Many of the government's coronavirus restrictions have been imposed under the influence of public opinion, while not all of them have been absolutely essential, justice chancellor Ülle Madise told commercial radio station Raadio Kuku on Friday.
Many people's lives have suffered as a result, she said, while a putative real estate bubble discussed this week is only a phenomenon affecting an elite, she told Raadio Kuku (link in Estonian).
Madise said that: "We have seen how in virtually all countries, under the pressure of apparent public opinion /.../ there are restrictions which are objectively necessary, but also those which are not objectively necessary," adding that Estonia also seems to have experienced the same pattern.
The recent part re-opening of schools was justifiable, she added, not only for education and social reasons, but also for sheer nutritional concerns – hot school dinners being preferable to the food parcels schools have been doling out, she said.
The chancellor, whose name has been mentioned as a potential presidential candidate in this autumn's elections, also said that recent claims that the populace has more money in their bank accounts to use as a deposit on a new apartment only applies to a very narrow circle in reality.
As to dissent, Madise said that once regulations are in place they must be followed, but equally, if people do not like them, they have the right to their opinion both in thought and expression.
The restrictions have led to the closure of some stores, such as in the construction and horticultural sectors, and led to job losses and a situation where people are barely making ends meet, she said, though the process has been a learning curve as a whole and there are many take-aways; schools, for instance, could continue to use e-learning in future, in certain areas, she said.
Editor: Andrew Whyte