Estonia eases border crossing restrictions with Latvia, Lithuania, Finland ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation.
A queue of trucks at the border crossing point at Ikla in South Estonia during the emergency situation. Source: Verner Vilgas/ERR

On Friday, Estonia announced it had eased restrictions on border crossings with Latvia, Lithuania and Finland starting from the middle of next week.

Restrictions will be eased with Finland from May 14. Currently, people who live in Estonia but work in Finland can only travel to Estonia once a week without having to observe the 14-day self-isolation requirement, but as of next Thursday, they can travel between Estonia and Finland more frequently.

The quarantine period will also not be mandatory for anyone coming from Finland to Estonia to study or for urgent family reasons.

It is recommended that people arriving in Estonia should avoid leaving their homes unnecessarily for a two-week period, except for travelling between work and home, or for an essential purpose.

Voluntary testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be carried out in ships traveling between Estonia and Finland from May 14-19.

Restrictions will be eased with Latvia and Lithuania from May 15. A quarantine period is not needed to move between the three countries if you are a resident or legally residing in any of the three countries.

At the same time, people crossing the border must continue to comply with the orders issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,

In order to limit the spread of coronavirus, temporary restrictions on entry into Estonia have been valid since 16 March.

The full notice issued by the government is published, unedited, below:

The Government of the Republic decided that the restrictions for border crossings between Estonia and Finland will be eased as of the second half of next week, and that free movement of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian residents and people legally residing in these countries will resume.

With the order of the person in charge of the emergency situation, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the restriction will ease as of May 14. The restrictions in place required the people coming from Finland to Estonia to remain in self-isolation for 14 days after crossing the border. People who lived in Estonia but worked in Finland could only travel to Estonia once a week without having to observe the 14-day self-isolation requirement, but as of next Thursday, they can travel between Estonia and Finland more frequently.

In addition to people working in Finland, the requirement for self-isolation after the border crossing will be lifted for people who come from Finland to Estonia to work or to study. People coming to Estonia for urgent family reasons, such as to see a close relative, or for a wedding or a funeral, will not have to observe the self-isolation requirement.

Although the self-isolation requirement will be lifted, it is recommended that people arriving to Estonia would avoid leaving their homes unnecessarily for a two-week period, except for travelling between work and home, or for some other essential purpose.

Additional requirements are applied on ships and ports: from May 14 to 19, voluntary testing will be carried out for coronavirus causing COVID-19 on board of ships travelling between Finland and Estonia. The aim of testing is to reduce the possible spread of the virus to Estonia. The testing arrangements will be developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The amendment to the Government Regulation also allows for the possibility to perform a random border check to identify the person crossing the border and the purpose of their journey.

The free movement of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian residents and people legally residing in these countries will resume within a week, on May 15th. As of that date, the temporary border control and surveillance of the state borders at the border between Estonia and Latvia will cease, and people from Latvia and Lithuania will no longer have to stay at home for 14 days when arriving to Estonia, unless they have arrived from outside the Baltic States. The opening of borders and the conditions associated with free movement of persons legally staying in the Baltic States will be specified in the joint agreement between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the near future.

At the same time, people crossing the border must continue to comply with the orders issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the requirement to wear a mask, or the 2-by-2 rule, which allows up to two people to be in a public place together, maintaining a distance of at least two metres from everybody else. Since the orders may vary from country to country, the relevant information will be made available specifically to people crossing the state borders.

In order to limit the spread of coronavirus, temporary restrictions on entry into Estonia have been valid since 16 March.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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