Restrictions: Distance learning extended, culture venues to close

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Russian Theater. Source: Pressimaterjalid

Distance learning will be extended and spas, cinemas, theaters and concert halls will be closed until the end of March under new restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus.

On Friday (February 26), the government said new restrictions would take place in schools from March one and in catering establishments and entertainment facilities from March 3. The new restrictions are in place until March 28.

Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said as the virus is mostly spreading among young people distance learning will be extended for older children until the end of March. This decision does not affect children at primary school or kindergarten or those with special needs. Children in classes 1-4 will remain in school.

Vocational and higher education institutions will continue distance learning.

Minister for Education and Research Liina Kersna (Reform) said school exams will take place this year.

Only individual training will be allowed in gyms and the current restrictions apply to outdoor training. Public events may not take place between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Spas, water parks and saunas will be closed but individual training will be allowed in water parks.

Indoor events will be suspended throughout March at movie theaters, theaters and concert halls.

Shopping centers will remain open but owners will need to tighten up restrictions to make sure people follow the rules and stop the virus from spreading. Owners have promised to turn off public wifi, to remove seating and hire extra security guards to check mask wearing rules are followed.  

Kallas said police will not follow people indefinitely and people will have to follow the rules themselves, otherwise the shops will need to close.

Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center) said 39 additional police controls are engaged in checking compliance with restrictions. He said it is hoped the private sector will now be able to monitor its own compliance.

Catering establishments must reduce their opening hours and close at 6 p.m. instead of the current 9 p.m. The 2+2 rule must be followed and the 50 percent occupancy rate applies. Selling take-away food is still allowed.

Kallas said as many outbreaks are occurring in workplaces, employers should allow remote working where possible

These restrictions will replace the rules introduced on Monday. Estonia has seen a surge in coronavirus cases recently and the 14-day infection rate is now 850.81 per 100,000 inhabitants - one of the highest in Europe.

Estonian Traders Association promises to comply with restrictions

The Estonian Traders Association confirmed it would do its utmost to comply with the new restrictions.

The address was signed by Ülemiste Keskus, Viru Keskus, Kristiine Keskus, Rocca al Mare Keskus, Kaubamaja shopping centers in Tallin and Tartu, Stockmann, Port Artur, K-Rauta, Euronics, Jysk, Buroomaailm, Baltman, ABC King, Shu, I.L.U., Poldma Kaubandus, Selver, Rimi, Prisma, Jungent, Keila TU, Coop Eesti, Coop Polva and Jardin Lilled.

Non-members also promising to apply additional restrictions include shopping centers Lasnamäe Centrum, Nautica, T1, Mustamäe Keskus, Tasku Keskus, Postimaja, CC Plaza, Astri Keskus, Balti Jaama Turg market, the Keskturg market, Lounakeskus, Pärnu Keskus and Fama Keskus.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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