Tallinn not to open guarded public beach by Russalka Memorial ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Beach at Russalka in Tallinn.
Beach at Russalka in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Five public beaches were opened for the season in Tallinn on Monday: Pirita, Kakumäe, Stroomi, Pikakari and Lake Harku. A beach area will be opened by the seaside Russalka Memorial, but this will not be an official public zone, meaning that swimming there will be at the individual's own risk.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Kalle Klandorf (Center) had said on Vikerraadio's "Uudis+" last Friday that the plan was to open an official public beach area by the Russalka monument in Kadriorg, but on Monday specified that this area was to be a public beach area, not a designated public swimming area.

"There are five public beaches for swimming in Tallinn," Klandorf told ERR. "Regarding Russalka, there is a beach area there, but a public swimming area in the legal sense will not be opened there. Playground equipment which was installed at the beach last year will be put back out again shortly — swings and things where people can spend time. It is up to the public themselves whether or not to go in the water there, however. It will not be an official city beach."

Water samples are only taken at five public beaches; the beach by Russalka is not among these.

"People wanted to get a tan on the beach here, and besides, the sand there has been washed ashore by the tides," the deputy mayor explained. "This is a beach that has developed there like that, and not very long ago. There was a swimming spot there a few hundred years ago, during Tsarist times, but not today." Swimming there, he added, is at your own risk.

Of the five public beaches in Tallinn, Pirita and Pikakari Beaches have both earned blue flags for this season, indicating that the water there is cleaner than required by state standards. More samples will be taken from the city's other beaches, Klandorf said, adding that swimming is permitted at Stroomi Beach, for example, but it did not earn blue flag status.

Adherence to 2+2 rule not to be monitored

The first day of the the summer beach season on Monday was uneventful, according to the deputy mayor.

"The first day was calm; I just spoke with the municipal police this morning," Klandorf said. "The municipal police was there, ensured that people were parking correctly. It was relatively calm on the beach. There were people and cars, but it was nonetheless the first day, and it isn't that warm out yet, and neither is the water. Yesterday was also the first day lifeguards were on duty."

While beachgoers are currently required to follow the 2+2 distancing rule, according to the deputy mayor, nobody in Tallinn will be going out of their way specifically to monitor adherence to it.

"I watched the news about lifeguards in Pärnu yesterday, and they, too, said that they would not start going and disciplining anyone," he said. "The municipal police will come to the beach if there are any general issues, first and foremost with parking and issuing warnings, if necessary, but generally speaking, we don't plan on monitoring for the 2+2 rule specifically."

Last week, the Health Board announced that it was lifting requirements for public beaches to provide trash cans and changing booths this year. Klandorf, however, said that this announcement was incomprehensible.

"Are people going to start burying their trash in the sand then?" he asked. "This was entirely incomprehensible. There's no point in saying such things. Yes, this is up to each local government to ensure, but for the state to say that it's not necessary, that it's not legally required, that isn't very... I can't even tell you where this talk came from."

The deputy mayor noted that Tallinn will still be putting out trash cans at its public beaches "despite the Health Board's kind permission" to skip doing so.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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