Council of Churches: Indoor services should be allowed as soon as possible

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A service at the Tallinn Holy Spirit Church. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Estonian Council of Churches turned to the government and its advisory scientific council with a proposal to reopen worship services and other public religious services indoors as soon as possible.

"In any case, there is a willingness and an expectation on the part of churches and congregations for it. Obviously, the readiness of religious associations also consists of implementing trust measures which were already in force for the months preceding the ban on services - distancing requirements, mask wearing, disinfectants and others in addition to the directives provided by the Health Board," head of the council Archbishop Emeritus Andres Põder wrote.

He added that Estonian churches and congregations have been responsible in their actions in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying restrictions over the last year.

"All Estonian Council of Churches leaders and representatives are certainly prepared to have detailed discussions with state institutions about regulations that are deemed necessary in churches, if the organization of public services and other religious services are re-allowed," the letter to the government reads.

The council also gathered and sent tables of measures from other European countries that have been imposed to allow services in churches and congregations.

The government and its advisory scientific council will discuss the coronavirus situation and any possible easing of restrictions in Estonia on Tuesday. Scientific council head Irja Lutsar said easing restrictions should start from schools.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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