Finance minister ditches face mask before addressing press conference ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) getting rid of his face mask before speaking at Thursday's press conference.
Finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE) getting rid of his face mask before speaking at Thursday's press conference. Source: ERR

The practicalities of donning face masks in public came into sharp relief for one panellist at Thursday's government press conference. While Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) and Minister for Population Affairs Riina Solman (Isamaa) both kept their masks firmly in place throughout, including when speaking, the precaution proved too much of an encumbrance for finance minister Martin Helme (EKRE), who duly removed it.

"I can't," Helme was heard to say after greeting the press pack, before going on to speak (see video).

Earlier in the week, Ratas had said that he was not in favor of mandatory face masks in public places, saying this would be too difficult to maintain, though at the same time the prime minister said that mask-wearing should still become a social norm.

"We also discussed the issue of masks and will move forward with the debate to facilitate a science-based decision and give clear instructions to the public," Ratas had said on Wednesday, following a crisis committee meeting on the matter.

Last week, Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center), proposed the government establish a requirement that face masks be worn in enclosed public spaces until the end of the emergency situation, an idea which has received mixed reactions from politicians and experts alike.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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