According to the Valga County Governor Ester Karuse, the closure of the borders is affecting the twin town of Valga, Estonia and Valka, Latvia, the most, and as a result she is asking for a special permit for people not exhibiting coronavirus symptoms to be able get over the border to go to work in either town and country.
Karuse reported, via a press release, that starting from March 17, crossing the Schengen border is temporarily limited and this hits the twin city of Valga and Valka painfully.
"At the meeting with the mayor of Valka, Vents Armands Krauklis, besides the spread of the virus, concerns of entrepreneurs of the twin city and of areas around was also discussed. Every day, around 500 of our southern neighbors come to work for us. After closing the borders, the transportation of the necessary goods will be ensured if the carriers don´t have symptoms of the virus. Other citizens can´t cross the border," Karuse said.
Karuse noted some specific employers in the region.
"This is an especially painful hit for the Valga´s meat industry Maks & Moorits, the furniture manufacturer Gomabit and the metal container manufacturer Otolux. I understand that restraining the virus and the health of our people is the priority, number one, but for the normal way of life and avoiding major economic damage, I´m applying for a special permit from the government that would allow people without symptoms to cross the border in order to go to work," she added.
Karuse noted that, via the e-tax office, the necessary data can be checked in the working register. She admitted that this will add an even heavier workload to those working at the border crossing points, but she is still hoping that the government will be well-disposed.
"It would help to reduce the coping difficulties in an area where the income levels are a lot less than the average in Estonia. Still, I remind people to stay home when any symptoms occur because the spread of the virus can only be stopped with reducing human contact," she added.
Editor: Roberta Vaino