"Samost and Sildam": Night club ban sensible

Anvar Samost (right) and Toomas Sildam, hosts of
Anvar Samost (right) and Toomas Sildam, hosts of "Samost ja Sildam". Source: ERR

The government's decision to ease restrictions on other events and entertainment establishments but not night clubs is understandable as experience suggests new outbreaks start in such places, ERR journalists Anvar Samost and Toomas Sildam found.

Samost said that what we know about the spread of the coronavirus today is that so-called super outbreaks happen at events where a lot of people are close together in a poorly ventilated room, breathing in and out, singing, yelling and jumping around together.

"Spending four or five hours in a closed room while intoxicated makes it rather difficult to stay away from other people, while loud music makes it necessary to shout at each other from a close range that causes droplets to fly about. It does not seem like a sensible thing to do, considering the risks," he said.

Sildam added that he believes doctors Irja Lutsar and Arkadi Popov would be "extremely concerned" to hear about a plan to open night clubs.

The ban caused many people to wonder how to define a night club in terms of what types of establishments need to remain closed.

"Looking at the register of economic activities, night clubs don't exist. If we ask Tallinn's enterprise department, it turns out the city has no overview of night clubs," Sildam noted.

Government officials were also consulted. "When we asked government officials for the definition of a night club on Friday, we were sent an excerpt from Wikipedia. The most accurate definition was provided by the person who processed our query: A closed room sporting poor ventilation where sweaty people rub against one another to the tune of silly music and drink colorful drinks that are too expensive and too sweet," Sildam said.

Samost added that the hunt for definitions shouldn't be taken too far concerning easing of restrictions and that people should rather take it upon themselves to make sensible decisions instead of expecting the government to dictate every aspect of how they should act also after the emergency situation.

"With every passing week, people need to give more thought to what is sensible and what isn't. The famous 2+2 rule, I think, is not mandatory if one goes over the rules with a fine-toothed comb, while people need to make their own decisions in terms of how close they want to be to how many people and what kind of risks they want to take," the journalist said.

Risks should also be weighed by event organizers, instead of trying to take advantage of laxer rules.

"We find ourselves in a situation where every person's responsibility and behavior will determine whether the disease will subside. One should constantly ask oneself whether night club events or birthday parties with 100 or more guests should be held. I believe I wouldn't," Samost said.

Estonia's emergency situation medical chief Dr. Arkadi Popov told ERR in an interview on Friday that easing of restrictions is in order in the current epidemiological situation and should not be feared too much.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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