Fifty-percent indoor occupancy COVID-19 restriction gone from Wednesday

Indoor event.
Indoor event. Source: Martin Dremljuga/ERR

The fifty-percent occupancy requirement is to be lifted from Wednesday, June 23, on those indoor public places where it was still in place, including stores, restaurants and cafes, the government has announced.

The restriction change also applies to other entertainment, cultural, sports, work and religious activities.

The change coincides with Victory Day (Võidupüha) and Midsummer's Day (Jaanipäev) the following day, and follows falling coronavirus rates which the government estimates to continue for the meantime.

At the same time, the government says that the presence of the "Delta" coronavirus strain may lead to a surge in cases next month.

The ruling means indoor activities and events can be at full capacity, compared with the current restriction limiting occupancy to 50 percent, a figure estimated as sufficient to ensure social distancing.

The latter principle remains in place, however, ERR reports, as does the provision of on-site disinfectants.

The requirement to wear face-masks in indoor public locations was lifted in May.

Outdoor events can accommodate up to 1,000 participants, under the current rules.

The Health Board (Terviseamet), however, says that the Delta strain, also sometimes referred to in the media as the "Indian" strain, thought to propagate 1.4-1.6 times more rapidly than other COVID-19 variants, is expected to reach Estonia in the near future, meaning that vaccination is paramount, while hygiene best practices remain in place, the board says.

From Monday, arrivals from third countries including the Russian Federation, are permitted, provided they have proof of vaccination, while Finland relaxed its border entry restrictions on Estonians and others on the same day.

The 50-percent occupancy rule is removed from Wednesday, June 23 and means that it will no longer apply to the following indoor public places:

  • Indoor sports facilities including gyms, sports competitions – including as a spectator.
  • Waterparks, spas and swimming pools.
  • Cinema screenings.
  • Theater performances.
  • Concerts of all kinds.
  • Higher education, adult education and vocational training.
  • Museums and exhibitions.
  • Public meetings and events.
  • Conferences.
  • Youth center work.
  • Extra-curricular hobby education.
  • Public worship services and other religious events open to the public or with invited guests.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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