Estonia starts to ease the coronavirus restrictions

The Estonian government on 11 May started to ease the restrictions imposed due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, allowing all students to go to school on Monday, 17 May, and culture and entertainment establishments to be open at 50% capacity from 24 May; indoor dining will also be allowed at cafes and restaurants.

The Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, said the government took into account the level of risk of infection when easing the restrictions.

“We do not want to keep restrictions in place for a day longer than is necessary, but we must remain careful, because the virus continues to spread. Therefore, we will gradually ease the restrictions,” Kallas said in a statement.

According to her, it is a priority of for the government that children would be able to go to school. “One week later, on 24 May, we will ease restrictions on activities with a medium risk of infection. I remind all Estonians that although the approaching summer promises us a breather, we still have to be responsible,” Kallas said.

People gathering in Tallinn’s Telliskivi Creative City. The image is illustrative. Photo by Rasmus Jurkatam.

All sporting, training and recreational activities can be conducted outdoors in groups of up to 25 people (including an instructor) from 17 May. A maximum of 250 people can take part in the activities.

From 17 May, outdoor sports and movement events will be allowed for groups of up to 25 people and the event must end no later than 10 PM. The maximum number of participants is 250 people.

Spectators will not be allowed to attend competitions or events.

All events must end up 10 PM

From 17 May onwards, visitors may attend outdoor areas of museums and exhibitions (including the zoo), taking into account the 50% occupancy limit. The doors must be closed at 10 PM. The 2+2 rule (maximum parties of two, keeping two metres or 6.5 feet apart from other parties) must be followed when moving around.

A zebra in Tallinn Zoo. The image is illustrative. Photo by Aron Urb.

From the same day, groups of up to 25 people are allowed to attend public events and meetings and outdoor entertainment venues. Events must end no later than 10 PM. The total number of participants will be limited to 250 people for outdoor events.

From 24 May, it is allowed to be indoors at museums and exhibitions, as well as at seated events such as theatres, cinemas, conferences, as well as sermons or other public religious services, provided the occupancy rate does not exceed 50 per cent. The number of participants is limited to 200 people. The event must end no later than 10 PM.

Moving around indoors, the 2+2 rule must be observed, a mask must be worn, disinfectants must be used on site and the event organiser’s instructions must be followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Restrictions applicable to indoor areas of spas, swimming pools, saunas and entertainment venues will be extended until 30 May; the government will review these restrictions on an ongoing basis.

Retailers’ restrictions to remain in effect

From 24 May, indoor dining will be allowed at catering establishments at 50% occupancy. The maximum number of people allowed at one table is six. The doors must be closed to customers at 10 PM.

Barlova bar in Tartu. The image is illustrative. Photo by Ruudu Sandra.

From the same day, outdoor dining at catering establishments will be allowed for groups of up to 10 people at 50 per cent occupancy. Like indoor areas, outdoor areas must also be closed to customers no later than 10 PM.

Current restrictions will remain in force for retail and service companies, this means the occupancy rate per room must not exceed 25 per cent and the 2+2 rule must be followed.

Today, the government adopted decisions in principle, the renewed order regarding the restrictions is scheduled to be adopted on Thursday.

Cover: People are already enjoying outdoors as the weather warms up in Estonia. Kakumäe beach in Tallinn on 11 May 2021. Photo by Silver Tambur.

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