Following a meeting with representatives of Estonia's cultural sector on Friday morning, Minister of Culture Tiit Terik (Center) intends to propose to the government to thoroughly discuss whether the public mask mandate currently still in force is medically justified in the current situation and how beneficial the mandate actually is.
"In a situation where COVID-19 figures are indicating a clear downward trend and we have repealed the majority of our restrictions, there is no rational justification for continuing to enforce the mask mandate, and [compliance] checks demand unreasonable efforts," Terik said according to a Center Party press release.
According to the minister, several theater directors have said that all theatergoers politely have face masks on when entering the building, however they frequently take them off in the dark during performances. "In a situation like that, how can you enforce the mask mandate?" he asked.
He also cited choir singers as another group of concern, noting that nearly 40,000 people in Estonia have to sing in masks during choir rehearsals.
"Many countries have repealed their mask mandates, and Estonia should really follow common sense and repeal the mandate," Terik said.
According to the minister, Estonia's cultural sector as a whole is of the belief that mandatory masking should be replaced by a recommendation to mask.
"The COVID-19 virus has been with us for more than two years, and the cultural and sports sector has suffered a great deal during this time," he stressed. "Many events have been canceled, and many businesses have been forced to close down. One job politicians have is to read society and perceive public expectations. Right now, the state should be doing everything it can to grant the cultural sector the freedom to operate. Forcing questionable requirements on them is unreasonable today."
Editor: Aili Vahtla