Entertainment sector awaiting salary support, restrictions easing
Head of the Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association (EHRL) Killu Maidla says calls were made at Monday's meeting with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) to both ease restrictions on the entertainment sector and to set up salary support measures.
Maidla told ERR that the sector would be greatly helped by the reinstatement of proof of negative coronavirus testing as an acceptable means of gaining entry to venues.
"We are affected by the fact that unvaccinated people can't visit our facilities," Maidla said.
"If we take a look at guest lists, people don't arrive alone. Every family could have that one person who is not vaccinated. Every working group probably has one unvaccinated person, meaning organizing a meeting in our rooms gets canceled here too, not to mention larger events also."
Maidla stressed that according to Health Board (Terviseamet) data, only 1 percent in the entertainment sector has been infected with the coronavirus. "Considering there are only vaccinated people in entertainment today, then we won't add to the hospitals' workload. Of course, we asked to mitigate these restrictions."
At the same time, Maidla understands that the situation in hospitals is very serious and removing certain restrictions is expected to happen when the situation stabilizes.
At the beginning of autumn, the number of tourists was in an upward trend.
Maidla said that in September and October, a rise in foreign tourists could be seen, but the numbers were far from the pre-crisis period. When in September, 74,000 foreign tourists arrived in Estonia, then before the coronavirus the number was 190,000.
"When our infection rates increased and the World Health Organization considered us to be part of dangerous countries, then since that time, there is an abundance of cancellations and it definitely slowed tourism down," Maidla said.
Maidla highlighted that many companies still had stocks last winter, but now the crisis has been going on for too long, the companies are looking for loan opportunities instead of laying off people and closing companies.
"We have seen how quickly tourism can recover, if the infection goes down, the restrictions are removed, when customers actually come back," Maidla said.
She added that during the meeting with the prime minister, entrepreneurs asked about salary subsidies. She said that entrepreneurs believe that after the meeting there will be a better understanding at the national level, which means that due to high indicators, people will not travel here and restrictions will not make the situation any easier.
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Editor: Roberta Vaino