Government agrees 2+2, opening hours restrictions

Shopping mall interior.
Shopping mall interior. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The new rules, which were announced in principle on Tuesday, apply to the movement of customers in shops, shopping malls, catering and entertainment establishments, and on the attendance of people at public meetings and events. They will enter into force on Monday, November 16.

The aim of the regulations is to prevent and stop the spread of the coronavirus while allowing people to continue with their normal lives as much as possible. 

The rules still allow people to spend time together in smaller groups and allows companies to continue their economic activities.

Additional restrictions are necessary as the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia has increased rapidly in recent weeks. Imposing new restrictions is deemed necessary the Health Board and the government's scientific advisory council.

On Thursday, 374 new positive coronavirus test results were diagnosed in the past 24 hours, and the 14-day average per 100,000 inhabitants was 166. In comparison, on October 14, the same indicator was 43, on September 12, it was 22.8, and on August 1, it was 4.

On Friday, the average rose to 178.71 per 100,000, an increase of 11.97 percent.

2+2 in shops and 10+2 in restaurants

The 2+2 rule will apply in shops and common areas in shopping malls. Customers can move in groups of two and must keep two meters from other groups.

The restriction does not apply to families moving together and in situations where conditions cannot be reasonably guaranteed. 

The restriction does not apply to employees or businesses such as pharmacies, banks, beauty salons and shoemakers.

Groups of up to 10 people can still meet in places such as catering establishments, theaters, cinemas, concerts and nightclubs but groups must be separated by a distance of two meters.

The restriction applies outside the seating area and not when sitting in a theater or movie theater. The restriction does not apply to local staff. 

There is also an exception for families, which means people belonging to the same family can move around together regardless of the size of the family.

The service provider must ensure that customers are able to meet the regulations and that groups of people can be dispersed. Catering establishments offering on-site dining must ensure that customers are seated at a distance of two meters apart from the next table.

Events with fixed seats continue to be exempt from the 50 percent occupancy limit, but the limit of 750 participants must be respected.

Additionally, the government has agreed that catering and entertainment establishments must close their doors to visitors on site from midnight to 6 a.m. from Monday, November 16. Food sales and purchases are allowed.

Cultural institutions with stationary seats, such as theaters, cinemas and concert halls, may keep their doors open to customers past midnight.

Mask guidelines

The government issued guidelines on Tuesday which said people over 12 should wear masks when on public transport and in theaters and movie theaters.

It is still not mandatory to wear a mask and fines will not be issued for those who do not.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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