On the evening of March 19, the Finnish government decided to stop cross-border commuting for Estonians working in Finland but permanently residing in Estonia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The ban will take effect from midnight (00.00) on Sunday, March 22.
The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed the updated information received from the Finnish authorities regarding the new rules on crossing the border.
The new restriction on travel by the Finnish authorities affects approximately 20,000 permanent residents of Estonia working in Finland, the ministry said.
Travelling in transit from international airports and ports via Finland is allowed. No extra documents are required by the Finnish authorities; however, travelers should be prepared to show the airline representative at their country of departure a document (for example, a ferry ticket) to prove that the end destination of travel is Estonia.
Estonians currently working in Finland, who have not registered their right to residence in Finland (i.e. do not have a permanent address of residence in Finland), are no longer able to enter the country as of Sunday.
Only Finnish nationals as well as persons with permanent address of residence in Finland are able to enter Finland and a 14-day self-isolation requirement is applied to them upon entry.
All Estonians who work in Finland but permanently reside in Estonia should decide whether to go to Finland and stay there continuing to work until the regulations are changed, or to stay in Estonia.
In the latter case, they will have no possibility to travel to Finland again until the current restrictions are lifted, and it is not yet known when that will be.
The foreign ministry is urging everyone affected by the ban, to make their decisions based on what is best for the wellbeing and health of themselves and others, and discuss their options with their employers.
Until 11.59 p.m. on Saturday, March 21, the instructions regarding border crossing given by the Finnish authorities on Wednesday, March 18 apply. Workers who have not registered their permanent address of residence in Finland, can enter Finland, provided they have and can present a valid employment contract in Finland.
Those workers will also not be subjected to a 14-day self-quarantine requirement upon entering Finland.
From the evening of March 18, for those entering Estonia, the 14-day isolation requirement will not apply to those permanently residing in Estonia but working in Finland, provided they do not display any symptoms.
The Estonian government, Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Estonian Embassy in Helsinki are in constant communication with their Finnish colleagues and as soon as there are any new details made available, will make it available.
Editor: Helen Wright