The Estonian government decided to ease restrictions applicable to public events, meetings and sporting events beginning July 15. The government's coronavirus research council, however, had recommended a stricter easing of restrictions.
Under current restrictions, capacity at indoor public events is capped at 500. Beginning next Wednesday, however, this cap is set to increase to 1,500. While capacity for outdoor events is currently capped at 1,000, meanwhile, this limit is set to double to 2,000. Both 50 percent capacity limits and distancing must be maintained, reported ETV news broadcast "Aktuaalne kaamera."
Virology professor Irja Lutsar said that it is the right time to relax restrictions, as many events are taking place outdoors.
Lutsar added, however, that the coronavirus research council had recommended lower numbers, noting that while it may be simple enough to follow all the rules at a classical music concert, for example, it would be more difficult to do the same at livelier parties.
"The research council is concerned about those events where people want to sing along and where alcohol is freely available and people get louder," she explained. "This is a party and event illness. In several countries, the outbreak began at just such concerts. So a distinction should be made regarding what kind of event it is, and perhaps there doesn't need to be alcohol at every event. Perhaps we should restrict alcohol instead."
An additional eight cases each of the novel coronavirus were confirmed on Wednesday and Thursday. Lutsar noted that it is important to know how the patients were infected so that people who had come in contact with them could be placed in isolation.
"The virus hasn't gone anywhere," she stressed. "Maintaining distances and following the rules haven't gone anywhere either."
The government is set to discuss a further relaxing of restrictions in September on August 13.
Editor: Aili Vahtla