Next week Midsummer's Day (Jaanipäev) will be celebrated across Estonia. Although this year's gatherings will be little different than usual, safety must not be forgotten. The police will also monitor Midsummer parties more carefully than usual.
There will be no big public Midsummer events this year to meet social distancing rules to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). In Estonia, gatherings with up to a hundred people are allowed, but celebrations should include only family and close acquaintances, the Rescue Board has said.
To ensure the safety of yourself and others, safety requirements must be observed when making a fire. The Rescue Board reminds everyone that even a small fire can get out of hand.
Rescue Board adviser Silver Kuusik said: "We remind you that only wood, clean paper and clean cardboard can be placed in a bonfire, as in all other campfires. A Midsummer fire is definitely not the place to put sofas, section cabinets, old painted lining boards and everything else that has stood somewhere in the shed for decades."
The Rescue Board recommends a "campfire guard" be selected from the guests to monitor the fire, who is later responsible for safely extinguishing the fire.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the police will also be checking Midsummer parties.
Tago Trei, the leading law enforcement officer of the Police and Border Guard Board, said: "We have mapped the venues of Midsummer parties in previous years, and this year we are also assuming that these venues can be reviewed."
Trei added: "If we identify an event with more than a hundred people or the 50 percent requirement is not guaranteed indoors or some other requirements are not met, /.../ we will try to contact the event organizer or the person responsible for the event /.../ If the organizer or person in charge of the event does not care about it and does not do anything, we will record the situation and forward this information to the Health Board, which will then have the right to make a procedural decision."
The Health Board also recommends keeping an eye on children when they are around the fire so the evening does not end with a call to the ambulance.
Karena Leiger, adviser to the Health Board, said people should consume alcohol wisely, not jump over the fire or swim when drunk.
The police, the Health Board and the Rescue Board said as the coronavirus has not yet disappeared any person who is feeling ill should stay at home.
Editor: Helen Wright