The requirement to present Coronavirus certification in order to gain entry into a wide range of venues and events is highly likely to continue into the near future, and most likely until March 2022, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) said Thursday. No change to the 11 p.m. closing-time rule for bars and other venues, even with Christmas and New Year's looming, are likely either, she said.
As things stand, providing Coronavirus certification – which means for adults either proof of being double vaccinated in the past 12 months or proof of having recovered from a bout with the virus within the preceding 6 months – until January 10 at the very earliest.
"We are moving cautiously, and if people behave responsibly, we can also discuss lifting this restriction," the prime minister said, speaking at the regular Thursday government press conference.
With the festive season approaching, questions have been asked as to wther the current closing-time deadline of 11 p.m. will remain in place. Kallas said no alteration to this rule is due any time soon, and an extension beyond January 10 is more likely.
"Today we will discuss it again and we will most likely rather extend this measure further, at least until March," Kallas said.
Kallas was keen to stress that the cabinet had not forgotten about Christmas and, even more significantly, New Year's, hence the revision of the current regulations every two weeks.
There are less than seven weeks left until year-end.
Restrictions which arrived at the beginning of summer led to charges in some quarters that the prime minister had "cancelled summer" and, while mid-winter does not have quite the same reverence attached to it, the continued restrictions are not likely to improve Kallas' already-low popularity rating.
In terms of concrete figures, Estonia's coronavirus alert level was lowered from "Very High" to "High" on Thursday, while the R rate of infection was reported to have fallen below the 1.0-mark, to 0.8, the day before (link in Estonian). Hospitalizations have fallen to around 450, from over 600 less than two weeks ago.
The current coronavirus restrictions are here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte