Kiik: Talk of Re-establishing strict coronavirus restrictions premature

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center).
Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) says that while is positive that the city of Tartu has acted effectively in curbing the spread of COVID-19 after recent outbreaks in the city, the current epidemiological situation does not warrant re-establishing the 2+2 rule, largely due to the difficulties in enforcing it.

On Monday, ERR News wrote that a crisis council met in Tartu to discuss the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the city with three proposals being made to government, one of which being the re-establishment of the 2+2 rule, referring to a maximum of two people gathering in a public place, families excepted, while maintaining a minimum two meters' distance from others in public.

The proposals also include limiting capacity in night clubs, "hookah" cafes and similar entertainment establishments to 100. A strong recommendation to wear masks when indoors was also brought up.

Kiik told ERR that surveillance on the 2+2 rule would be costly and raises a question of efficient use of state resources.

The social minister said: "Of course, if there are proposals from the city of Tartu, the government will discuss them."

He added that the current situation is different from the one in spring when the virus had just reached Estonia and spread nationwide. Setting strict restrictions in early August is premature and that question is better suited for when new cases start piling up, he said.

Speaking about night clubs, which have been the source of recent outbreaks in Tartu, Kiik said the problem is wider and he recommends everyone avoid crowded closed spaces such as clubs. He noted that if restrictions are again established, they need to be done for both bars and night clubs concurrently.

Kiik said: "Currently, a 50 percent capacity restriction is in force, there is also an obligation to ensure distancing."

He added that it is reasonable to set restrictions on certain fields, such as alcohol consumption, capacity restrictions and opening hours, because the virus does not care for the establishment and risk of infection is high everywhere.

Kiik thinks wearing a mask is reasonable in certain situations and locations, but setting it as a requirement would be disproportionate, because Estonia is not a high-risk region.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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