Government's coronavirus chief adviser: Mask requirement may go June 7
Head of the government's coronavirus advisory council Professor Irja Lutsar says that June 7 is a feasible date for the lifting of the obligation to wear face-masks in indoor, public locations such as stores and shopping malls, if the current downward trend in infection rates continues.
Lutsar told ERR that: "If the fall continues and the situation does not get worse, then from June 7, the obligation of masks can probably be abolished."
"As the infection rate is going down, then in line with that the burden on hospitals will certainly decrease. We also very much hope that the number of people getting vaccinated will rise significantly during the next two weeks, especially among the older generations," Lutsar said.
The government itself has to agree and sign into being the order which would lift the requirement.
The scientific council – the government's coronavirus advisory board – meets every Monday and will revisit the topic next week. Most Mondays in May have also seen coronavirus restrictions lifted incrementally – May 24 was the turn of eateries to be allowed indoor consumption, up to 50 percent occupancy, maximum six per table and closing by 10 p.m. – and the council wants to see what effect this and other recent regulations' easing might have had on coronavirus rates after a few days.
No distinction would be made in the lifting of the mask-wearing requirement between those who have been fully inoculated with two doses of coronavirus vaccines and those who have not, as this would be far too complicated in practice, Lutsar said.
The next stage once the mask-wearing requirement is eased – though it is likely to remain a recommendation – is to discuss easing restrictions on events and other entertainment, Lutsar said.
At present, outdoor events with a maximum of 250 people, following social distancing requirements, are permissible.
If the vaccine program continues on course and no new, more virulent COVID-19 strains appear, a third wave in autumn may not materialize, Lutsar added.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte