Prime minister: PPA to crack-down on businesses flaunting covid rules

Kaja Kallas and health minister Tanel Kiik at Thursday's press conference.
Kaja Kallas and health minister Tanel Kiik at Thursday's press conference. Source: Jürgen Randma/Government Office

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) is to crack down on entertainment businesses who intentionally fail to comply with current coronavirus restrictions, primarily the requirement to check customers' coronavirus vaccination certification, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said on Thursday. The activities of bars, restaurants and the like who are potential repeat offenders will be scrutinized more carefully, including a monitoring of their social media posts.

Speaking at the regular Thursday government press conference, Kallas said that the policy was: "Not about penalizing, it's about getting businesses to play by the rules," adding that some venues have boasted about not adhering to the requirement to check coronavirus vaccine statuses of patrons, while individuals have also bragged about using bogus certification, she said.

"This is punishable under criminal law. It is a document, it must not be counterfeited," Kallas said, adding that the use of a forged certificate can end up with a three-year jail term, with a one-year jail term being the viable penalty for concocting a forged certificate.

The inspections, to be conducted by the PPA, will focus on those businesses who willfully and systemically break the rules, and not those who do so unintentionally, Kallas added.

Kallas said the PPA has carried out 14,000 checks on how companies implement their checking measures, while the PPA will also checking adherence to the mask requirement. 

The PPA will also be monitoring suspect businesses' social media accounts, BNS reports.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Labor Tanel Kiik (Center) called on residents to report businesses violating the rules to the police and the Health Board (Terviseamet) and, BNS reports, simultaneously also to ignore such companies.

PPA chief Elmar Vaher had been present at the cabinet meeting Wednesday evening, where the decisions announced Thursday were made.

Initial transgressions will result in a PPA reminder of the rules, Kallas said, but subsequent offenses will lead to more steps being taken, she said.

The PPA will also announce which areas are to be inspected on a given day, she said.

Estonia's coronavirus risk level is as of Thursday "high", with a reported seven-day infection rate per 100,000 people of 1,015, among the highest rates in Europe at present.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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