Tallinn wants control over border, right to ban events ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center).
Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

In the fight against the current novel coronavirus outbreak, the City of Tallinn has submitted a proposal to the Estonian government to temporarily reintroduce border controls at Estonia's external borders as well as impose a two-week quarantine period or provide the chance to return home to anyone arriving in the country from an at-risk period. The capital city also wants the right to ban events.

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) sent Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) Tallinn city government's proposals for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus, which include imposing a mandatory quarantine for all arrivals from at-risk areas as well as the establishment of the legal basis for banning events and the implementation of uniform rules for the organization of work at educational institutions throughout Estonia.

According to Kõlvart, the current legal system provides local governments with very limited opportunities to implement strict restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. This is why he proposed imposing uniform and specific restrictions throughout the country, so that various local governments wouldn't have to solve the same problems one by one.

"In the current situation, people are waiting for concrete steps from local governments, but legal bases tend to address individual activities or are nonexistent altogether," the letter to the prime minister states.

Tallinn has proposed temporarily reintroducing border control measures on Estonia's external borders, as well as imposing a two-week quarantine period or provide the chance to return home to anyone arriving in the country from an at-risk period.

"We propose that the Government of the Republic specify precise criteria regarding what events should be canceled and what the legal basis for this is," the mayor wrote. "Local governments have the right to cancel events they themselves are organizing or planning, but when it comes to conferences, concerts and other events not requiring public event permits organized by the private sector and civic organizations, local governments lack the legal grounds for banning an event from happening."

The letter also included a proposal to work out and implement uniform rules for the organization of work at educational institutions throughout Estonia. "Schools' work must be synchronized and the quality of education ensured, but it is not possible to guarantee this if these decisions are made one local government at a time," the letter reads.

The mayor also proposed that a representative of Tallinn city government be included in the newly formed government committee as Tallinn is Estonia's biggest government as well as that currently most affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The majority of individuals currently diagnosed with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and those in close contact with them are Tallinn residents. The City of Tallinn's crisis committee has likewise discussed measures for preventing the spread of the virus and has likewise implemented several measures already, ranging from canceling city employees' travel to strict disinfection regimes on public transport and when serving clients.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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