Time short for businesses to prepare for new year if 11pm curfew lifted

New Year's fireworks last year, at Inglirand on Reidi tee in Tallinn.
New Year's fireworks last year, at Inglirand on Reidi tee in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Tallinn city government preparations for New Year's Eve in the capital are going ahead despite, at the present moment, a curfew which means public events have to end at 11 p.m. being in place, Tallinn Deputy Mayor Monika Haukanõmm (Center) says. For private sector firms, planning will be difficult at short notice, assuming that particular restriction gets lifted in the next few days.

Haukanõmm told ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) that: "Since we are not holding a major concert; we only have fireworks, we are able to make changes according to instructions and be very flexible," adding that the fireworks would be centered on Reidi tee, just east of the city center and which has a wide pedestrian promenade.

While under current restricitons, public events as the clock chimes midnight would be off the table, the prime minister gave an indication Thursday that the 11 p.m. curfew would be lifted in the next few days, pending an epidemiological situation which permitted it.

While the city government says it has its celebrations in hand, for private sector companies the switch would not leave much time to make preparations, ERR reports.

Project manager at event organizer Orangetime Inge Tõruke said that: "We're not talking about some sort of wagon any more – we now cater to large events, which can number hundreds of guests, and decisions on these events need to be made two to three months in advance," adding that even staff alone can reach a hundred at major events, once caterers, designers, technical staff etc. are taken into account.

"The whole sector is actually on very thin ice," Tõruke went on.

Around a dozen companies similar in size and scope to Orangetime are in business in Estonia, ERR reports.

Hotels are facing similar issues.

Sari Sopanen, CEO of the Viru Hotel in Tallinn, said that there is little time left to make changes.

She said: "It's one thing to make preparations, but the other question is how people get to know about what we have on offer. Marketing also takes time," adding that a change in restrictions needs to come several weeks in advance to make a difference (there are less than five weeks left in 2021 at the time of writing-ed.).

The prime minister said that the curfew, put in place early on this month at a time of soaring Covid rates and hospitalizations, will be lifted as soon as is possible, while the rules on vaccine certificate checks and number limits will remain in place.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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