Government issues restrictions exemptions for church services, youth sport

Victory Day church service at Paide Church.
Victory Day church service at Paide Church. Source: Olev Kenk / ERR

The government has clarified its latest round of coronavirus restrictions coming into effect next Monday, announcing exemptions which would allow religious worship services to go ahead, along with sports training and hobby activities for minors.

The decision made Thursday states that the under-18s can engage in sports training with unlimited numbers, as well as take part in extracurricular hobby education and other youth work, provided social distancing is practiced, and proper ventilation is provided.

As reported by ERR News, the government signed into effect an order last Friday, July 30, which would require vaccination certification checks at public events with more than 50 participants (indoors) or 100 participants (outdoors), including sporting events and religious services, as well as at restaurants and other eateries.

These regulations come into force on Monday, August 9. A face-mask-wearing requirement came into effect last Monday, August 2.

Now the government has set out further information on exceptions to these rules. In addition to the sports activities regulations above, catering outlets on board domestic ferries will not require vaccination checks, being considered a type of public transport, though mask-wearing is required on board when buying food, BNS reports.

Worship services can go ahead without vaccination checks provided occupancy does not exceed 50 percent, with mask-wearing, social dispersal and disinfectant requirements remaining in place. Fifty-percent occupancy in larger churches would constitute more than 50 people.

Church concerts or concerts in religious buildings will still be treated as public events under the rules, meaning vaccination checks are required with more than 50 participants.

Sporting and hobby group activities must also be subject to checks when over-18s are taking part.

In addition to checking vaccination status – which once the system is fully up-and-running will, it is reported, include options for both digital certification and paper printouts with a QR code – alternatives comprise proof of a negative coronavirus test result within the past two or three days, depending on the type of test, and/or proof of having recovered from the virus.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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