While thousands of independent businesses in Prague allowed themselves to be crushed by the COVID-19 restrictions, Daruma Coffee & Tea on Dittrichova street has never closed, never enforced masks, and continued on as normal the entire time.
The owner, David Tesař, says that shutting down businesses has neither hygienic logic nor legal justification, citing his protected rights on the Czech Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms.
Of the restrictions, Tesař said the government was “chrlí jako chrliči”, or “spewing them like gargoyles”, a Czech phrase that references the gothic gargoyles on cathedrals and fountains that shoot water out of their mouth.
“The only time we ever closed was for three Sundays in the spring… We realised then that according to the Constitution and the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms, we have the right to do business freely.”
When restaurants open on Thursday, government restrictions require that they only go up to 50% capacity with a maximum of 4 people per table. Tesař said, “That won’t pay off for me. Does the government even know how the economy works? Apparently not, because they’re killing it.”
“Getting liquidated from a three million koruna fine is nonsense, any lawyer will tell you this. Watch anyone try to prove that we are the centre of a deadly disease.”
Noting that countries in Asia have largely been able to skip lockdowns, Tesař said: “People have been demonstrating in resistance to the government because they want to live normally, as before COVID-19. They want to live like people in Asia.”
Tesař says that on Sunday he and his colleagues are preparing a demonstration on Wenceslas Square to protest against the lockdown.