President: We were ready to cancel annual Kadriorg reception

President Kersti Kaljulaid.
President Kersti Kaljulaid. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

The president's annual reception held at Kadriorg Rose Garden, celebrating the Day of Restoration of Independence, faced possible cancellation right up until the last minute, President Kersti Kaljulaid herself said.

Kaljulaid explained to ERR of the complexities of hosting this type of event, on the spot once it was actually in progress: "Of course, we were ready to make the decision that, no, this event cannot go ahead."

Consulting with Irja Lutsar and Andres Merits of the government's coronavirus scientific council, a decision was made on the basis of a German research paper that says party-goers at outdoor events have generally not being contracting the virus. The annual Rose Garden Reception is held outdoors, with marquees hosting refreshment stands and providing shelter when needed (this year's event saw particularly warm and sunny weather).

On this basis, the president urged party guests to stay outdoors and also to download HOIA, the Estonian coronavirus exposure app.

Kaljulaid said attention has to be turned to the fact that if the infection rate in the country continues to rise due to night club outbreaks, visitations at care homes will immediately be suspended.

While the two types of establishment might seem mutually exclusive, a recent outbreak in Tartu centered on nightclubs, bars and restaurants in Estonia's second city, with cases spreading to those who simply had contact with the infected party goers.

The preisdent noted, however, an alternative would be that: "... A regime will be implemented which should also be implemented during flu season. People will protect each other from viruses, but noone will be left without visitation rights. Inevitably, some of these decisions are coming up and they need to be made honestly. Hopefully in favor of the weaker."

Kaljulaid also pointed out that the current situation is being used for political capital.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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