Youth theater head on vaccination certificate requirement: We're shocked

Head of the Puppet and Youth Theater Joonas Tartu.
Head of the Puppet and Youth Theater Joonas Tartu. Source: ERR

Head of the Estonian Puppet and Youth Theater Joonas Tartu says that the theater is shocked about the government's new requirement for children over 12 having to provide their coronavirus vaccination certificate at cultural and sports events. He said that this is another communication error because the government representatives haven't discussed the matter with the field's representatives. Tartu said that the direct effect on the theater will be significant.

The government proposed another restriction idea, in the framework of which, children aged 12 and over will need to present their coronavirus certificate at theaters and other events. How much will it affect your work because it is known that not all children are vaccinated and probably, a lot of parents don't have the resources to get their children tested.

This restriction affects us a lot. I need to admit now that we are quite shocked. This topic has been talked about for quite a while now and I wouldn't go into the discussion of what restrictions are proportionate at the moment. But last week, a minister said that this topic was discussed, but it was decided that the limit would stay at 18. Now, this decision was changed. For us, it's unclear what changed during these five days. We have calculations. We have thorough predictions made by scientists and specialists. Every time you think that the communication chain can't get any worse and then there's another blunder. It hasn't been discussed with us. I couldn't say whether impact assessments have been made, nobody has asked me anything. I'm not only talking about finances. I'm also talking about the wider circle. The way the decisions were made is unbelievable. The restrictions also include a time requirement, which is also not comprehensive.

I looked at the Estonian map where the vaccination data of younger people was also included. Broadly half of the children in the age group of 12-18 are vaccinated. What predictions are you making on your audience?

I quickly looked at the picture and indeed, around 50 percent in Estonia average, but by municipalities, the situation is completely different. When we look at Tallinn, it's around 50 percent, then in Ida-Viru County, it's around 40 percent. Hopefully, in today's situation, the test will be widely used, if a theater ticket in our house costs around €8-12 and the cheapest testing solution somewhere is around €15-20, then I would not be very sure. This setback for us will be huge and it must be said that we already discussed in a meeting whether it makes sense to keep the house open at all. Of course, smaller theater lovers can still come in peace, but the loss of testing opportunities for parents will again affect the sector, so the impact will be very large from next week.

If you take the percentage, how many children come to your theater with their parents and grandparents and how many in groups?

It's largely determined by the fact that our children productions usually take place in our smallest halls, so that this proportion is still around 20 percent, which is the audience for children performances and the rest are adults and children and schoolchildren. I would say that 50-60 percent of our visitors are schoolchildren who come in groups.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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