Mayor of Tallinn questions use of 2+2 rule after restrictions are relaxed

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center). Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Tallinn Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart questioned whether it makes sense to keep the 2+2 rule in place after the government announced an easing of restrictions on public events and in public spaces, such as swimming pools, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said on Tuesday indoor sports training centers, including in swimming pools, will be allowed to reopen and outdoor sports training and events with up to 100 participants, with without spectators, can take place from May 18. The 2 + 2 rule is still required.

Kõlvart said the decision to open swimming pools, if approved by the government on Thursday, is incomprehensible to him, because earlier it was suggested they would be open in late summer or early autumn.

Kõlvart said on Wednesday: "I have to admit that I was a little confused about the decision... It is not quite clear why swimming pools and sports halls will be opened at the same time."

Most of the pools in Tallinn are privately owned, so the city will not be able to stop these facilities from opening if the government allow them to.

"Once the decision has been made, it means that a corresponding study and risk analysis has been carried out and, according to the decision of the government of the republic, we will also open our own institutions, because the number of our institutions is not decisive in this case," he said.

Kõlvart said if it is no longer possible to ensure compliance with the 2 + 2 rule and social distancing perhaps these requirements should be waived.

"It is also incomprehensible what the 2 + 2 rule and the requirement of social distance should mean for relaxing of regulations. We discussed at length with the members of the city government how to follow the distance in the pool. Similarly, the question arises of how to keep a distance at an event where 500 people are indoors or 1000 people are outdoors. This needs to be clarified, because we need to understand how we are going to monitor it. Or it must be acknowledged that easing the constraints means that the 2 + 2 rule cannot be guaranteed then. If a corresponding risk analysis has been carried out for this purpose [for the organization of major events] and research supports it, it is possible. But to demand it [compliance with the 2 + 2 rule] is not reasonable," he said.

The mayor said after the order of the government, the city will start to open its institutions gradually, but not all on the same day.

"There was also a question about what will happen to Tallinn's saunas. We are waiting for a signal from the government of the republic regarding saunas. If the spas are opened, we can decide on saunas," Kõlvart said.

The mayor confirmed all playgrounds in Tallinn will be reopened on Friday, but currently it is not allowed to go to playgrounds or sports grounds which are closed with a tape or fence. This is also controlled by the municipal police, Kõlvart noted.

Deputy Mayor Vadim Belobrovtsev said if the government approves new relaxations of restrictions on Thursday, Tallinn will be ready to open indoor sports facilities from Monday.

"There are 180 indoor sports facilities in Tallinn, 100 of them are in municipal ownership, 80 in private hands. If Tallinn decides not to open yet and private owners decide otherwise, it would not help to alleviate the situation so that risks can be avoided in the future. half of the gyms opened and half not and why the city has gone the other way, "said Belobrovtsev.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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