Tallinn mayor: Big city means more caution required in restrictions lifting

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) in the Vikerraadio studios. Source: Romi Hasa / Vikerraadio / ERR

Tallinn authorities are to keep the capital's streets cleaner than usual this summer, Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) says, with more resources being earmarked for the task. Part of the rationale is that more residents are likely to stay in the city over summer than is normally the case, as well as concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, he said. Kõlvart also pointed towards a stricter approach on the part of the city government, compared with the national one, in the wake of the pandemic and the ongoing lifting of restrictions

"We have decided, particularly due to the virus, that the streets need to be cleaned more than before - we will put additional resources in it," Kõlvart told ERR radio show "Vikerhommik" Thursday morning.

The mayor also noted that the city's approach to the coronavirus restrictions and their lifting had been more cautious than the national government's line, mainly as Tallinn is by far the largest population center in the country. Larger cities have a greater responsibility, he said.

"Currently, we're perhaps being a bit too positive, and could be more cautious," he added.

Mayor: Lifting of restrictions harder than instating them

Kõlvart also said that emerging from the emergency situation, which the national government declared on March 12 and which ends at midnight on Sunday, can be even more difficult, in emotional terms, than imposing them, since the public is awaiting the same, pre-pandemic lifestyle to return fully, whereas this will not be the case, he said.

"The same way of life will not return," he said, adding that public opinion was polarized on the threat of a recurrence of the virus to or beyond its earlier levels.

"There are two extremes here: Some people are still very afraid, and others think that the virus is now gone," the mayor said. 

"But really we have to be ready for a second outbreak. Please God, that this doesn't happen, but we can't go on with a situation where it comes and we're not ready."

The mayor also praised public behavior on the local and national level.

"If people had not self-quarantined and followed regulations, there would have been no such positive scenario," he said.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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