The Estonian Traders Association (Kaupmeeste liit) has approached the government with a proposal to allocate €3 million to cover sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE) compensation.
The association says this money could be found from funds left over from a rent support measure provided to retailers and service providers at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
ERR News wrote on April 25 that the Estonian government had decided to support stores and other retail and service outlets which had had to close as the coronavirus spread, by partily covering their rent payments. A total of €4 million was earmarked for distribution by the Ministry of Finance, via representative organizations.
Nele Peil, CEO of the traders association, wrote to the government on Wednesday to note that state agency Enterprise Estonia distributed €1 million to the trade sector in spring, but the remaining €3 million of the promised support package, which was not used in the end, could be allocated for compensation for different measures applied during the coronavirus pandemic and as a result of the strictures of the government's emergency situation declared March to May.
Peil penned a list of different measures put into use to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 in retail and service spaces: "Making disinfectant available to all employees and customers, masks, gloves, plexiglass dividers, visors, and also surface cleaning, information materials, information campaigns to ensure customer safety, psychological counselling for employees at the peak of the crisis - all this to stop the virus from spreading and to keep stores open for customers."
Peil also noted that traders are still required to make sanitizers available for all customers, and the Health Board (Terviseamet) has ordered surfaces to be cleaned.
She wrote: "Sanitizer expenses stood at a few million euros by summer. We are proposing that these expenses be compensated retroactively from the remaining rent support measure."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste