Tallinn cafe amasses Covid rules non-compliance fines totaling €9,500

Cup of coffee (photo is illustrative).
Cup of coffee (photo is illustrative). Source: cherylfoong/Creative Commons

A Tallinn cafe has clocked up close to €10,000 in fines over non-compliance with Covid restrictions. The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) has also had to use force in entering the business premises, in order to conduct checks.

The cafe, MEM, is in the capital's Kalamaja neighborhood, and PPA spokespersons say that it has consistently been failing to conduct Covid certification checks on its patrons.

The ensuing fines have now reached the €9,500-mark, and has gained some media notoriety as a result, BNS reports.

The PPA spokespersons said of the penalties that: "Our focus continues to be on those companies that do not comply with the restrictions imposed, since such condescending behavior is unfair to all those who are helping society come out of the crisis by adhering to the agreed-upon trust measures."

The cafe has argued that the PPA has been obstructing its business operations, the authority's northern prefecture says, adding that the cafe did so via social media, while the PPA says that the cafe's owner attempts to obstruct the PPA in conducting its checks.

An inspection on Wednesday and another the next day found that the cafe does not ask customers for Covid certificates, and the PPA has issued a precept which, while the cafe's owner refused to accept it, is stil valid, the PPA says.

"On Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday afternoon, we went to the cafe to carry out follow-up checks, and on both occasions the owner of the cafe barred the entry of police officers and thus the exercise of state supervision, hence why police officers used coercion," the police said. 

Government order No 294 is the relevant order which empowers the PPA to conduct checks relating to Health Board (Terviseamet) requirements, the PPA says, while order No. 305 deals with the measures and restrictions themselves, including the requirement to check Covid certificates and verify their validity, including cross-referencing a certificate with the individual's ID, though businesses are not permitted to store or process the data.

MEM has: "Failed to mention that it is deliberately ignoring the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and obstructing state supervision," the PPA added.

"In November alone, the police have inspected more than 600 businesses in Tallinn and in Harju County, but have only encountered such indifference and provocation in this one place," the spokespersons went on.

The current Covid restrictions in force in Estonia are here.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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