Bars and restaurants to be hit hardest by new restrictions

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A bottle of hand sanitizer on a table at Raekoja plats in Tallinn's Old Town in May. Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

While the newest set of restrictions established by the government on Thursday are lighter than what the scientific council recommended, they could have strong effects on restaurants and bars.

The government's decision on Thursday means all companies and establishments can remain open for now. Based on that, the government does not consider it necessary to implement a support measure for any businesses at this point.

"The government is not planning restrictions that would shut down an entire sector and therefore, support measures are also not in the plans. We talked about it - if we are planning any complete lockdowns, we will certainly discuss support measures," said Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure Taavi Aas (Center).

Restaurants and bars will likely be hit hardest by the new restrictions, having to limit capacities and close up shop at 10 p.m. instead of midnight.

Ville Jehe, a restaurant owner, said that restaurants have lost 80-85 percent of their turnover when compared with 2020. "Now another two hours. We still have a fifth or fourth of our clients remaining, it is incomprehensible. I would like to see the data that shows how restaurants are a source of infection. The data does not exist," Jehe said.

A similar distancing requirement was established for shops and malls, which do not see it as a major problem. "When I heard the decision today (Thursday - ed.), I was actually surprised by its reasonableness. They were not trying to do it based on emotion, but rather a rational and balanced decision," said Guido Pärnits, CEO of the Ülemiste shopping mall.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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