Hotels and restaurants awaiting support measures for new restrictions

Spa center (photo is illustrative).
Spa center (photo is illustrative). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

The government implemented a new set of restrictions on Thursday to limit the spread of the coronavirus and among those was closing spa centers and water parks for two weeks. The Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association (EHRL) now awaits state support for the limited sector.

According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Center), the new restrictions are mostly directed at ensuring the operation of Estonia's healthcare system, ETV's daily affairs show "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported on Thursday.

"The purpose of the restrictions imposed by the government is to ensure that our healthcare system can withstand the pressure, that our nurses and doctors would not be over-loaded and that is why we are forced to take the steps, so that the hospital network would not carry such a burden," Kallas said.

Starting Monday, spa centers and water parks will be closed for two weeks, because a recent sewage study showed them to be a critical factor in spreading the coronavirus.

EHRL chairman Ain Käpp hopes that the government finds compensation options for the limited sector. "It is extraordinarily difficult for companies and there is certainly expectations for a reasonable support system in order to live through the next two weeks, as again - tourims has been in a very complicated situation for 11 months. We cannot hope on companies having reserves. No, those are long gone," Käpp explained.

Kallas said the government is still discussing potential support measures. "We cannot assume that the state will reimburse everything in full. We naturally understand that there are questions regarding labor and we are discussing these compensation mechanisms, but during a crisis, yes, everyone must play their part," the prime minister noted.

One week of distance learning after the school break

One of the more significant restrictions is limiting most students to distance learning for one week after the upcoming school break (February 22-28) - contact classes will only continue for grades 1-4 and for children with special educational needs.

Tallinn mayor Mihhail Kõlvart (Center) supports the government's decision. "As we have always said, primary schools and children with special needs must remain on contact learning. It is important and I think it is the right approach. What are we waiting for? We are actually waiting for a longer plan," the mayor said.

Kõlvart added that it would be good if the goverment would present their next possible steps and scenarios.

According to Kallas, the next steps depend on what the infection indicators are in two weeks.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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