The government approved the introduction of new restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

04.03.2021 | 13:52

Stenbock House, 3 March 2021 – The government approved an order restricting the opening hours and capacity requirements of catering and commercial establishments from 6 March, as well as establishing restrictions on carrying out sports competitions and sports and exercise events. The order allows students preparing for final and state exams to participate in partial contact learning from 15 March.
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Sports competitions and sports and exercise events

From 6 March, sports competitions and sports and exercise events will not be allowed in areas related to the military defence and internal security of the state. It will also be forbidden to carry out such events for children in pre-school child care institutions or students who are allowed to participate in contact learning.

Sports competitions and sports and exercise events are only allowed for professional athletes in the competitive system of sports governing bodies, members and candidates of adult and youth Estonian national teams, or players in premier and championship leagues.

Sports and exercise events are also allowed for people with special needs.

Catering establishments

From 6 March, customers may be in sales or service halls of catering establishments only on business days from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The occupancy of the room may not exceed 25 per cent. On weekends, catering establishments must be closed to customers for eating and drinking on site. Take-away food sale is allowed at any time.

The restriction on opening hours also applies to catering in hotels and other accommodation establishments. This means that outside the permitted opening hours, guests can only be offered catering with room service or by take-away food sale.

A mask must be worn when moving in the sales or service hall of a catering establishment.  The 2 + 2 rule must be followed, i.e. up to two people can be and move around together and they must keep a distance of at least two metres from other people. The restriction does not apply to families. If the catering establishment also offers the service on an outdoor terrace, the same opening hours restrictions apply there, but instead of the 2 + 2 rule, the requirement of dispersal of customers must be observed.

Shopping centres

From 6 March, both individual shops and shops in shopping centres must be closed on weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays, goods may be sold and delivered to the customer in an outdoor sales or delivery area of the store, where the dispersal of people must be ensured.

The restriction on opening hours does not apply to grocery stores, petrol stations, pharmacies, eyewear stores, as well as stores selling medical devices and aids, points of sale of telecommunications companies, and pet stores, regardless of the location of the store.

A stricter 25 per cent capacity restriction will apply in the sales hall of the store and in the public space of shopping centres instead of the previous 50 per cent.

Restrictions on service companies were not changed.

Education

From 15 March, students taking the final school and state exams in the 2020/2021 academic year will be allowed to participate in contact learning two days a week. Schools must take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Education and Research.

All existing requirements for conducting studies remain valid. This means, among other things, the obligation for both teachers and students to wear a mask and to ensure that classes do not come into contact with each other in corridors, changing rooms, canteens, or elsewhere. Classrooms should be ventilated and, if possible, changed between classes.

The additional restrictions are intended to further reduce human contact in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Compared to the previous week, the increase in new cases of coronavirus in Estonia has been 46.8 per cent. There were 1,467 positive coronavirus tests in the last 24 hours, which is 17.7 per cent of the total number of tests. As at today, the infection rate per 100,000 people in Estonia in the last 14 days is 1,121.5. 555 coronavirus patients require hospitalisation, including 48 patients who are in intensive care, of whom 25 need a ventilator. Yesterday, ten people infected with the coronavirus died.

As at yesterday, hospitals’ COVID general wards were at 77 per cent capacity, Level II intensive care units at 73.9 per cent capacity, and COVID Level III intensive care units at 67.6 per cent capacity, which partially limits the provision of scheduled care by 30–50 per cent in hospitals.

The restrictions are initially valid until 28 March and the government will decide on their continuation in based on the epidemiological situation in Estonia, taking into account the proposals of the Health Board and the scientific council. The imposition of additional measures or the extension of restrictions is not excluded if the infection statistics do not show an improvement.

The Government Communication Unit will publish the order of the government and the explanatory memorandum on the website kriis.ee

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