Government could expand certificate checks and mask obligation

Tanel Kiik.
Tanel Kiik. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The cabinet is set to discuss additional measures for slowing the spread of the coronavirus on Thursday. Requiring participants to produce Covid certificates at all events could become the norm, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said. The obligation of wearing a mask in public could also be expanded.

"We need to send a clear message that the vaccination certificate is here to stay until the end of the pandemic. We can dial back these measures once the situation starts to improve everywhere in the world, while until then, producing one's Covid certificate should rather be the norm at events and activities where people do not know each other, where keeping distance is not always possible and in a situation where the risk of infection keeps growing," Kiik said at the government press conference on Thursday.

He said Estonia needs to consider when to switch to checking certificates at all events. Estonia will require people to produce the certificate when attending events with over 50 indoor and 100 outdoor participants starting on August 9.

"It is clear that event organizers want clarity here, and the situation today where 50 people can gather indoors and 100 outdoors is likely temporary when the number of cases is growing," Kiik said. "We need to agree on the rules for which events and activities will only be accessible with a Covid certificate irrespective of the number of participants. Business circles will, quite justifiably, ask for the reason events with 48 or 52 participants sport different risks of infection," the minister said.

Kiik and PM Kaja Kallas recommended wearing a mask everywhere there is risk of infection – where there are strangers whose status is unclear and where distance cannot be maintained.

"I think that the matter of wearing a mask needs to be revisited," Kiik said. "There are other places [besides public transport] where people do not know – as described by the prime minister – who they come into contact with, who might be ill, and wearing a mask there should be if not mandatory then at least strongly recommended. I believe we need to discuss this during the cabinet meeting," the health minister remarked.

Kiik added that the requirement to wear a mask when taking public transport should be monitored more closely.

He also found that the Police and Boarder Guard Board (PPA) that is tasked with monitoring compliance with Covid measures needs to be given additional resources because of increased workload due to the migration crisis on the Lithuania-Belarus border.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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