Following the relaxation of coronavirus-related restrictions, the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has barred more than 50 Finnish citizens from entering the country who failed to indicate a clear reason for traveling to Estonia.
From Thursday through Sunday, Estonian authorities prohibited 54 arrivals from Finland from entering Estonia, Finnish Border Guard Lt. Commander Mikko Simola told Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat (link in Finnish).
Estonia's step followed the Finnish government's decision to permit foreign citizens to begin entering Finland again for employment purposes.
Finnish authorities cannot restrict the constitutional right of its citizens to leave or enter Finland, and thus the Finnish Border Guard's Gulf of Finland Coast Guard District monitors adherence to entry criteria at the Port of Helsinki. If a Finn has purchased a ferry ticket to Tallinn for entertainment purposes, however, the authorities cannot prevent them from boarding the vessel.
"If someone has a ticket and they leave, we can't stop them," Simola explained. "As a representative of the state, we naturally hope that everyone will act responsibly and follow guidelines for preventing unnecessary travel."
Thus far, just five people traveling from Estonia to Finland have been turned away, whom Simola has credited to two Finnish Border Guard agents working at the Port of Tallinn who inform travelers of conditions on entry into Finland. These guidelines have seen dozens of Estonian travelers change their minds about traveling to Finland, Simola noted.
"It is in this way that having to send Estonians interested in vacationing [in Finland] back to Tallinn has been avoided," he added.
While ship traffic between Tallinn and Helsinki has been restored, shipping companies are not reporting welcome passenger numbers, Helsingin Sanomat writes. Representatives of Eckerö Line and Tallink Silja have said that in the best case scenario, their ferries have carried some 400-500 passengers per departure, or less than a quarter of their respective capacities of over 2,000.
A total of 3,950 passengers arrived in and more than 2,000 passengers departed from Helsinki by ferry on Sunday. Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport served some 1,000 international passengers, including arrivals and departures in approximately equal numbers.
Editor: Aili Vahtla