Masks mandatory for theater, cinema audiences from Monday ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

A masked Tõnis Lukas, the culture minister, in a cinema.
A masked Tõnis Lukas, the culture minister, in a cinema. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Wearing masks at indoor public events will be mandatory from Monday, and audience numbers will be limited to 50 percent capacity, culture minister Tõnis Lukas (Isamaa) says.

The developments come as the government announces tighter coronavirus restrictions particularly in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, which have been posting the highest number of daily new COVID-19 cases.

Lukas told ERR that: "Currently, the government's goal is to keep life open in Estonia, to keep cultural life open, and this means some restrictions."

In addition to the mandatory requirement to don a face-mask, cinema and theater numbers are capped at 400 people from Monday, and in Tallinn and the rest of Harju County, as well as Ida-Viru County, this is supplemented by a limit of a maximum 50 percent occupancy (in other words a theater, cinema concert hall with a maximum capacity of less than 800 would be capped at 50 percent, rather than 400 attendees – ed.).

The above rule applies to halls with fixed seating. Those without fixed seating are confined to 250 maximum attendees, in Harju and Ida-Viru counties.

Masks mandatory at peak times on public transport in Tallinn, Harju and Ida-Viru counties.

Masks must also be worn on public transport during peak times, in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, or alternatively the nose and mouth must be covered in some way, the government has ordered.

Hobby groups, a source of several coronavirus outbreaks, will be capped at 10, in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, in addition to this, Lukas says.

For outdoor events, such as there are in winter, the maximum is higher, at 500, Lukas said.

"2+2" rule remains in place

Nationwide, the "2+2" rule (maximum two persons congregating in public places, minimum two meters' between individuals - ed.), reintroduced at the beginning of this week, continues to apply, while the "10+2" rule (maximum 10 individuals - ed.) will continue to apply to catering establishments, as the government says it already has done.

Gatherings related to national defense and security are exempt from the new regulations.

The annual Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) runs through December, with many showings being in-cinema as well as online.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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