20,000 face masks to be distributed to Ida-Viru County residents

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People wearing masks on the street in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Over the next few days, free face masks will be distributed near larger stores and shopping centers to residents of Ida-Viru County in northeastern Estonia.

Starting Saturday, the Ida-Viru County local governments' association and the East regional crisis headquarters will start explaining the need to wear a mask in Ida-Viru County, the local governments' association said. Masks will also be distributed to people at the region's major shopping malls, grocery stores and construction stores.

The plan is to distribute masks at times when there are usually the most visitors in the stores, for example at noon and in the evenings between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

The masks were bought by the local governments' association, the costs will be reimbursed by the state.

"Although there has been an increase in mask wearers in Ida-Viru County in recent weeks, there are still those who do not wear a mask. During this week, we want to talk to people and encourage them to put on a mask to protect themselves and the people around them," Eve East, management board chair of the East-Viru County local governments' association, said.

She said the aim of the week-long project is to explain to people the need to wear a mask and how to wear a mask correctly.

Chief of the East regional crisis headquarters Indrek Pung said masks are distributed in larger stores where more people are gathering. "If, while distributing the masks, we see employees who are not wearing a mask, we will definitely offer a mask to them as well," Pung said.

Chief of the East crisis headquarters of the Police and Border Guard Board Üllar Kustala said that the police have a good experience from Narva from a few weeks ago.

"We were also at larger shopping malls and stores, where we distributed almost 7,000 masks, and in the following weeks we saw that the proportion of people wearing a mask in the cityscape increased. Yesterday [Thursday], we also carried out a smaller mask distribution campaign in Narva and this time we distributed 200 masks because people had already purchased a mask themselves. We are also paying attention to public transport and distributing masks to people traveling in the direction of Tallinn at Narva train station," Kustala said.

Employees of local governments and state agencies - the Rescue Board, the Police and Border Guard Board, the Tax and Customs Board and the Environmental Inspectorate - have been involved in the distribution of masks.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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