The Estonian National Museum (ERM) will become the center of WRC Rally Estonia on the first weekend of September, hosting the car park and opening and closing ceremonies of the competition. The museum itself will be closed for the period of WRC Rally Estonia.
WRC promoter GmbH initially wanted the museum to be closed for ten days, but after discussions on Tuesday, an agreement was reached that the museum would close its doors for a total of five days, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Tuesday.
Rally tourists who want to get acquainted with Estonian culture have to do so either before or after the World Rally Championship round, held in Southern Estonia on September 4-6.
Silver Kütt, organizer of Rally Estonia, said: "Inevitably we must take into account the spread of the virus in Europe and we must make sure that ERM and all of its employees, the officials working here, and the car park will be safe. The virus is the thing that is setting all these restrictions on the event and is partly the reason why ERM must be closed."
Although ERM is struggling due to the coronavirus and will not have a chance of making up some of its lost income from rally fans, museum director Alar Karis agrees that an outbreak in the museum must be avoided.
Karis said the museum is already planning a rally-themed exhibition. "For the people that come here - the teams, drivers themselves - we can give them tours for a few days if they are interested. To my knowledge, most rally fans will come from Estonia or neighboring countries, which leaves them the opportunity to always come back after the rally to visit the location where Tänak hopefully will win."
ERR News wrote on July 10 that ERM has to make cuts totalling close to €500,000 this year. Karis said about Rally Estonia: "By preliminary info, the international organization (International Automobile Federation - ed.) wants us to close for ten days, which is not okay to me as a museum director. If ERM was open, it would bring rally fans who wouldn't normally come here and would also introduce Estonian culture to the drivers."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste