Theaters and cinemas will be able to reopen from Monday, May 24, the government announced Tuesday, with attendances capped at a maximum of 50 percent. The maximum number of people permitted to attend outdoor events will also be increased, to 250, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.
The move reverses a situation where concert halls, cinemas, theaters and any other performance halls had been closed since March 3. It is also part of three-stage easing of restrictions, which starts with schools reopening on May 17 and culminates with group sports training permissible from the end of this month, as things stand.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) told ERR Tuesday that in making its decisions, the cabinet had taken into account the various risk levels of different activities.
Kallas said: "Theaters and cinemas hold a 'medium' threat level, hence our decision to reopen them, with a 50 percent occupancy rate, from May 24."
This follows a strategy of reopening schools, from May 17, as announced by education minister Liina Kersna (Reform) earlier on Thursday, with the medium threat-level activities such as concert-, movie- and theater-going to follow a week later.
Kallas also referred to indoor dining in restaurants as a medium threat-level activity. At present, only outdoor dining and drinking on terraces is permissible.
Attendance at museums, galleries and exhibitions had already been allowed, with a 25 percent occupancy limit, from May 3.
The mask-wearing and social distancing requirements in indoor public spaces such as malls remains in place.
The ceiling on attendees at outdoor events will also be boosted, from 150 to 250, she said.
"Outdoor events are also already permitted, but we have increased the limit on how many people can be there. Whereas 150 [people] were allowed up to now, 250 people will be allowed from next week," the prime minister said.
Group training will, as higher-risk activities, be permissible a week after that, Kallas said, i.e. from May 31.
In short, the key dates as things stand and based on the prime minister's word alone are:
- From Monday, May 17: All school-children will be able to return to school, with no cap on occupancy.
- From Monday, May 24: Cinemas, theaters, concert halls open at 50 percent occupancy rate. Indoor dining permissible at 50 percent maximum occupancy.
- From Monday, May 31: Group sports training permissible.
Kallas noted that the last of these had been extended to May 31 in the interests of keeping the viral spread under control, while the situation will be reviewed on a weekly basis and changes to restrictions schedule would follow if needed.
Kallas called on the public to act responsibly, adding that by so doing, in tandem with the ongoing vaccination program, the spread of the virus could be contained.
The full list of new restrictions can be read on the government's website here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte