Government to discuss easing restrictions on Thursday

Chairs stacked on a table in a closed restaurant in Tallinn's Old Town.
Chairs stacked on a table in a closed restaurant in Tallinn's Old Town. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The government will discuss the gradual easing of restrictions on Thursday, starting with schools. Restrictions on culture and entertainment venues will not be removed quickly.

The scientific council has recommended restrictions be lifted for all schools on January 25, rather than on January 18 when the current set of restrictions were supposed to end. Currently, schools in Harju, Tartu and Ida-Viru counties are partially distance learning.

Discussing the easing of restrictions can now take place as the government's scientific council believes the infection rate in Estonia is stabilizing based on the latest data.

"The government must decide on Thursday what will become of other restrictions in Harju County and Ida-Viru County after classes go to a school that are not yet in contact education. However, certain restrictions on hobby education and hobby activities remain," Minister for Education Jaak Aab (Center) said on Tuesday. ​​ 

Aab said the scientific council looks at Harju and Ida-Viru counties in a similar way and if the regulations are relaxed, they will be lifted to the same degree in each county.

Data shows the situation in both counties has reached a plateau, but there has also been no significant reduction in infection. Aab said the council bases its recommendations both on the infection rate and other circumstances.  

The minister said it is understandable that expectations for the easing of restrictions on entertainment and culture from January 17 are high, but they cannot be rushed. 

"The scientific council recommends if the restrictions start to be relaxed, then it should be done in small steps. I don't think everything will disappear on January 17 at the same time and the forecasts do not support it either. Relief cannot be rushed, otherwise, the infection rate will increase again," Aab ​​said.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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