To stop the spread of the coronavirus infection, the police have banned the sales of alcohol during the night at the entertainment and catering establishments of Ida-Viru County as of Saturday. Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has said he supports the ban.
The East Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has decided to forbid the sale of alcoholic beverages at all entertainment, catering and other establishments in Ida-Viru County between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The measure will be in effect for two weeks and then reassessed by the PPA and Health Board.
The head of the East Prefecture, Tarvo Kruup, said that the measure was imposed in the interests of public health and public order.
"The number of people infected with coronavirus has rocketed up in Ida-Viru County in recent days and the infection rate has climbed to 26 people per 100,000 inhabitants.
"In order to prevent bigger spread of the infection still, we are imposing a temporary ban of the nighttime sales of alcohol at catering and entertainment institutions. Everyone's contribution is important for stopping the spread of the virus, and I invite everyone to act responsibly and do everything in order to protect themselves and others against contracting the infection," Kruup said.
Compliance with the restriction is monitored by the municipality in collaboration with the Police and Border Guard Board and the Health Board.
Thirty new cases are connected in Ida-Viru County
Officials have identified two outbreaks of coronavirus in Ida-Viru County, one of which is to do with a bar called Jõhvi Kelder. In total 36 residents of the northeastern county have been diagnosed with the virus in the past 14 days.
The infection rate in Ida-Viru County as at Saturday morning was 36 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than in any other region of Estonia.
On Saturday, the Health Board said 21 new cases of coronavirus were diagnosed in the last 24 hours. Ten positive test results were recorded in Harju County, nine in Ida-Viru County and one each in Jõgeva and Võru counties.
PM supports ban on nighttime alcohol sales in Ida-Viru County
Prime Minister Juri Ratas (Center) said on Saturday that he supports the introduction of a ban on the sale of alcohol in the bars and restaurants of Ida-Viru County during the night as a measure to help stop the spread of the coronavirus infection.
"The infection outbreaks in Ida-Viru County confirm the fact stated by scientists earlier that COVID-19 is a disease of parties, so to speak. Many people close together in a closed space create especially favorable preconditions for the spread of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, alcohol facilitates risk behavior and the transmission of the COVID-19 infection," Ratas said.
"Based on the example of Tartu County, we can see that after the introduction of a ban on alcohol sales the number of local transmissions of the disease declined."
Ratas said that with the ban on nighttime sales of alcohol, Estonia wishes to contain the spread of the dangerous virus also at the entertainment establishments of East-Viru County.
"Partygoers across Estonia must remember that the lives and health of members of their community depend also on their behavior. At present we have managed to prevent a new spread of the virus among the risk groups. The state, just like each individual person, must make an effort for it to also remain this way," Ratas said.
Editor: Helen Wright