Government wants private sector to establish safety measures themselves

Shoppers in Ülemiste keskus.
Shoppers in Ülemiste keskus. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) believes that the private sector should introduce anti-virus measures itself, as a way of heading off more severe restrictions on the part of the state.

A four-color system, from green to red, is being used to make it easier to understand the level of risk of coronavirus. Each level is accompanied by increasingly stricter recommendations.

According to today's high level of risk, for example, people should wear a mask on public transport, avoid crowded spaces and preferably work from home.

Hanna Sepp, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department of the Health Board, explained that the risk levels are intended to give people a simple overview of the situation. The government and the agency use more accurate metrics in their decisions.

"All the restrictions we have today do not directly depend on these levels of risk. Of course, each restriction is reviewed separately. It is all designed not just according to one template. There are still negotiations and considerations behind it," Sepp said.

The table showing the level of risk takes into account the average daily number of deaths and infected people per week. Depending on the level of danger, instructions have been prepared for behaving in different places. For example, today, stores should require you to wear a mask. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas met with associations uniting the interests of various sectors to discuss how to enforce these guidelines.

"Compared to the spring, vaccination certificates have come and therefore these guidelines need to be changed. We agreed to review them again within a week. For our part, we can coordinate different visuals so that the messages are clear and people understand how to behave in one situation or another."

The prime minister explained that the aim is for the private sector to introduce measures to control the virus itself. In this way, severe restrictions by the state can be avoided.

Nele Peil, CEO of the Union of Merchants, said that when the guidelines were agreed in the spring, a coordination plan was not made. Now we have to renegotiate so that everyone can understand it in the same way, for example, where a mask should be demanded.

"If it is a controlled environment, i.e. whether the vaccination certificate is checked on entry or if he has recently been tested positive for the coronavirus, then whether in that case, a mask requirement is justified. Uncontrolled environments such as public transport and also shopping centers, where tests won't be carried out, vaccination certificates won't be checked, will mask requirement be the solution."

In addition to masks, the sale of food, requirements for organizing events and other possible measures are also discussed. Peil added that so far no serious attempt has been made to enforce the self-regulatory plan made in the spring. Even if it does not succeed now, further government restrictions will be inevitable.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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