Restrictions to be relaxed from April 26

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A sign saying "We are open" on a restaurant in Tallinn's Old Town in May 2020. Source: ERR/ Helen Wright

Coronavirus restrictions on shops, eateries and schools will be partially lifted from May 3, the government said at a press conference on Tuesday. Outdoor training can take place from April 26.

From April 26:

  • Group training for up to 10 people, including an instructor, can take place outside.

From May 3:

  • Classes 1-4, 9 and 12 and children with special needs can return to school.
  • Bar and restaurant outdoor terraces can open until 9 p.m. with up to 10 people at a table. Indoor service is still restricted but food can be sold for take-away.
  • Shops can reopen with a 25 percent occupancy limit. Masks must be worn and the 2+2 rule followed.
  • Training can take place indoors but the 2+2 rule must be followed. Group training cannot take place.
  • Museums can be open until 7 p.m. with a 25 percent occupancy limit.

The government followed the scientific advisory council's recommendations when deciding to ease the restrictions.

The infection rate - R - is now hovering between 0.8-0.85, meaning the infection rate is not rising. The number of new cases has fallen sharply over the past month.

"If we can stick to it, the numbers of infections and also the numbers of those who have been hospitalized will decrease," said Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Center). "As we move towards summer, life will gradually return to normal, hopefully."

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said the government will discuss sending older children back to school next week, which will include those at higher education and vocational education institutions.

Minister of Education Liina Kersna (Reform) said a week has been left between the school holidays and classes 1-4 returning to school to act as a buffer to stop new infections from spreading. She said children will be encouraged to learn and play outside as much as possible when back at school.

More than 60 percent of teachers have been vaccinated in 10 counties, but this number is lower in Harju and Ida-Viru counties, at 49 percent and 30 percent respectively. The council recommended rapid testing for unvaccinated teachers and the Ministry of Education is in favor of this idea. 

The rules currently in place can be read on ERR News' website here.

The graph below shows the number of new infections diagnosed each week in Estonia. Last week, 3,341 cases were reported, the lowest number since the start of December 2020.

Editor's note: This article was updated on April 27 to add that children in grades 9 and 12 can return to school on May 3.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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