Government to specify restrictions on swimming pools Friday

Tanel Kiik.
Tanel Kiik. Source: Vladislava Snurnikova/ERR

The government's announcement of easing restrictions on Thursday caused a lot of confusion, especially in regards to what constitutes swimming for entertainment and for sport. Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik (Center) said that the government will specify restrictions on swimming pools and spas on Friday.

"It is allowed to do sports, specific Health Board and Ministry of Social Affairs instructions will come on Friday. The question is where sports begins, but more specific instructions will come during Friday," Kiik told ETV's morning show "Terevisioon" on Friday. "Gatherings in spas are still not allowed."

On Thursday, the government announced an easing of coronavirus restrictions starting Monday, January 18. One sentence in particular caused a lot of confusion: "Saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools must remain closed to guests - except for individual training at gyms which can take place from January 18."

Kiik explained that the main question is still to avoid gatherings in high-risk areas in Harju and Ida-Viru counties. "Individual activities, 1+1, like going to the gym are allowed starting Monday," the social minister noted.

The Health Board, in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, will write up more specific instructions on Friday. The government will confirm those at a sitting and everything will be cleared up, Kiik said.

The unexpected announcement on Thursday also saw restrictions eased for restaurants in Harju and Ida-Viru counties. "Trully, it is allowed to grab a quick breakfast, a quick lunch, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in catering establishments. Larger gatherings at night are still not allowed," Kiik explained.

The social minister noted that the government hopes to move on with easing restrictions in another two weeks, but the coronavirus situation must be considered. "We see a trend of stabilization. The feared increase over the holidays did not come to realization, there is also no increase in hospitalizations, the record - 431 hospitalized patients - still comes from last year," Kiik said.

No way to delay second vaccine dose

Estonia has received more than 30,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, depending on how many doses are withdrawn from vials. As of Friday morning, just some 17,000 are vaccinated. "The question is how much do we dare risk with shipments, we will keep 10,000 doses in reserve," Kiik explained the difference.

Estonia still does not have a schedule from vaccine developers. "It is not possible to delay the second dose according to experts. Experts demand two vaccinations with an interval of 21 days, there is no basis to extend that interval, we will follow Pfizer's instructions," the social minister noted.

The goal is to inject 40,000 people with the vaccine's first dose by February.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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