on Friday.