Relaxed restrictions don't bring catering facilities much comfort

Harju County's and Ida-Viru County's restaurants closed partially from January 18.
Harju County's and Ida-Viru County's restaurants closed partially from January 18. Source: Merilin Pärli/ERR

Since Monday, January 18, some restrictions for restaurants, hotels, education in Harju County and Ida-Viru County were relaxed. Representatives of the fields say that economic improvement can't be expected immediately, however.

The restaurant R14, situated in the heart of Tallinn seats 110 diners over two floors, thus providing enough space for dispersing. Phone inquries indicate interest, the restaurant says, but the question arises whether people are ready to change their eating habits. People mainly come to restaurants to spend their evenings.

"We are ready to welcome 30 people maximum per two floors. And we're hoping for the best, that the pandemic will start to slow down. The current 7 p.m. (closing time at restaurants -ed.) is new and a little difficult for us. We are hoping, seeing how Estonia will receive this," manager of the restaurant Anatoli Rjabov told ERR.

Managers of catering facilities are expressing their surprise at people being able to spend their time in malls during the later hours, while being in a restaurant after 7 p.m. is considered risky.

The current measures are arbitrary, and don't seem to be systematic, in the opinion of the association. However, there are 30,000 people working in the sector, and the restrictions affect an estimated 8 percent of GDP.

Chairman of the association's board Ain Käpp said that the association is expecting a minister to take responsibility for tourism. "Not just going to talk to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, trying to reach a deal. We need a minister who would stand up for our interests and help us get out of the crisis. This is not only tourism concerns, but a worry for Estonia as a whole, because budget loss is high due to the lack of tourists," he said.

Hobby education schools that own their own rooms are in trouble

It may seem that the difficulties are a concern of a few catering facilities. But the "lonely night syndrome" appears in the hobby education field as well. There are around 300 private hobby education schools in Tallinn, which makes it an important sector too, ERR reports.

Regarding dance lessons, these mainly take place with partners and the possibility to do individual training doesn't bring anything beneficial. Ballet can't be rehearsed outside, as is recommended for physical training as a whole. Parents are as a result terminating the contracts and children are tired.

Head of the Dance Hobby Education Association Jane Miller-Pärnamäe said that schools that have built their own centers and have to pay for the rooms are currently in a very difficult position. The income to keep the rooms going is gone at the moment.

Unlike some country-area municipalities, Tallinn is helping with a small amount of support, however.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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