New restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus have entered into force across Estonia on Wednesday (February 3). The rules were introduced in Harju and Ida-Viru counties on Monday but now apply across the country.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said: "It is the main goal of the government to get the extensive spread of the virus under control in Estonia. Regrettably, we can see that the epidemiological pattern of the spread of the coronavirus is now similar everywhere in Estonia. This means that we must also harmonize the nationwide restrictions."
Kallas emphasized that the restrictions must be considered very carefully to ensure that they cause as little damage as possible in society. "We know that the restrictions create invisible victims: people losing their jobs, students for whom distance learning is not suitable; interrupting normal life also affects people's mental health."
The new restrictions replace the old rules which were introduced in December and then extended in January.
Catering and entertainment establishments may still be open until 9 p.m.
People can stay at restaurants, bars, cafes, night-clubs, bowling alleys, and elsewhere until 9 p.m. No restrictions will be established for take-away sales at catering establishments.
The requirement that one table or group indoors may include up to six persons and there must be a distance of at least two meters from another table will be maintained.
The 50 percent capacity requirement will remain in effect for entertainment establishments and the maximum number of clients (up to 250) must be adhered to. The Government extended the prohibition on the sale of alcoholic drinks until 10 a.m. in the morning. In addition, a requirement was established that one table or group indoors may include up to six persons and there must be a distance of at least two meters from another table.
No additional restrictions will be set to shops and places that provide services.
The current restrictions are maintained in shops, shopping centers, bank halls, postal offices, and other places. People must wear a mask indoors, the movement must take place observing the 2 + 2 rule, the capacity of sales and service areas maybe 50 percent, the availability of disinfectants and adherence to the requirements of disinfection must be ensured.
Public meetings and public events
Public events, including theatre plays, movie screenings, and conferences indoors with stationary seating
A 50 percent capacity requirement will be established for public meetings and events with stationary seating in the seating area and customers must be spread out when seated. The maximum number of people remains the same; the maximum number of participants in indoor events is 400.
Public indoor events, such as concerts, without stationary seating
Activities are permitted only if people are seated in numbered seats and everyone must be spread out. No night-time events are permitted, the activities are prohibited from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Outdoor events, such as fairs, concerts
The requirement of a maximum number of participants of 500 people in the events will be maintained; organizing events from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. is prohibited. Adherence to the requirements of disinfection must be ensured.
Church and public religious services
It will be added to the restrictions that at the 50 percent capacity, people must be spread out when seated. The previous limits are maintained, which means that in premises with stationary seating, the number of participants may be up to 400 and in premises without stationary seating, up to 250, considering the capacity requirement of the premises. For outdoor events, up to 500 people may participate as before.
Saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools
A 50 percent indoor capacity will be maintained, movement must take place observing the 2 + 2 rule, people must wear a mask when not in direct contact with water, and the availability of disinfectants and adherence to the requirements of disinfection must be ensured.
Sporting, training, youth work, hobby activities, hobby education, refresher training, and continuing education
The 2 + 2 rule must be followed in the case of activities involving contact and a high risk of virus spread. High-risk activities are activities that include intensive inhalation and exhalation and aerosol formation. This concerns, for example, singing, dancing, martial arts, but also playing wind instruments, etc.
Non-contact activities and low-risk activities may be performed in groups of 10 + 1. This concerns, for example, painting, Pilates, guitar lessons, and ceramics groups.
The Health Board will prepare a more precise list of low- and high-risk activities and it will be made available on the Health Board's homepage as well as at kriis.ee. In addition, the target groups will be informed separately by the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research.
Indoors, the requirement to wear a mask is maintained, unless it is in conflict with the nature of the activity. Furthermore, the 50 percent capacity requirement will remain in effect.
For outdoor activities, the group limit will be increased to 50 from the previous 25.
Indoor sports competitions are still permitted for professional athletes only and without an audience. No changes will be made as regards this restriction.
When organizing outdoor sports competitions and movement events, the group limit will be increased to 50 from the previous 25, which means that sports competitions may be organized in groups of 50 and coming into contact with another group is forbidden.
Museums and exhibition facilities
The current restrictions applicable to visiting museums and exhibition facilities are maintained. This means that the 2 + 2 rule must be adhered to and a mask must be worn indoors.
Editor: Helen Wright