After recent developments and discussions regarding the spread of COVID-19 both globally and in Estonia, organizers of the South Estonia Rally have decided to implement further measures to ensure public safety, including making the event a one-day affair, instead of the two days originally planned.
After the city of Võru canceled the city stage and final podium events of the 11-stage rally event on August 12, the rally reorganized its schedule, with the revised event starting at 8.30 a.m. on August 23 from a service park near Võru and will end at the same location around 7.16 p.m.
Gabriel Müürsepp, head organizer of South Estonia Rally, said the implementation of further measures is necessary: "Considering the increase in the spread of infection in Southern Estonia, we have decided to implement additional measures to ensure public safety. Changes will mostly affect spectator capacity, the schedule and ticket sales.
"While previously we had planned the event with 6,000 spectators being present, we are now forced to reduce that number to 1,650. We are basing our actions on the recommendations of the government, the Health Board (Terviseamet) and Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) to ensure sufficient distancing across the entire route. In addition, we will also introduce a personalized ticket sales system, which means tickets can only be bought through Piletilevi's system, with each ticket marked with the persons personal identification code and can not be re-sold."
Ticket sales will begin on Monday, August 17, at 10 a.m. A total of 16 locations are scattered on the rally route for spectators which will be published on the event's homepage.
In relation to existing restrictions, all competitors, teams and press are required to take a PCR COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to arriving in Estonia, with the test results having to be sent to rally organizers.
The organizers is calling for everyone present to wear personal protective equipment when on the premises. For the event to take place safely, five principles have been set:
- Don't come if you are feeling at all ill.
- Wear a mask.
- Don't socialize.
- Consider competitors' privacy and don't ask for autographs or selfies.
The rally is a warm-up event, in effect, for the full WRC Rally Estonia two weeks later. That event is still going ahead as planned, at the time of writing.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste