Should the Covid epidemiological picture in Estonia fall to the 'Yellow' (medium) level from its current rating of 'Orange' (high), the current regulation requiring entertainment venues and events to close at 11 p.m. can be lifted, Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) says.
Kallas made the announcement at Thursday's regular government press conference, adding that the Health Board (Terviseamet) has forecast a fall in risk to the "Yellow" status between now and early next week.
Government spokesperson Liis Velsker told ERR that if this happens, the cabinet will meet again to discuss the issue and make a decision to lift the restriction.
If the change were to happen, it would mean public New Year's Eve celebrations could go ahead all the way to midnight and beyond, rather than having to end an hour before the change of year.
Estonia's risk level was set at "Orange" in late September and has remained the same since, though hospitalizations are almost half the 600-plus they were at earlier on in November.
The Health Board announced earlier on Wednesday, however, that it would continue to impose restrictions as they are even if infection rates fall and stabilize, while school Christmas events have been canceled.
In any case, discussions at government and state agency-level on restrictions have tended to take on a dialectic character throughout much of the pandemic and often precede a change, in particular when new restrictions are implemented.
The next phase as noted would be cabinet-level discussions before the new regime is announced, and even this can change between announcement stage and the requisite government order being drawn up.
While a government order is usually passed on a Friday, it generally enters into effect the following Monday, though when closing time in bars and clubs is the subject, this can also be brought forward to weekends.
The current restrictions, here, will remain in place through this weekend in any case.
Estonia's "R" rate has risen slightly, but is still below one, at 0.8, while daily new coronavirus case rates, in the thousands early on in the month, are now generally in the hundreds.
More information on risk levels and what they mean is available from the Health Board's site here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte