As the emergency situation comes to an end on May 18, the government approved four orders during its online meeting yesterday, confirming restrictions and easing of restrictions to remain in effect after the end of the emergency situation. Even though the emergency situation will come to an end, Estonia will continue to have healthcare emergency.
The government decided on Saturday to end the emergency situation in Estonia from May 18 as the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been confirmed to be in decline both by the govenrment's COVID-19 scientific council and the Estonian Health Board.
Furthermore, there is no need to extend the emergency situation as relevant amendments have ensured the government and its agencies sufficient powers for laying down operative measures to contain the spread of the disease.
"Thanks to sensible and responsible action by our people, we can end the emergency situation in Estonia this week. Our common efforts allow us to return to a more normal way of life," Prime Minister Jüri Ratas said. "That said, we must remain viligant so as not to lose control over the virus. This means that while the emergency situation will end, several restrictions will remain in effect."
Restrictions and alleviation of restrictions for after the emergency situation:
RESTRICTIONS TO ALCOHOL SALES
The government approved the order to continue to restrict the sale of alcohol, including in restaurants and bars, from 22:00 to 10:00. The restrictions do not apply on board of a ship or an aircraft used for international passenger transport and to a sales premises located in the security area of the international airport or port. The restriction on the sale of alcohol applies to catering establishments, including bars and other similar sales premises, until July 1.
Secondly, the government confirmed the order to establish quarantine after the end of the emergency situation for COVID-19 patients and people living with them who are in close contact with the patients.
People infected with COVID-19 are prohibited from leaving their place of residence from the time of diagnosis until recovery. This also applies to the people using shelters and other such services who must remain in quarantine at their place of stay.
People in close contact with infected persons may move outside their residence to a limited extent only if they have no symptoms of the disease. It is allowed to leave the home if it is unavoidable and to spend time outdoors if all the measures are taken to prevent the spread of the disease and instructions of the Health Board are observed.
The person may also leave their residence if they have received an order from a healthcare worker or a police officer instructing them to leave the place of residence or permanent stay, or in the event of an emergency which threatens the person's life or health.
RESTRICTIONS ON CROSSING THE STATE BORDER AND QUARANTINE
Thirdly, the government approved an order extending the restrictions on crossing the Estonian state border and 14-day quarantine requirement for persons who had previously been subject to this requirement.
Latvian or Lithuanian citizens, holders of residence permits, or persons with a right of residence in these countries who have no symptoms of the disease, may enter Estonia without an obligation for quarantine.
Finnish citizens, holders of residence permits or persons with a right of residence in Finland, who have no symptoms of the disease, who come to Estonia to work, study or for unavoidable family reasons such as meeting with their close relatives, attending a funeral or a wedding, or need to visit due to a case of illness, can also enter Estonia.
A foreign national without any symptoms of the disease, travelling to their home country is also allowed to transit through Estonia.
People without symptoms of the disease, who have had the right to enter Estonia previously without an obligation to stay in quarantine, may continue to do so. For example, people transporting goods and raw materials, persons involved in the international carriage of cargo and passengers, persons involved in the technical work of a company operating in Estonia, health care providers, diplomats, people arriving within the framework of international military cooperation, etc.
RESTRICTIONS ON MOVEMENT AND SPECIAL CONDITIONS FOR EASING OF RESTRICTIONS
Fourthly, the government approved an order extending the majority of movement restrictions and specifying the conditions for their implementation.
In public places and indoor premises, the so-called 2+2 rule remains in force, which means that both outdoors and indoors, up to two people may be together, keeping a distance of 2 meters from other people. The rule does not apply to families or at homes. The rule applies to all activities in Estonia that do not take place in domestic conditions.
Sales and service premises
In sales and service premises, catering establishments and public spaces of shopping centers, the owner of the establishment must ensure compliance with the 2+2 rule. When entering and exiting the sales and service premises, both employees and customers must be provided with a possibility of using disinfectants.
Until July 1, catering establishments premises cannot be used later than 22:00.
Catering establishments need to close from 22:00 but take-away purchases are allowed. After July 1, catering establishments can be open without restrictions.
Certain entertainment facilities remain closed
After the end of the emergency situation, nightclubs, casinos and slot machine arcades, hookah cafes, and adult clubs will remain closed.
Tallinn-Stockholm cruises will not take place
The prohibition of excursions for tourism remains in force on Tallinn-Stockholm shipping route.
Leisure and entertainment services
As of June 1, certain entertainment establishments may open, such as bowling, billiards, and playrooms for children. The service provider must ensure that the establishment follows the 50 percent capacity requirement on the premises, provides disinfectant and observes rules regarding the provision of disinfection in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board. The rules for recreational sports apply to bowling and billiard.
Saunas, spas, swimming pools, water centres
Saunas, spas, swimming pools, and water centres can open as of June 1. Compliance with the 2+2 rule, the requirement for dispersion of people, the requirement for 50 percent capacity and the requirement for disinfection must be guaranteed according to the instructions of the Health Board. The rules on sports are applicable for swimming exercises.
Public religious services and other religious rites are allowed if the 2+2 rule is complied with and the provision of disinfectants is guaranteed.
Public meetings may be held only if the 2+2 rule is complied.
Public meetings may be held indoors if the 50 percent capacity rule is observed. As of May 18, up to 10 persons may participate, as of June 1, 50 persons and as of July 1, 500 persons.
Public meetings may be held outdoors if the organizer ensures no more than 100 persons attend as of May 18, and no more than 1000 persons from July 1. The 2+2 rule must be observed.
Until June 30, all public events are prohibited.
As an exception, public events are allowed in the open air, where visitors are in their cars, such as drive-in cinemas and concerts. The organizer of the event must ensure that the 2+2 rule is observed, the participants must not leave the car without an unavoidable reason and the distance between parked cars must remain sufficient. If necessary, the organizer of the event must ensure the provision of disinfectants on location.
As of July 1, movies, performances, concerts, conferences, fairs, festivals, and other public events are allowed, including indoor and outdoor sports competitions without spectators, if the 2+2 rule is observed, the indoor premises are filled to no more than 50 percent capacity. In total, no more than 500 people can participate in any indoor event, even if 50 percent capacity of the space exceeds that amount. The number of participants of the outdoor event may be up to 1,000 persons.
Education in lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools, vocational education institutions and higher education institutions (except in research and development institutions of universities and research institutions), as well as in continuous education institutions, informal education and hobby activities, and the activities of open youth centres, must follow the 2+2 rule; students may work in groups of no more than 10 (except for exams); when organizing the exams the students must be dispersed in the exam room, the movement of groups of students must be dispersed, and all items in common use must be disinfected after use.
As of June 1, informal education and hobby activities must be organized in such a way that the 2+2 requirement is observed, up to 50 percent of the indoor capacity may be used, and the number of participants outdoors cannot exceed 100 people. An informal education or hobby activity related to sports is described separately.
As of June 12, it is possible to organize youth camps and student camps if the 2+2 rule is observed; no more than 300 participants and one group can have up to 20 people. The organizer must ensure that disinfectants are available.
In driving schools, and other premises, training must take into account that only one instructor and one student may be in the car and disinfectants are provided in the vehicle. The organizer of the training cleans all the surfaces touched by students after each lesson.
It is allowed to engage in sports, to train and hold sports and exercise events if the 2+2 rule is observed and the number of participants does not exceed 10 persons, and the organizer has ensured the availability of disinfectant. As of June 1, the number of participants may not exceed 100 persons and the organizer must ensure that disinfectant is available. This restriction does not apply to sports teams if the requirements of the international competition regulation are followed, for trainings of Estonian national teams, and championship league trainings.
Sports competitions without spectators can be held outdoors with no more than 100 participants. The provision of disinfectants must be guaranteed.
It is allowed to engage in sports, training and organize sports and exercise events indoors if the compliance with 2+2 requirements is guaranteed, no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the space is filled, disinfectants are available, and the number of participants is no more than 10 people. As of June 1, the size of the group is no longer limited, but the 50 percent capacity and 2+2 rule must be still observed. The same applies to the training groups. This restriction does not apply to sports teams if the requirements of the international competition regulation are followed, for trainings of Estonian national teams, and championship league trainings.
Museums and exhibition institutions
When visiting museums and exhibition institutions, the 2+2 rule must be observed; for visiting groups, there may be a maximum of ten visitors in the group; the availability of disinfectants must be ensured. The surfaces frequently touched by visitors must be cleaned frequently. If possible, the organizer offers digital information materials instead of physical materials. Creative workshops will not be organized using commonly used tools or, if organized, they will be disinfected after each user.
The media is obliged to publish the order regarding restrictions of movement, official notification will follow.
The restrictions and measures imposed shall apply until the deadline specified in the order or the amendment or repeal of the order, the necessity of which shall be assessed at the latest every two weeks.
Editor: Marcus Turovski