New restrictions: Opening hours reduced, store occupancy rates limited

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

Entertainment venues will have to further reduce their opening hours and shops limit their occupancy rates under new restrictions drawn up to curb the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Center) said on Thursday.

Shops, public spaces and service halls will need to limit the number of people inside at one time to 50 percent and the 2+2 rule must be followed. 

Entertainment venues and public events venues with no fixed seating and catering outlets will need to close at 10 p.m. - instead of midnight - and must remain closed until 6 a.m. Theaters and cinemas can stay open past 10 p.m.

Catering companies will still be allowed to sell takeaway food to customers or allow courier and transport services to operate.

Private parties in these establishments are not allowed to continue after 10 p.m.

The new rules come into effect on Saturday, December 5.  

Ratas said at a press conference the coronavirus infection rate is still high and deaths and the number of patients admitted to hospital have increased. This has put additional stress on the healthcare system.

He said restrictions have been added in public places because this is where many people are catching the coronavirus and then taking it home to their families.

Speaking about the almost daily reports of new deaths related to the coronavirus, he said: "These are Estonian people, who are our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, our loved ones and people close to us. We are obligated to do make every effort to protect them and to hinder and control the spread of this virus that has such serious consequences."

There are no plans to send more schools to distance learning.

Read the government's order here in English or read the republished version below:

Up to 50 percent capacity in sales areas and public areas of stores and service areas of service providers

There may be no more people than the 50 percent capacity of a given space in indoor sales areas and public spaces of stores and service areas of service providers. At that, people must also adhere to the 2+2 rule, i.e., only up to two people may travel together, and they must keep a two-metre distance from other people.

Restriction on visiting catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events where a stationary seat is not ensured to event visitors, must keep their doors closed to visitors from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Selling food for customers to take away or enabling a courier or transport service for purchasing food will still be allowed for catering establishments. Organising private parties is also forbidden in all these locations. Requirements on public events and sporting and recreational sports events will also be harmonised.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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