Police after monitoring mask-wearing: The view was very good

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The police monitoring mask-wearing at the Lasnamäe Centrum shopping center. Source: Ida-Harju politseijaoskond

Over the weekend, Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) officers went around to several places in Estonia to check for mask-wearing. The situation in Tallinn, according to the PPA, was very good.

Over the weekend, the police went to 1,533 places in Estonia, including 81 pubs and clubs, seven churches, 1,018 centers, 223 public transport vehicles and 224 other indoor areas.

Around 900 people received a mask from the PPA, but the board called the general picture a good one: 93 percent of people were wearing a mask. Along with the Health Board, the police is also checking for the self-isolation obligation and seven people were discovered to violate their isolation requirement over the weekend.

In Harju County and Tallinn, where infection rates are highest, police patrols went around to monitor peoples' compliance to the regulations put in place in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. Mask-wearing was also checked in 146 of Tallinn's public transportation vehicles.

Mihkel-Jaagup Laats, a senior officer of the Northern Prefecture, told ERR that there were not too many passengers without masks. "Based on current experience, we can say that the picture was good," he noted.

At the same time, the PPA found that people try to sneak by the regulations, especially in smaller, more quiet locations. "The most explanatory work had to be done for smaller entrepreneurs, who tried to sneak around the current regulations and remain open through creative solutions. The view in larger shopping centers was more positive," Laats noted.

In total, North Prefecture officers distributed over 300 masks with a few dozen refusing one.

As Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise noted on Monday, a company "has the right to demand a mask be worn on their premises and this is enforced by security guards."

Laats said the police will intervene only if it is really necessary. "The police supports security guards and will only lead a person out of the center if none of the preventive actions have helped. If there is a situation however, where during explaining the restrictions, the mask refuser is disturbing others in a public place or insults an officer, the police can initate misdemeanor proceedings," the officer said.

PPA also checks for isolation requirement

In addition to mask patrols, the police is also monitoring peoples' compliance to their quarantine obligations. "We have started with mapping out otubreaks and as of the Health Board's behalf, we are checking for peoples' compliance with quarantine obligations. People certainly must take individual responsibility and remain in self-isolation when they fall ill, also avoiding contact with other people," Laats noted.

The PPA is also a participant of the Health Board's investigation groups, put in place to identify close contacts. "PPA people participating in investigation groups help find contacts for people who have been diagnosed and their close contacts," Laats said.

The police will continue monitoring mask compliance over the next weeks. "In case the Health Board or the police gets a hing about a specific indoor space needing more attention, more forces will be sent out," Laats concluded.

A police officer checking for mask-wearing in a Tallinn bus. Source: Ida-Harju politseijaoskond

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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