Samost and Sildam: Estonia and neighbors could have common quarantine area ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Toomas Sildam and Anvar Samost
Toomas Sildam and Anvar Samost

Because the tourism and service sectors have been hit the hardest in the coronavirus crisis, the government should consider targeted measures and discuss creating a common quarantine area with neighboring countries, journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam found on Vikerraadio.

Toomas Sildam said that Saaremaa entrepreneurs' hopes for a bright and financially lucrative summer have been dashed as Saaremaa will continue to be a question mark for mainlanders even after restrictions on movement are lifted. "Which is only natural as Saaremaa has been made out to be the corona island," Sildam said.

Samost said that perhaps targeted crisis measures would be in order. "It has been discussed in Finland whether to create special vouchers people could cash with various companies on the taxpayer's dime. It is a separate matter to which extent that would be justified in Estonia. But something like that could be considered," he said.

Sildam said it would be natural for Enterprise Estonia or other agents to promote discovering and vacationing in Estonia this summer. Samost added that Estonians are unlikely to have much choice in the matter anyway.

"The question is whether countries in the same region as Estonia should create a common quarantine area. Restrictions laid down by Finland are especially draconian toward Estonia as the country depends on the millions of Finnish tourists who have upheld the Estonian tourism sector that makes up roughly 10 percent of GDP," he said.

Sildam agreed that Estonia should maintain high readiness for regional cooperation should another similar crisis hit. "So that the Baltics and Finland could make decisions and lay down restrictions in a coordinated fashion."

Anvar Samost said that Estonia is not the only one benefiting from passenger traffic in the Gulf of Finland. Finland is equally invested in the movement of Estonians. "Tourism is not a one-way street. It also works to support the Finnish economy. It is to be hoped the Finnish government takes it seriously and will be able to make more coherent decisions than the mess we've seen since mid-April as concerns cross-border traffic to and from Estonia and Sweden," he said.

Samost gave the example of labor migration on the border between Estonia and Latvia where no great confusion has arisen. "Cooperation between Estonia and Latvia has been very successful in terms of communing and has not seen any major disruption as far as I am aware. The question is rather that of Finland that keeps looking to Sweden," Samost said.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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