Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ETV's "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Tuesday that sending people to work from home would help limit the spread of the coronavirus better than shortening resturant opening times.
"If we know that our main outbreaks are in homes and workplaces, then that will not be helped by establishing restrictions in entertainment. There needs to be a causative connection. We must be able to specify why one thing or another is done. There are no outbreaks in restaurants, we have outbreaks in workplaces and homes," Kallas said.
"I think it would work best if employers would understand and tell people to be nice and go work from home, stay in home offices for a week or two and that would have a much greater effect to getting infection rates down than closing restaurants an hour earlier," the prime minister added.
Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas said on Tuesday that he thinks keeping restuarants open until 9 p.m. is too long of a time in today's viral situation and the closing time should be brought forward some.
Kallas said setting a great goal is important. "If our goal is for our healthcare system to maintain, we should see what affects these numbers. If our goal is something completely different, then restrictions should be based on that. We cannot set a goal to look good in some ranking, if people lose their jobs as a result," Kallas noted.
She added that the government is discussing nationwide restrictions and will reach decisions on Thursday.
Vaccination organization is unsatisfactory
Kallas noted that the current vaccination organization leaves a lot to be desired and the government is working on fixing it. "We must get it working correctly so people could get vaccinated, the logistics of vaccinations could work, there would be people responsible and it could work smoothly," she said.
"Vaccinations will help us out of this crisis and all arriving doses must be put to use. Yes, the problem so far has been more about shipments not coming in, that there are not enough vaccines. Now, when they should start coming in larger shipments contractually, there should be no such bottlenecks and obstacles," the prime minister explained.
Kallas said vaccinations should also happen on weekends. "Yes, we should vaccinate on all days. Where we can, in those places, where people would be comfortable going and where healthcare employees could vaccinate. Really, we have to increase the number of daily vaccinations," the prime minister said.
Ratas: Keeping restaurants open until 9 p.m. is too long
Coalition Center Party chairman Jüri Ratas said on Tuesday that he thinks keeping restaurants open until 9 p.m. is too long in the current coronavirus situation and closing times should be brought forward.
"We see today that people can be in restaurants. I think that is too long of a time. There is nothing to do, but in entertainment, where there are so many contacts and where the virus spread and we should restrict it," Ratas told ERR on Tuesday.
The previous prime minister said the infection rate multiplier - R - is moving toward 1.2 and it must be brought down to around 1. "It can mainly be done with two restrictions, it is entertainment and what the [government's] scientific council has tabled, that at least one week of distance learning should follow the school break (February 22-28 - ed). So I think these decisions must be done quickly, scientific council proposals must be supported and through that, we can take the R number to a downward," Ratas said.
"If the R stays there (at 1.2 - ed), it means closures in all those locations. It means closures in healthcare, it means closures in education, economy and none of us want that," the Center chairman added.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste