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All questions and answers

Here you can find answers and questions about the emergency situation in Estonia, also find instructions for behaving in that situation.

Q & A

 

Focus: Gradual exit from the coronavirus crisis

 

What is the confirmation of restriction on freedom of movement?

Confirmation of restriction on freedom of movement is a document signed at the border by a person in Estonia. They confirm that they are:

  • aware of the restriction on freedom of movement, and
  • undertakes to stay at the home or place of stay for 14 calendar days.
  • The person submits personal and contact details and the address of the home or place of stay.

When I arrive from certain European countries - when does the restriction on freedom of movement apply?

As of June 1, people may enter Estonia if they have no symptoms of the disease, and if they arrive from the European Union Member State, or Schengen area, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island. Restriction on freedom of movement depends on the rate of coronavirus infection being greater than 15 in their country of departure. If the infection rate is less than 15, then the restriction on freedom of movement is not applicable, if greater, then the restriction applies.

Information about the restrictions on countries and freedom of movement for arrivals from Europe countries is available on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://vm.ee/et/uudised/uuendatud-teave-riikide-ja-eneseisolatsiooninouete-kohta-euroopast-saabujatele-21-juuni.

The list will be updated every Friday and is valid as of following Monday.

How will the sports competitions take place in June?

As of June 1 to 30, the 2+2 rule is in force, and the 100 participants limit applies for indoor sports competitions without spectators.

This means that for competitions held indoors, no spectators are allowed but athletes, organisers, coaches, etc. can participate.

If the sports competition is held outdoors, then the spectators are allowed, considering that the number of participants may not exceed 100.

The organiser must ensure the availability of disinfectants.

What should I take into consideration if I plan to organise leisure activities or events?

**Drive-in cinemas and concerts may also take place in suitable indoor conditions.

Drive-in cinema or drive-in concert may be organised in a suitable indoor space (in a hall, for example), if

  • 2+2 rule is observed,
  • people are not allowed to leave the car without an unavoidable need,
  • sufficient distance is maintained when cars are parked,
  • availability of disinfectants is ensured, if necessary.

**Public events are allowed as of June 1 both indoors and outdoors.

This means that going to the movies, performances, concerts, conferences, fairs, festivals, etc is allowed.

The organiser of the event must ensure that the restrictions are observed:

  • 2+2 rule;
  • only 50% of the capacity of the premises may be used, but not more than 100 persons;
  • outdoors up to 100 people may participate in the event.

For museums and exhibitions, the requirements of groups of no more than 10 persons will be lifted as of June 1. The 2+2 requirement must be still observed.

Casinos and gaming halls will be opened as of June 1.

The following restrictions must be observed:

  • only 50% of the capacity of the premises is allowed to be used, and no more than 100 people may use the premises at the same time.
  • Disinfectants must also be available for employees and clients.

As of June 1, it is allowed to stay on premises of restaurants and bars after 22:00.

The following restrictions must be observed:

  • 2+2 rule,
  • availability of disinfectants is ensured.

The restriction on the sale of alcohol will be lifted as of June 1 As of June 1, the retail sale of alcohol is resumed under the same conditions as before the emergency situation.

As of July, sports competitions with spectators are allowed in both indoors and outdoors

The following restrictions must be observed:

  • 2+2 rule,
  • no more than 50% of the capacity of the premises is used, and no more than 500 participants are attending.
  • outdoor event may have up to 1000 persons, provided the compliance with the rules is guaranteed.

Which rules need to be observed by the organisers of children's summer camps and students' work camps?

Children's summer camps and students' work camps can take place starting from June 12.

The organiser must ensure the adherence to the following rules:

  • the restriction of no more than 20 people in a group, and no more than 300 participants in the camp shift.
  • People with symptoms of the disease may not participate in student or youth camps, or to stay in the facilities.
  • if a participant or an employee has been in contact with a person who has had symptoms of Covid-19 (or similar) during the last 14 days, they cannot attend the youth or student camp.
  • Every day the rooms, work surfaces and items need to be washed and disinfected, and the rooms need to be aired.
  • participants and employees must be informed and instructed about compliance with general hygiene requirements and compliance needs to be verified. It is also necessary to ensure the possibility of washing and disinfecting hands.

For more information:

Overview of the Estonian Youth Work Centre of the organisation of youth camps for summer 2020.

Recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Research for the organisation of youth camps for summer 2020.

The government decided to allow the opening of spas, water parks and saunas for leisure purposes. Do any special conditions apply?

Indeed, as of June 1, it is again possible to visit water parks, spas, saunas etc for leisure purposes. For this aim, special conditions must be met. The provider of the service must ensure the adherence to:

  • making sure the information is provided through the booking systems and other methods regarding the requirement to maintain the distance.
  • the requirement of no more than 50% occupancy rate.

When will sports clubs, gyms, swimming pools be able to start operating?

As of June 1, it is allowed to open sports clubs, including gyms, spa´s and swimming pools for indoor sports training. The organiser must assure that the following conditions are met:

  • the requirement that indoors the maximum capacity of 50% of the premises is used at most;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

I want to visit a family member or a friend who is in a care home/hospital. When are visitations allowed again?

The Health Board has established prohibition to visits for hospitals and care institutions until June 1, the exception is visiting a dying person and providing mental health care for the client.

The owner of the institution must ensure that visitation guidelines have been drafted in cooperation with the Health Board and that these guidelines are being followed.

Among other things, it must be ensured that:

  • the visitor, the person being visited, and/or the personnel are using personal protective equipment (e.g. masks etc.) if necessary.

  • if possible, the meeting is arranged outdoors or in special rooms.

  • the visitor presents a health declaration beforehand (will be filled out on premises).

  • the disinfecting requirements are being followed according to the visitation guidelines.

As of June 1, the people staying in general and special care homes are allowed to leave the territory of the care home, provided that they use personal protective equipment, if necessary.

What kind of easing of restrictions and rules apply now to formal and informal education?

With the order of the Government of the Republic, the restrictions on informal education and activities were eased considerably as of June 1. Easing of restrictions apply to basic schools, secondary schools, vocational education institutions and higher education institutions, as well as in the organisation of activities of supplementary education institutions, informal education and hobby activities providers, and open youth centres.

The organisation of the work of pre-school children's institutions is still decided by the owner of the institution, following the instructions of the Health Board.

As of June 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 100 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities are allowed for no more than 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.

  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities are allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

The 2+2 rule must still be observed unless it is not reasonably possible due to the nature of the activity.

When organising events for end of the school year, all existing restrictions must be taken into account, including the need to stop the spread of the virus. End of the year events can be organised in a flexible manner, dispersing the students (for example by classes or groups), preferably outdoors or in smaller circles. Different smart solutions can also be used.

What will happen to pool halls and bowling alleys, playgrounds etc.?

The government is allowing entertainment facilities (playgrounds, playrooms, pool halls, bowling alleys etc.) in shopping centres and elsewhere to operate again from June 1. For this, special conditions must be met. The service provider must ensure the adherence to:

  • the requirement that the occupancy can be no more than 50%;
  • the disinfecting requirements according to the Health Board guidelines.

When is it allowed to resume holding public meetings?

Public meetings can resume from May 18.

From May 18 until the end of May, the organizer of a public meeting must ensure the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 10 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

Starting from June 1 it is allowed to hold a public meeting indoors with a higher number of participants than previously. The organizer of the meeting must ensure the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 50 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

Starting from July 1, the number of allowed participants will go up again.

Public meetings are allowed, provided that the organizer ensures the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 500 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 1000 participants.

Can I travel from Estonia to Finland?

As of June 15, Finland has lifted the travel restrictions and opened the border for air and maritime travel with Estonia. Recreational vessels are also allowed to enter, including private vessels. When arriving in Finland, voluntary self-isolation is not required.

What kind of restrictions are still in force?

The restrictions are still in force that are important for maintaining public health and containing the spread of the virus:

  1. 2+2 rule remains in force.
  2. People diagnosed with coronavirus and people who have been in close contact with the infected persons need to stay in isolation.
  3. People in care homes with a coronavirus diagnosis are prohibited from coming into contact with other people except the employees of the care home and medical staff.
  4. Catering establishments may remain open and alcohol can be sold until 22:00.
  5. Sports competitions with spectators are allowed only outdoors.
  6. Night-clubs, water-pipe cafes, adult entertainment clubs and other entertainment establishments are closed.
  7. Casinos and slot-machine arcades will remain closed until June 1. After June 1 they may open if the 2+2 rule is observed, and the 50% of the maximum capacity of the rooms is used. Not more than 50 persons may use the premises at the same time.
  8. No cruises or leisure travel will take place on Tallinn-Stockholm ferry lines.
  9. The restrictions for crossing the state border will remain in force (except for established derogations for Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland).

The Government will review the need for restrictions on a regular basis.

Is it possible to organise events this summer?

As of Friday, June 19, the government decided to replace the 2+2 rule with a requirement for dispersion. This means that people need to keep a safe distance from each other.

The requirement for dispersion replaces the current 2+2 rule everywhere in the public space. Instead, people must keep distance from other people during public events, public meetings, as well as at sports events, museums and exhibitions, etc.

The government also decided to restore the activities of nightclubs, water-pipe cafes, and adult clubs as of 1 July. They may open on condition that the owner ensures the sufficient dispersion of people, allowing for maximum 50 percent of the capacity of premises, and no more than 100 persons attending persons, and observance of disinfection requirements.

The order only concerns the easing of the 2+2 rule, all other requirements for the number of participants, use of the capacity of the premises, disinfectants and other requirements remain valid.

Under which conditions was regular schoolwork resumed as of May 15?

As of May 15, return to the usual educational activities in school premises is allowed if special conditions have been met. This applies to:

  • general education schools,
  • vocational education institutions,
  • higher education institutions,
  • continuous education institutions,
  • hobby schools and informal education providers, and
  • open youth centres

Groups of up to 10 members are allowed to study on school premises. This restriction does not apply to holding of exams, state examinations and proficiency testing, if they are organised in larger rooms, such as assembly halls, gyms, and larger lecture rooms.

When educational work is resumed,

  1. commonly used items in school rooms must be disinfected often, and rooms must be aired.
  2. students, participants of hobby classes, and people who organise the educational work do their utmost to limit the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Wearing a protective mask is not mandatory. At the same time, wearing a mask as well as using other personal protective equipment is strongly recommended for informal education providers, teachers, academic staff, pupils, and students who belong to a risk group.

Which rules apply for shopping centres now?

The shopping centres were opened again as of May 11. The 2-by-2 rule must be still observed in shopping centres, and safety of the employees and customers assured. Customers are strongly recommended to wear masks or cover their nose and mouth by some other means.

Food can be eaten at the premises of catering establishments in shopping centres until 22:00. The aim is to prevent people from gathering in restaurants, cafes, and bars in the evenings.

NB! Children's playrooms, casinos, slot machines arcades, entertainment, and leisure facilities, including ninepin bowling and tenpin bowling and billiard halls, and adult clubs, will remain closed.

The ban on organising public gatherings, also visiting cinemas, nightclub events, performances, concerts, and conferences will also remain valid in shopping centres as well as elsewhere.

As of May 11, is it possible to have a meal at a catering establishment in a shopping centre?

Yes, as of May 11, restaurants and catering establishments are allowed to open (including consuming food on the premises), 2-by-2 rule must be observed, disinfectants must be provided both for the employees and the customers. Provision of service at the table is mandatory, and the clients can only serve themselves if the food has been packaged.

At the same time, the restriction remains which allows consumption of food at the premises of the catering establishment until 22:00, to prevent people from gathering in the evenings.

Do I have to wear a mask when visiting a shopping centre?

Visitors of shopping centres and businesses are strongly advised to wear a mask in the store, or to cover mouth and nose, but this is not mandatory.

Is the sales staff obliged to wear a mask?

There is no obligation to wear a mask but it is strongly recommended to use personal protective equipment.
The owner of the business must ensure that employees have personal protective equipment or can use alternative measures - they can use a mask, a visor, a plexiglass shield cover around the cash register, etc.

As of May 11, can I visit the clothing stores at shopping centres?

Yes, as of May 11, all stores and services at shopping centres can re-open, provided that 2-by-2 rule will be observed, and disinfectants will be available for both employees and customers. Customers are strongly recommended to wear a mask when visiting the stores, or to cover their mouth and nose. It is recommended to prepare your shopping list in advance, so you would spend the least time possible in the shop and avoid touching products unnecessarily. If you have any symptoms of the disease, do not visit the stores.

As an owner of a business, do I need to separate masks and gloves?

The businesses will likely need to keep the virus-contaminated waste (including personal protective equipment) separately from other waste and keep it in a closed bag. The waste must be thrown into the municipal waste container after 72 hours.

Which cultural institutions and sports facilities are impacted by the easing of restrictions from May 2?

As of May 2:

  1. it is allowed to visit exhibitions in open air museums and the outdoor spaces of museums
  2. perform sporting activities outdoors, organise outdoor training sessions.

The conditions for both activities are similar.

Outdoor spaces of museums:

  1. groups up to 10 people are allowed,
  2. 2-by-2 rule must be observed, and
  3. the museum has to guarantee access to disinfectants,
  4. it is not allowed to enter buildings, such as the open-air museum farmhouses.

Conditions for organising sporting activities and training sessions outdoors:

  1. the group includes no more than 10 people.
  2. the 2-by-2 rule is observed
  3. the organizer of the sports activity must guarantee the availability of disinfectants, and will disinfect the sports equipment,
  4. in organizing the activity, a distance must be kept between participants and the people in the group must be dispersed; the age of the participants needs to also be taken into account when forming the groups.

The 2-by-2 rule means that no more than 2 people must be together, and at least 2-metre distance must be maintained from other people.

According to the decision of the government Crisis Committee, all other cultural and sports institutions will remain closed until May 17 (included). Sports facilities exception applies for the approximately 115 sportsmen and -women, coaches and assisting personnel who participate in preparations for the Olympic Games. A few exceptions may also apply to libraries.

 

Summer camps, trainings, hobby education, youth centres

 

Is it allowed to organise children´s camps and student´s work camps this summer?

Yes. Children´s camps and student youth camps can be organised starting from June 12.

How to arrange accommodation and catering in youth and student camps?

If possible, young people of different groups should be housed in separate buildings or rooms.

The usual requirements for food handling need to be followed for catering.

Which rules need to be observed by the organisers of children's summer camps and students' work camps?

Children's summer camps and students' work camps can take place starting from June 12.

The organiser must ensure the adherence to the following rules:

  • the restriction of no more than 20 people in a group, and no more than 300 participants in the camp shift.
  • People with symptoms of the disease may not participate in student or youth camps, or to stay in the facilities.
  • if a participant or an employee has been in contact with a person who has had symptoms of Covid-19 (or similar) during the last 14 days, they cannot attend the youth or student camp.
  • Every day the rooms, work surfaces and items need to be washed and disinfected, and the rooms need to be aired.
  • participants and employees must be informed and instructed about compliance with general hygiene requirements and compliance needs to be verified. It is also necessary to ensure the possibility of washing and disinfecting hands.

For more information:

Overview of the Estonian Youth Work Centre of the organisation of youth camps for summer 2020.

Recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Research for the organisation of youth camps for summer 2020.

Which rules need to be observed by the hobby activities and informal education providers?

With the order of the Government of the Republic, the restrictions on informal education and activities were eased considerably as of June 1,

As of June 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 100 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • Instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.
  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

As of May 15, partial contact study was allowed in all educational institutions, where distance learning was used in the meantime. It is up to each informal education school and hobby class to decide whether to continue with distance learning or resume contact learning.

More detailed information about the organisation of educational work is available from informal education institutions and hobby schools.

Are open youth centres working?

As of June 1, the restrictions for open youth centres were eased.

  • Activities indoors are allowed if 50% of the capacity of the premises is not exceeded but no more than 100 persons at the same time.

  • Outdoor activities can be carried out with up to 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • Instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.

  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1,

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

We advise to inform the young people that the number of people in the youth centre is restricted.

As of May 15, youth centres opened again, but all the recommendations of the Ministry of Education and Research must be followed

 

Exams at general education schools

 

When will the results of the state examinations of the upper secondary schools be published?

The state examinations took place at the end of May and early June, and the results will be published no later than June 30.

Is it possible to grade the upper secondary school final report card with Fail or Pass grade, instead of the numbered grade?

From the beginning of the emergency situation until the end of the academic year 2019/2020, a descriptive assessment can be used in the grade report, which does not need to be converted into the five-grade numerical system. Grades for semesters are usually given as numerical values. If descriptive assessments have been used during the emergency situation and therefore the grade cannot be expressed in numerical terms as the decision of the Board of Education, the course may be graded as Passed or Failed. The same applies to school grades for end of the year report cards.

When will the additional state exams take place this autumn?

According to the initial plan, the additional state exams for the academic year of 2019/2020 will take place as follows:

  1. Estonian (written): October 10, 2020.
  2. Estonian as a second language integrated with B2 proficiency test (written): October 11, 2020.
  3. Estonian as a second language integrated with B2 proficiency test (oral): October 11 to 13, 2020.
  4. English as foreign language B1/B2 (written): September 26, 2020,
  5. English as foreign language B1/B2 (oral): September 26 to October 2, 2020,
  6. Mathematics (written): October 17, 2020.

These dates are listed in the draft Regulation sent for the approval to ministries, heads of schools and teachers' associations, and may be subject to change.

Additional information: innove[at]innove[dot]ee

When is it possible to register for the additional state examinations of the upper secondary school?

Registration for the additional state exam is open from June 6 to July 17, 2020. All students graduating the academic year of 2019/2020, also previous graduates and graduates of vocational schools can be registered for the additional state exams.

Students of upper secondary schools or vocational education institutions can register for the additional exams through the Exams Information System (www.eis.ee)

Additional information: innove[at]innove[dot]ee

Is it possible to graduate without exams?

The lower secondary school state examinations will not take place for this academic year but for the students wishing to sit for a test of Estonian as a second language, the test will be arranged. In order to graduate the lower secondary school, the average report card grade must be at least ´pass´ or ´sufficient´. Creative subject is not a national condition for graduating from the lower secondary school. The school board will make a decision whether passing this subject is possible or not. If due to the emergency situation it was not possible to complete the course on creative works, then the student graduating from the lower secondary school does not have to do it.

Upper secondary school state examinations will not be compulsory - i.e. upper secondary school graduation is possible without sitting for state exams. Graduating classes who have registered for tests this year can sit for Estonian language, or Estonian as a second language test, mathematics test or an internationally recognised foreign language test.

The state examinations will take place at the end of May and early June, and the results will be published no later than 30 June.

During the first half of the next academic year supplementary state examinations will be organised. These are for the students who could not take their exams in the spring, or who are not satisfied with the results.

 

General education, vocational education, higher education

 

What is happening with the vocational school graduation if professional examinations are postponed?

The conditions for concluding the vocational training have not changed. In order to graduate, a professional proficiency test must be passed, or if it is not possible or the student fails, then the final exam of the school. During the emergency situation it was not possible to take neither professional nor final examination. Therefore, it is possible that the completion of vocational training will also be postponed.

The Ministry of Education and Research does not consider it appropriate to change such a principled decision as the completion of vocational training with a professional examination. Assessors of professional skills are flexible and cooperative in order to find ways to organise professional examinations this year and also in the future, taking into account the restrictions in force.

When and how is the admission to vocational schools organised this year?

The detailed information about school admissions can be requested from the specific school.

What kind of easing of restrictions and rules apply now to formal and informal education?

With the order of the Government of the Republic, the restrictions on informal education and activities were eased considerably as of June 1. Easing of restrictions apply to basic schools, secondary schools, vocational education institutions and higher education institutions, as well as in the organisation of activities of supplementary education institutions, informal education and hobby activities providers, and open youth centres.

The organisation of the work of pre-school children's institutions is still decided by the owner of the institution, following the instructions of the Health Board.

As of June 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 100 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities are allowed for no more than 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.

  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities are allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

The 2+2 rule must still be observed unless it is not reasonably possible due to the nature of the activity.

When organising events for end of the school year, all existing restrictions must be taken into account, including the need to stop the spread of the virus. End of the year events can be organised in a flexible manner, dispersing the students (for example by classes or groups), preferably outdoors or in smaller circles. Different smart solutions can also be used.

Can school trips, graduation ceremonies or other gatherings take place during the summer?

The schools need to find solutions observing the rules in force to organise the necessary events and gatherings.

When organising events for end of the school year, all existing restrictions must be taken into account, including the need to stop the spread of the virus. End of the year events can be organised in a flexible manner, dispersing the students (for example by classes or groups), preferably outdoors or in smaller circles. Different smart solutions can also be used.

As of June 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 100 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.

  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1

  • indoor activities are allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.
  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

Can a vocational school send their students abroad on a traineeship?

The school cannot organise any trips out of the country, the situation in the country of destination might change. The risks are not only related to the spread of the virus but also related to restriction of movement or travel. If the student has already left for their traineeship in a foreign country, then upon return they have to observe the rules for staying at home.

Where can I find additional information or help on the subject of education?

If you have any questions for the Ministry of Education and Research, please contact info[at]hm[dot]ee.

For an overview of the rules and guidelines sent to institutions in the area under the Ministry of Education and Research, please see the website https://www.hm.ee/koroona.

Crisis Support information in the field of education and youth can be found at the website: hm.ee/kriisitoetus.

Do the evaluation criteria remain the same for exams, tests, and periodic / annual assessments?

Although the education provision this spring has been unusual, the assessment will take place in accordance with the school´s evaluation guidelines. If any distinctions are made in comparison to the usual system, this information must be communicated by the school. The teacher should explain to the student which tasks need to be completed for the assessment to take place, and how they will receive feedback. If you have any questions about the evaluation criteria, please contact your teachers and school.

The state examinations are assessed according to the exam evaluation guide.

 

Military service

 

What happens if a military conscript or an active serviceman is infected with the coronavirus or is exposed to an infected person?

If a conscript gets infected, they will be in isolation until the end of the treatment.

Conscripts and active servicemen who might have been exposed to people infected with the coronavirus will be excluded from active training activities for two weeks. At that time, food will be provided for them from the canteen with a thermos, and left behind the door. Empty thermoses will be disinfected. It is possible to contact the conscripts and servicemen who have been excluded from active training or who do not have the permission to leave the base by their mobile phones. They can receive packages, if the package is sent by post, or left for them at the base entrance.

What will happen to conscripts called to service in January?

Approximately 460 conscripts joined the Estonian Defence Forces at the beginning of this year, and they will continue their service.

The Chief of the Defence Forces has instructed the commanders of the units to arrange the leave and holiday permissions for the conscripts as of May. The service continues following the usual procedure, there are no restrictions for permitting the conscripts to go on leave at the moment due to the coronavirus.

How can I send a package to someone doing their national service?

Packages can be sent to national servicemen and women in the first and second infantry brigades through Omniva. It is requested not to bring packages in person. The name and the unit or battalion of the national serviceman or woman should be marked on the package. Please do not send perishable goods, as the delivery of packages may take some time. Packages should be sent to:

  • Kuperjanov Infantry Battalion: Kose tee 3a, Võru, 65603
  • Tapa military base: Loode 35, 45106 Tapa, Lääne-Viru maakond
  • Paldiski military base: Rae põik 1, 76806 Paldiski, Harju maakond
  • Jõhvi military base: Pargi 55, 41537 Jõhvi, Ida-Viru maakond

 

Work of courts

 

What are the rules of procedure for courts after the end of the emergency situation?

The Estonian courts, which during the emergency situation used written procedures and various technical solutions, will start holding more hearings again in courtrooms. However, the return to the normal working procedure is cautious, since the threat of the virus has not been removed, and it is important to make sure the health of the parties involved in the proceedings, observers and employees in the courthouses, is protected also in the future.

Even after the end of the emergency, it is recommended to wear mask in courts, as well as to apply the 2+2 rule and stay at home when ill.

The court invites parties carrying out their duties to bring masks to the proceedings with them. For those who do not have a mask, the court usher, or the Registrar of the court will provide them with a mask, if necessary. If a person spends more than three hours in the courtroom, the masks need to be changed.

The two-metre distance rule applies in the courtroom, so the number of people allowed in the courtroom can enter as the premises allow. The judge decides the number of persons in the Chamber. The courtrooms, witness stands, door handles, and other touchable surfaces are cleaned frequently according to the need. It is also necessary to leave sufficient time between two hearings to air and clean the courtroom.

The work of the court is based on the principle that it is safe to come to courthouse. Of course, the rule still applies that if anybody has fallen ill, they need to remain home. If a party to the proceedings is ill, they will provide this information, and then the judge shall decide how to proceed.

Court Registries are open again at usual business hours. However, if possible, we ask people to continue using other channels, such as calling or sending an e-mail. Procedural documents can be submitted via e-File online information system at www.etoimik.ee.

Will the session take place when I am sick?

People summoned to court who have symptoms of the disease or who have been in close contact with the virus carrier must report to the court and will not be allowed to enter the courthouse. During the session, questions may be asked regarding the health status of the parties, and their recent travels. If a person who has been summoned to appear before the judge considers it to be dangerous for their health, they must inform the court, and the court will then decide on whether further proceedings are possible.

 

Work of hospitals and clinics

 

I want to visit a family member or a friend who is in a care home/hospital. When are visitations allowed again?

The Health Board has established prohibition to visits for hospitals and care institutions until June 1, the exception is visiting a dying person and providing mental health care for the client.

The owner of the institution must ensure that visitation guidelines have been drafted in cooperation with the Health Board and that these guidelines are being followed.

Among other things, it must be ensured that:

  • the visitor, the person being visited, and/or the personnel are using personal protective equipment (e.g. masks etc.) if necessary.

  • if possible, the meeting is arranged outdoors or in special rooms.

  • the visitor presents a health declaration beforehand (will be filled out on premises).

  • the disinfecting requirements are being followed according to the visitation guidelines.

As of June 1, the people staying in general and special care homes are allowed to leave the territory of the care home, provided that they use personal protective equipment, if necessary.

How many hospital beds are available in Estonia for the treatment of coronavirus patients?

In Estonian hospitals, there are enough beds for the treatment of coronavirus patients.

163 beds are available in infectious disease wards in negative pressure rooms. A negative pressure room has a special ventilation system where the transport of pathogens from the room by air is prevented. These rooms are available in five hospitals: West-Tallinn Central Hospital Infectious Diseases Clinic (100), Pärnu Hospital (20), Narva Hospital (20), Ida-Viru Central Hospital (12) and Tartu University Clinic (11).

There are total of 191 intensive care beds In Estonia, if necessary, it is possible to increase their number to 500. Total number of beds in hospitals is 5,300. If necessary, additional active and intensive care beds can be established when using the capacity of the Estonian Defence Forces field hospital (20 intensive care beds, and 40 general beds).

There are about 300 ventilators available in hospitals. Estonia also participates in the joint procurement of the European Union, where it is possible to purchase both personal protective equipment and ventilators, if need arises.

How will private clinics be compensated for the loss of income as a result of suspending scheduled treatments?

These private healthcare facilities that have a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund need to turn to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and solve the financing issue in co-operation. The rest can use other measures being worked out by the state.

How are private health care providers remunerated if they have gone to help the hospitals?

All health care workers who are providing assistance due to the increased need will be remunerated on an equal basis. Remuneration will be agreed as appropriate, based on an hospital contract, a general medical care contract, or other.

On what grounds has the Health Board resumed the scheduled treatments in private health care institutions?

On April 21, the Health Board authorised the gradual restoration of scheduled health care treatments as COVID-19 is showing a downward trend in Estonia and the need for continued scheduled treatment is high.

However, it is important to take into the account that the restoration of scheduled treatments will take place gradually, and the safety of patients and health care professionals is a priority - it is the responsibility of each health care institution. The appropriate instructions for hospitals and other health care institutions to resume planned treatments are available here.

The planned treatment was suspended in private health care institutions by the decision of the Health Board on 26 March. The purpose of this decision was to limit infectious contacts in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to ensure the most efficient use of personal protective equipment. It was also necessary to be prepared for a case where the help of the private health care professionals and the premises of private clinics would have been needed for coronavirus treatment. This was an emergency decision during the situation of crisis.

What kind of benefits (if any) befall to the medical staff and their family in case an employee suffers health damage or dies in the line of duty?

The state does not provide for any specific compensation in these circumstances. Medical professionals work according to the Employment Contracts Act and earn benefits according to their work contract, so it depends on agreements between employer and employee.

 

Sports activities, open air facilities, training camps

 

The government decided to allow the opening of spas, water parks and saunas for leisure purposes. Do any special conditions apply?

Indeed, as of June 1, it is again possible to visit water parks, spas, saunas etc for leisure purposes. For this aim, special conditions must be met. The provider of the service must ensure the adherence to:

  • making sure the information is provided through the booking systems and other methods regarding the requirement to maintain the distance.
  • the requirement of no more than 50% occupancy rate.

When will sports clubs, gyms, swimming pools be able to start operating?

As of June 1, it is allowed to open sports clubs, including gyms, spa´s and swimming pools for indoor sports training. The organiser must assure that the following conditions are met:

  • the requirement that indoors the maximum capacity of 50% of the premises is used at most;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

The restrictions on sporting opportunities have been eased as of May 2. What exactly is meant by sports and exercise events and what are the new rules?

Sports and exercise events are seen as training activities that take place in open air.

As of Friday, June 19, the government decided to replace the 2+2 rule with a requirement for dispersion. This means that people need to keep a safe distance from each other. The requirement for dispersion replaces the current 2+2 rule everywhere in the public space. Instead, people must keep distance from other people during public events, public meetings, as well as at sporting events, museums, and exhibitions, etc.

As of June 1, it is allowed to open sports clubs, including gyms and swimming pools for indoor training, provided that certain special conditions are met. The organiser must guarantee the adherence to:

  • the requirement that indoors the maximum capacity of 50% of the premises is used at most;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

From June 1 to June 30 the limit of 100 participants applies to holding sports competitions indoors without spectators. Sports competitions held outdoors can have spectators, considering that the number of participants may not exceed 100. The organiser must ensure that disinfectants are available.

As of July 1, it is allowed to hold both outdoor and indoor sports competitions with spectators under certain conditions. The organiser must guarantee the adherence to:

  • the requirement that indoors the maximum capacity of 50% of the premises is used at most, but no more than 500 people.
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 1000 people, (both the participants and spectators together).

Will the coaching allowance continue to be paid in the Emergency Situation?

Applying for and granting the coaching allowance and paying your salary will continue as usual. On-site inspections by the Sports Training and Information Foundation will not be organized until the situation normalises.

 

Short-term employment of foreign nationals in Estonia

 

I work in the construction sector and my short-term employment registration ends. Can the employer extend my employment to exceed the maximum employment period?

No, you cannot. The exception only applies to the agricultural sector.

I am an employer in the agricultural sector. Can I register an employee if they previously worked in another sector?

Yes, it is possible.

Can the employer extend to employment of a foreign national if the maximum employment period is over?

No, it is not possible. As before the emergency situation, the employer cannot extend the employment of a foreign national when the maximum employment period is over. The exception is the agricultural sector.

Can foreign nationals who are legally staying in Estonia and whose short-term employment period is over, be re-registered with the Police and Border Guard Board?

The Police and Border Guard Board started registration for short-term employment again. The prerequisite for this is the legal stay in Estonia of the foreign national, they have not exceeded their maximum allowed short-term employment period, and their employer wishes to employ them. The maximum permitted short-term employment period is 365 days during 455 consecutive days and 270 during 365 consecutive days for seasonal work.

How long can a foreign national work in Estonia?

According to the Aliens Act, a foreign national legally staying in Estonia may work here for up to 12 months during the period of 15 months, in the case of seasonal work for 9 months during a period of 12 months. The prerequisite is that the employer wishes to employ a foreign national and registers their short-term employment with the Police and Border Guard Board.

Where can the employer submit applications for short-term employment registration?

Applications can be submitted with the Police and Border Guard Board on the Internet: https://etaotlus.poliitsei.ee/ltr/

What should I do if my visa or permit for stay ended during the emergency period and I have been in Estonia on the basis of general arrangement?

After the end of the emergency situation you have 10 days to leave the country or to re-legalise your stay here with sufficient grounds, i.e. to submit a visa application.

What should be done in order to extend the right of a foreign national to work in the sector of agriculture?

The employer, whose economic activity is in the sector of plant and animal husbandry, hunting or providing services to these sectors, can submit a request for registration of short-term employment to the Police and Border Guard Board self-service website: https://etaotlus.poliitsei.ee/ltr/. The state fee must also be paid.

How long is it possible to extend the short-term working permit of foreign nationals working in the sector of agriculture?

The short-term employment permit of foreign nationals who area already in Estonia and are starting work in the agricultural sector or are already working in the agricultural sector, can be extended until July 31, 2020.

Under which conditions can foreigners work in Estonia?

A foreign national legally residing in Estonia may work here under the same conditions as before the emergency situation. If they have not used up their maximum short-term employment period, they may continue working in Estonia if their employer would like to continue with the employment, the employer will register the foreign national for short-term employment with the Police and Border Guard Board. If the visa of the foreign national is expiring, a new visa application must also be submitted.

The exception is short-term work in the agricultural sector.

What is the duration of short-term employment for a foreign national in Estonia?

Short-term employment in Estonia is permitted for: a) 365 days (9 months during a 12-month period), or b) 270 days (12 months during a 15-month period).

Foreign labour currently residing in Estonia whose short-term employment period (9 months during a 12-month period or 12 months during a 15-month period) has been exhausted or is about to be exhausted, may continue working in Estonia under the following conditions (all four conditions must be met):

  1. Foreign national is currently staying in Estonia legally and has arrived here before 17.03.20;

  2. The foreign national has exhausted the maximum permitted employment period (365 or 270 days depending on the type of work) or this period ends before 31.07.2020;

  3. The foreign national´s short-term employment is registered with the Police and Border Guard Board;

  4. The employer's main activity is agriculture (plant and livestock farming, hunting and provision of services to these activities).

Foreign nationals who are legally staying in Estonia with right to stay and work under general conditions later than 31 July 2020, or who have a valid residence permit are allowed to continue working in Estonia also after that date.

NB! Those foreign nationals employed under short-term employment rules, whose employment period has been exhausted or is about to be exhausted, and who are not employed in the sector of agriculture, and are not applying for the permit of short-term employment in agriculture, cannot continue working in Estonia. In this case, the foreign national must leave Estonia as soon as possible.

Currently, third-country nationals who not in Estonia and wish to work in Estonia cannot come to Estonia yet. If it is possible to remove the restrictions for cross-border movement, then the former procedure will be restored, according to which foreign nationals who can stay in Estonia with a visa or under a visa-free regime, have the opportunity to register their short-term employment in Estonia and their employer can use foreign labour up to 12 months during a 15 month period

Additional information from the Aliens´ Act: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/119032019083?leiaKehtiv.

How is the need for foreign labour solved in agriculture where seasonal farm work cannot be postponed?

Foreign nationals outside Estonia

Currently third-country nationals who not in Estonia and wish to work in Estonia cannot come to Estonia yet.

If it is possible to remove the restrictions for cross-border movement, then the former procedure will be restored, according to which foreign nationals who can stay in Estonia with a visa or under a visa-free regime, have the opportunity to register their short-term employment in Estonia and their employer can use foreign labour up to 12 months during a 15 month period.

Foreign nationals residing in Estonia

Foreign nationals who are already legally staying in Estonia may work here under the same conditions as before the emergency situation.

If they have not used up the maximum short-term employment period they may continue working in Estonia if their employer, who registers their short-term employment at the Police and Border Guard Board, wants to continue with the employment relationship. When registering a new short-term employment period, the employer must make sure that the foreign national has a sufficient number of days of legal stay left (to provide a legal basis) for the foreign national to work during that period.

As before the emergency situation, the employer cannot extend the employment of the foreign national if the maximum employment period has been exhausted.

Agricultural sector forms an exception. The short-term employment permit for foreign nationals who are working in the sector or who will start working in the agricultural sector may be extended until July 31, 2020. The employer's economic activity must be

  • plant and animal husbandry,
  • hunting or
  • providing services to these sectors (EMTAK a 01).

Under the Aliens Act, a foreign national legally staying in Estonia may work here:

  • up to 12 months over a 15-month period,
  • in the case of seasonal work up to 9 months over a 12- month period.

The precondition is that the employer is willing to employ the foreign national and will register their short-term employment at the Police and Border Guard Board.

Opportunities for finding workforce

The Estonian Unemployment Fund is ready to facilitate connecting the job seekers and employers in Estonia: job offers can be published at web-portal: www.tootukassa.ee , and for finding temporary employment we advise to use the virtual employment fair: toomess.ee/ajutinetookoht (https://www.onlineexpo.com/ee/ajutised-tookohad/).

For advice and assistance, you can contact an employment consultant of your county. Their contacts are available at the website of the Estonian Unemployment Fund.

What happens to those foreign nationals who are staying in Estonia legally but who are unemployed?

Foreign nationals who no longer have employment in Estonia, we recommend returning to their home country as soon as possible. Return is recommended border crossings and transport permitting.

As of June 1, it is possible for unemployed foreigners who have had short-term employment in Estonia, to use the job placement services of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund, if they have the right to continue with short-term employment in Estonia if employment has been found for them. Previously, the employee had to be still employed by their previous employer in order to receive the services of the Unemployment Insurance Fund job placement services.

What happens if a person disregards the order and, at the end of the short-term employment period, the foreign national is working illegally (black market)?

Under the Aliens Act, a foreign national can be fined for violating the conditions of employment in Estonia for an amount up to 300 units, i.e. EUR 1200, or can be arrested. The employer's failure to comply with the conditions of employment of a foreign national in Estonia shall be penalised by a fine of up to EUR 32,000.

I am a foreigner and I work in Estonia. The employer informed me that they would no longer be able to pay me the Estonian average salary, but I am still working full-time. Is it legal and allowed?

In the case of a foreigner whose short-term employment is registered or who has a work-based residence permit, for which the salary criterion applies, then currently the Alien´s Act does not provide a legal basis for reducing the payment. If the work is carried out on a full-time basis, the employer shall be obliged to pay the remuneration corresponding to the conditions laid down in the Alien´s Act, otherwise the employer will infringe the remuneration requirement laid down in the Act. In such a situation, the employee can submit a complaint to the Police and Border Guard Board in writing ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee.

If a foreign national is in Estonia legally and their short-term employment period is over, can they renew their registration with the Police and Boarder Guard Board?

The Police and Border Guard Board re-started registration for short-term employment. Prerequisite for the registration is the legal presence of the foreigner in Estonia, their maximum allowed short-term work period is not yet over, and the employer of the short-term employee is in support of the application. The maximum allowed short-term employment period is 365 days for the period of 455 consecutive days and 270 days for seasonal work for the period of 365 consecutive days. Short-term employment can be registered by the employer at the Police and Border Guard self-service: www.politsei.ee/en.

How long can foreign nationals remain in Estonia if their visa or visa-free stay period is expiring or has expired?

These foreign nationals who are legally staying in Estonia, whose short-term employment period is exhausted or about to be exhausted, may work in Estonia until 31 July 2020 if their employer in the sector of agriculture wishes to employ them.

The employer must register the employment of the foreign national with the Police and Border Guard Board according to the usual procedure.

After 31 July, the foreign worker has until August 31 to organise their departure from Estonia.

Foreign nationals who are legally staying in Estonia with right of stay and work under general conditions later than 31 July 2020 or have a valid residence permit are allowed to work in Estonia after that date.

Those foreign nationals who work under the rules of short-term employment, whose permitted employment period is exhausted or about to be exhausted, and who are not employed in the agricultural sector, cannot continue working in Estonia. In this case, the foreign national must leave Estonia as soon as possible.

 

Consumer rights and business owners’ rights – travelling, events, gift cards, tickets etc

 

Can a food operator ask for guarantees from suppliers regarding virus?

No. A certificate that is supposed to confirm the virus-free status of the product is not justified, as there is no evidence that foods could endanger human health due to the virus. Any requirements to ensure such a certificate are therefore disproportionate and therefore not acceptable.

Can companies that have been closed because of the emergency situation demand that the state compensate for their damages?

The general principle is that the state compensates for unlawful damages, for lawful damages as an exception only if the unfairness to a company is obvious. In an emergency situation, the public and private sectors have a solidary liability. This means that the private sector tolerates legal restrictions that have been imposed on it for the good of the society and to protect the life and health of a big proportion of the population. To understand what preconditions need to be met for the damages to be compensated and by what time the entrepreneur should act, read more on the web page.

How does the emergency situation affect the continuity of contracts in private law relations?

Generally, the performance of a contract is obligatory for the parties. The rules of the contract law, including the obligations regarding the performance of contracts still apply in an emergency situation. The Emergency Act does not allow the state to interfere with private law contracts (e.g. to extend payment deadlines etc.). At the same time, the contract law regulations in force also provide special rules for situations where the performance of a contract is hindered due to force majeure or where the circumstances on the basis of which the contract was concluded or the ratio of the obligations of the contract parties has changed significantly. For more specific information, see the web page of the Ministry of Justice.

I am a pensioner and I bought a washing machine which broke. The company that sold the washing machine refused to send a repairman because of the virus risk. Can the company refuse to provide a service because of the fear of the virus?

Yes, in exceptional circumstances, the company has the right to refuse. During the emergency situation restrictions were in force regarding coming into contact with other persons, therefore the traders´ refusal was understandable.

If the washing machine breaks within 2 years of the purchase, the seller is responsible for non-conformity with the sales contract, and the consumer is entitled to require the repair of the product at that time.

Under normal conditions, the sales contract would have been considered substantially infringed, including when the seller refuses to repair or replace the product without a due reason, or does not do it within a reasonable time period after they had been notified of the non-compliance with the terms of the contract. Same applies to creating unjustified discomfort for the buyer when repairing or replacing the product.

If an seller refuses to repair the washing machine without a reasonable cause, or causes unreasonable discomfort for the buyer by not repairing the washing machine, then it would constitute a significant infringement of the sales contract which gives raises for the buyer to withdraw from the contract. In other words, the consumer can return the product and get a refund.

However, the seller is responsible for the infringement of the obligation, except when the infringement is justified. The infringement of the obligation is justified if the infringement was caused by force majeure. Force majeure is an event that an economic operator could not influence and, on the basis of the principle of reasonableness, this event could not have been taken into account, nor it could have been expected that they could have been aware of it when concluding a contract or a non-contractual obligation, they could not take it into account to do anything to prevent or avoid the situation from arising.

At the time, when the emergency situation had been established, and the government had requested everybody to stay at home and avoid contacts with other people in public places, then this condition could be extended to visiting the home of another person. The trader could not influence the establishment of the emergency situation or restrictions and, on the basis of the principle of reasonableness, it could not expected the company to take into account the restrictions due to the emergency at the time of the conclusion of the contract.

Therefore, if the seller refused to repair the washing machine at the client´s home due to the emergency situation and the resulting restrictions, including the aim of protecting their own health, this is justified due to force majeure.

So the answer is yes, the seller did have the right to refuse to provide the service even if the customer has a right to use the warranty or a lodge a claim, and also due to the related cause, e.g. fear of the virus. Hopefully, the customer can reach a compromise with the trader now, as the emergency situation is over, they can find a mutual satisfactory outcome.

My flight was cancelled, what are my rights?

If the airline cancels the flight, the passenger has the right to a refund (if the flight departed from the EU or a third country, but the flight was operated by an EU carrier). In addition, the passenger is entitled to the assistance and support of the airline, such as providing food or accommodation if the person was not allowed to board the flight and is waiting for the first available replacement flight. It should be taken into account that the offering of a substitution route as soon as possible may not be objectively possible for the airline at the moment.

If a passenger chooses the refund of the ticket or another flight at a later date, then the airline is no longer obliged to provide food or accommodation.

We ask passengers to take into account that, at the moment, airlines face delays in responding to requests and claims. We ask the passengers for their understanding and patience! Further information on the rights of air passengers in the current situation can also be found in the overview published by the European Commission.

My flight and accommodation have been booked separately but I do not wish to travel. What can I do?

Please contact the agent who sold the tickets and accommodation

Another option is to contact the airline or the accommodation provider directly.

You should check whether you can cancel the booking and get a refund.

Please take into account that, due to the current situation, the response of the businesses may be delayed, so customers are asked for their patience and understanding.

Will travel insurance cover the costs caused by the coronavirus?

The terms of the travel insurance depend on the details of the contract, such as which regions you are travelling to, for how long, and whether you have travel interruption insurance. If you have travel insurance you should contact the insurer to find out more exactly what is covered by the insurance and under what conditions.

Does travel insurance even apply in a situation, where the World Health Organisation has declared a global pandemic due to the spread of the coronavirus?

When it comes to travel insurance, it is by nature a voluntary type of insurance. When a contract is signed, the insurer and the insured agree to the conditions (insurance events) for when the insurer has the obligation to perform, i.e. compensate the damages. That is why the insured is not entitled to compensation for any kinds of damages, but just the damages that the two sides have agreed to ahead of time. The insurer’s terms state, which cases are insurance events for the insurers and which are not. In addition, the insurance terms and conditions usually also list exceptions for situations, where an insurance event has happened, but it is caused by an exception stipulated in the conditions, and then the incurred damage is not subject to compensation.

The Estonian Association of Insurance Undertakings (Eesti Kindlustusseltside Liit) has developed good practices for travel insurance, and according to this document, insurers generally do not compensate damages caused by a pandemic/epidemic or by the activities of authorities. Here it does not matter whether the travel insurance was bought before the pandemic was declared or after. Whether your insurer compensates the damages that have incurred depends on that specific insurer. For example, some insurers have notified clients that they will compensate treatment costs, additional accommodation and transport costs related to being quarantined, etc.

If I am still travelling abroad and I have travel insurance, which is still in effect, will my insurer also cover expenses related to the coronavirus outbreak?

This depends on your specific insurer and the terms of your contract. In general, however, insurers do not compensate costs if a person is already travelling in an area, where a quarantine is put into effect, causing the person to not be able to come home on time and incurring extra expenses for that traveller.

I got sick during a trip, will insurance cover my treatment costs?

In order for an insurer to cover costs related to an unexpected illness, you have to have entered into a medical insurance agreement ahead of time. Generally, when you purchase travel insurance, it is a mandatory part of even entering into contract with them, meaning that without medical insurance you usually can’t even get travel insurance.

Insurance companies do cover treatment costs for any viral infections based on the medical insurance, since those kinds of illnesses are always unexpected, and in this context falling ill due to the coronavirus is also considered an insurance event. According to the medical insurance, costs related to treating the coronavirus illness are covered only as long as there is an epidemic declared in that area.

If a person decides to travel to an epidemic area and contracts the coronavirus disease, then the related treatment costs are no longer covered by medical insurance, because this case is considered to be one, where a person knowingly endangers themselves.

The tour operator has not cancelled my package tour, but I do not want to travel. What should I do?

Many tour operators have now cancelled scheduled package travel in the near future, but the situation is rapidly changing. Circumstances change, and trips planned in a few months’ time or after half a year may take place. Therefore, it is not necessary to rush with cancellation of travel plan unless it is for immediate future. It is worth taking some time to calmly assess whether the cancellation is inevitable. If, however, the tour operator has not cancelled the trip planned for near future, it is good to know that the passenger has the right to terminate the package travel contract before the start of the package tour without paying the termination fee, if there are unavoidable and exceptional circumstances affecting the destination or its immediate vicinity which might impact the service provision or transportation of passengers.

Unavoidable and exceptional circumstances may include, for example, military activities, other serious security problems such as terrorism, significant risks to human health, such as the outbreak of a severe disease at the travel destination, or natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, or weather conditions that make it impossible to travel to the destination safely in the manner provided for in the package travel contract. The contract withdrawal application must be submitted to the tour operator before the start of the package tour. We encourage passengers to consider agreeing to flexible options of refund with travel operators. For example, reimbursement of advances may be replaced by a change of the trip to a later date or may be replaced by package travel gift cards that the passenger may use at his own discretion later.

An event is cancelled because of the coronavirus. What will happen to the ticket money?

Besides returning the paid ticket money, the event organiser can offer tickets to alternative events at a later time or gift cards. If the consumer is not happy with those choices, he or she has the right to get their money back. Since the number of cancelled events is so high, we recommend being patient when dealing with these issues.

I want to cancel an advance payment already made for a booking at a children’s play centre. What will happen to that advance payment?

A consumer has the right to get their money back for an advance payment. Also, it is possible to agree to postpone the booking to a later date.

My child cannot attend a hobby class, but I am paying for it. Do I have the right to pay less?

Depends on the terms of a specific contract. For example, if you have agreed that during the contract period, the service provider will have to organise a certain number of training sessions or lessons, but you have not specified the exact dates, the solution may be that the service provider will provide the training sessions or lessons after the situation has normalised. However, if the agreement is such that a fixed number of training sessions or lessons must be provided every month, then the March-April-May training sessions or lessons may be postponed or the fee may be reduced by those training sessions or lessons that are not provided.

If a fee is charged for a service that can be offered in the form of distance learning, then a fee may be charged.

What do I do if a gift card or ticket received as a gift expired during a time when it couldn’t be used due to the restrictions?

If your gift card or ticket expired in a situation, where it couldn’t be used due to a national emergency situation, then the consumer has the right to withdraw from the contract and get back the amount paid for the gift card or ticket. Therefore, we recommend turning to the merchant, who issued the gift card. It’s worth having a look at the merchant’s website, because at the moment many merchants have already posted the necessary information themselves.

Can a trader refuse to refund a gift card if they have offered the customer alternative ways of using the gift card?

If the trader offers an alternative use of the gift card, the consumer is not entitled to withdraw from the contract and to get a refund for the purchase of the card.

For example, if a person cannot use the gift card in a cinema but can use it at the trader's e-shop, then the customer is not entitled to withdraw from the contract (i.e. to demand refund).

Can services also be used later with the same gift card (even if it is expired)?

It is a matter of agreement with the issuer of the gift card, many merchants offer that opportunity themselves. We recommend turning to the merchant that issued the gift card. In case of disputes, the consumer has recourse and access to legal remedies (demand performance of obligations, demand compensation for damages, etc.). These agreements should definitely be entered into in writing.

What should I do if I ordered a service, for example, event organisation, but I now want to withdraw from the agreement?

First, we recommend contacting the service provider. If the consumer has already paid an advance to the service provider and then wants to cancel the service, the service provider has the right to deduct the cost of services already rendered from the advance payment, but must return the rest of the sum to the consumer. However, if the consumer has not made an advance payment, yet wants to cancel the service, the service provider has the right to demand a reasonable compensation from the consumer for expenses already incurred. The burden of proving whether and which costs the service provider has already incurred is on the service provider.

Do I have to make the monthly payments on my loan and/or lease while I am on mandatory, unpaid leave?

Yes, you do. In consumer credit contracts, force majeure is not an impediment to fulfilling your financial obligations. If there are foreseeable losses in income, you should definitely get in touch with the service provider as soon as possible. For example, some banks offer grace periods.

The deadline for submitting a complaint is approaching. What should I do?

We advise contacting the trader by e-mail. The complaint should include the consumer’s first and last name, when the goods were purchased, which unconformities were detected, and what is the consumer’s claim. In the letter sent to the trader, the consumer should also note that the goods will be returned to the trader as soon as possible, i.e. make sure that an arrangement has been reached between the parties.

Do shops have to have only regular cash registers open or can a merchant enable the use of self-service checkouts only due to the current situation?

The consumer must have the opportunity to pay in cash as well. Generally, the self-service checkouts also have a service representative nearby, who helps and teaches the buyer how to use the self-service checkout.

 

About the coronavirus and how it spreads

 

Can a person become ill when coming into contact with food which has been handled by a person infected with COVID-19?

It is highly unlikely that a person would contract COVID-19 from handling food. In addition, according to the European Food Safety Authority there is no evidence that food products could be a source of a virus or a way to transmit the virus.

As with all other contact surfaces that have been contaminated as a result of exposure to a sick person, it is theoretically possible that foods can also lead indirectly to an infection when in contact with food. Therefore, it is important for everyone to follow the advice of the Health Board when washing hands.

Staff who handles food (for example, slice meat, dairy products, clean fish, package fruit and vegetables) must wear gloves and change them often, or wash their hands often.

Clients should bear in mind not to touch food in stores which they do not intent to purchase. This would help preventing contamination of food with possible pathogens on the hands.

Can an animal be infected with COVID-10 through food?

As with human food, there is no information regarding the transmission if COVID-19 virus via pet food. This also applies to feed for farmed animals. It is highly unlikely that, when handling animal feed, it would be possible to be infected with COVID-19 virus agent.

Can the virus spread from dead people as well?

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) there is no evidence that anybody has caught the infection from a dead person.

There still might be a certain risk of infection in coming into contact with the bodily fluids of a dead person who had the coronavirus. Therefore, it is better to avoid any kind of contact with a dead person who had given a positive coronavirus sample.

Can coronavirus spread with food?

According to research, coronavirus cannot be transmitted with food, therefore it is not likely food would spread the virus. Coronaviruses need a host body, an animal or a human to survive and multiply.

Can people contract coronavirus from their pets?

According to current knowledge, animals do not transmit infections to humans and therefore it is safe for animal keepers to care for them: feed them, treat them, etc. Thousands of pets have been tested around the world, and only in three cases the genetic residue of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing agent have been found in the samples taken from the pets of coronavirus patients. For none of the cases it can be confirmed that a disease in an animal was caused by coronavirus. Based on current knowledge, we can state that the virus residue found in the animal was caused by environmental contamination (the animal’s organism is like any other surface on which the virus deposits).

During the crisis it is also important to pay attention to animal welfare, and animals cannot be neglected.

How did the outbreak begin?

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is most likely of animal origin, but studies are still ongoing to confirm the source and transmission methods.

How does COVID-19 differ from influenza?

In addition to the spread of the coronavirus, this is also the flu season. Therefore it is very important to be able to distinguish between coronavirus (COVID-19) and influenza. Although there are still very many unknown factors regarding COVID-19, two main aspects of the disease can be compared.

Symptoms The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have listed the main disease symptoms:

  • Flu - fever, cough, sore throat, muscle pain, headache, runny or blocked nose, fatigue, sometimes vomiting or diarrhoea.
  • Coronavirus – fever, cough, breathing difficulties.

The flu symptoms have a sudden onset. Most patients recover within less than two weeks. In some patients (e.g. in the USA during this season, 1% of patients) flu may cause serious complications, including pneumonia. The prevalence of flu is very similar every year.

COVID-19 symptoms have not been completely understood. It is also not yet known how serious these symptoms can be or how many people infected with COVID-19 virus have only very mild symptoms or none at all. Most cases of COVID-19 infection are not serious.

Virus spread Coronavirus is more infectious than influenza. Each person infected with the COVID-19 virus infects an average of 2.2 people. At the same time, every person infected with the influenza virus infects an average of 1.3 healthy people.

Morbidity In case of coronavirus or influenza infection, people aged over 60 with weakened immune system and/or chronic diseases are at the highest risk. Co-morbidity increases the disease risk. Influenza is much more dangerous for children, especially very young children who can fall severely ill. Children infected with coronavirus usually have mild symptoms or do not have any symptoms.

Influenza is particularly dangerous for pregnant women who can get severely ill. It is not known whether COVID-19 presents a serious risk to pregnant women.

Among COVID-19 patients, 83-98% develop fever, 76-82% dry cough and 11-44% fatigue or muscle pain. Less common COVID-19 symptoms are headache, throat pain, abdominal pain and diarrhoea. According to the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 81% of COVID-19 cases were mild (including cases without symptoms), 14% moderate-to-severe and 5% critical. In critical cases, patients experienced respiratory failure, septic shock and multiple organ dysfunction or failure. There are indications that during the second week of the disease the condition may deteriorate and therefore people must closely monitor their condition and remain at home throughout the duration of the disease.

Mortality COVID-19 mortality varies from region to region and depends on age and other factors. According to the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the death rate in Hubei province of COVID-19 was 2.9%, in other Chinese provinces 0.4%. The most vulnerable were the elderly, the mortality rate among over 80s was 15%, aged 70-79 8%, aged 60-69 4%, aged 50-59 1%, aged 40-49 0.4%, aged 10-39 0.2%, and no deaths were observed among children younger than 9. Although COVID-19 mortality is not exactly known, most studies show that it is higher than the influenza mortality.

Treatment The mortality of influenza would be higher if there were no treatment and vaccination. For the treatment of influenza, there are several prescription medications that have a good impact if they are taken within one or two days of the onset of symptoms. There are also medicines that are given to prevent flu for people who have been in contact with the virus carrier. In addition, there are widely available vaccines against influenza that generate a certain level of immunity.

No specific treatment or any approved antiviral medicine (some are being tested) exists yet for COVID-19. Doctors can therefore recommend the usual measures: rest, take medicines to reduce pain and fever, and consume fluids to prevent dehydration. There is no vaccine against COVID-19 yet.

Prevention The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you should wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds to prevent any flu-like viruses, including COVID-19, avoid contact with your face if hands are unwashed, avoid contacts with sick people, stay at home in the case of illness, and disinfect surfaces and objects you touch daily.

Seasonality In the case of influenza, a pattern is observed that the spread of the disease decreases in the spring and returns in the autumn when the weather gets colder. It is not known whether and how the weather affects the COVID-19 virus. Even if the spread of the COVID-19 virus declines in the spring, it may return in the autumn.

How serious is the disease COVID-19, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

COVID-19 symptoms are non-specific and their severity can vary. The disease may not always produce symptoms, but it may also lead to severe pneumonia, which for those belonging to the risk groups in the worst case can also end in death.

The most common symptoms include :

  • fever (89,9%),
  • dry cough (67,7%),
  • fatigue (38.1%),
  • mucus (33,4%),
  • difficulty breathing (18,6%),
  • sore throat (13,9%),
  • headache (13,6%),
  • muscle and joint pain (14,8%),
  • cramps (11,4%),
  • nausea and vomiting (5.0%),
  • congested nose (4,8%),
  • diarrhea (3,7%),
  • coughing blood (0,9%),
  • irritated conjunctiva (0.8%).

 For most people who contract the coronavirus, the disease passes without complications and they get well.  

Reminder - the risk group for this virus includes the elderly as well as people with chronic disease, who often experience the more severe forms of the disease. 

Why do we need to take special care to protect elderly people and people with chronic diseases?

Coronavirus infection can be more severe in people over 60 years of age or in people with chronic conditions. Their body may be weaker due to a decline in the function of the immune system and the disease may turn out to be more severe if such a person is infected.

Examples of chronic diseases include diabetes, heart failure, high blood pressure, tumours, asthma and other chronic pulmonary diseases, chronic kidney and liver diseases, and immunodeficiency.

Coronavirus spreads from person to person via droplets, mainly in close contact with a sick person. Given the weaker immunity of the elderly and people with chronic conditions, and the main way in which the virus is spread, it is essential to avoid contact with these groups of people as much as possible.

Furthermore, it is not advisable to take your healthy children to their grandparents, because if the children should fall ill, the grandparents are at high risk.

Are pregnant women a corona virus risk group?

According to current knowledge, pregnant women do not have a greater risk of getting infected with the corona virus than others and when they do get infected they do not suffer more severely. There is also no proof that the virus would go from the mother to her child before or during birth. Pregnant women should follow the same instructions as others, both to avoid getting infected and if they do get infected.

Does the corona virus spread through ventilation systems?

The corona virus does not spread though the ventilation system of an apartment building. Most infections happen through close contact by way of droplet infection when the droplets land on another person’s mucous membrane, i.e. in the nose, mouth or eyes. Infection can also happen from surfaces contaminated with the droplets. For instance, you can get infected by touching a door handle and then your face.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), currently there is not enough reliable evidence that the infection can spread through ventilation systems.

According to Hans Orru, the Associate Professor in Environmental Health at the University of Tartu, the amount of virus particles inhaled is also important. In order to get the necessary amount, there must be a close contact with a sick person or one must be in a small closed room with a sick person. An amount that could carry through the ventilation systems from the neighbours is not enough in a normal situation.

It is still always important to guarantee adequate air exchange in rooms to reduce the amount of virus particles in the rooms of both sick and healthy people. For this we recommend:

  • To air your living spaces regularly
  • In public spaces, to guarantee a good round-the-clock air exchange that would not allow the virus particles and contaminants to accumulate.

The corona virus is capable of attaching itself to aerosols but their amount in air decreases relatively quickly. According to a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, in three hours a sixth of SARS-CoV-2 virus particles remain.

Can I order postal packages from foreign countries or is this a way to get infected?

The novel corona virus COVID-19 does not spread with goods coming from foreign countries so it is safe to accept and open postal packages ordered from foreign countries without fear of getting infected.

 

Agriculture and rural life

 

What kind of support measures are available for the agricultural and fishing sector in the EU?

Common Agricultural Policy

A derogation has been granted, according to which advance payments for direct payments under the Common Agricultural Policy may be made to beneficiaries for up to 70% (the rule is up to 50%) in 2020 and advance payments for area and animal-based rural development support for up to 85% (the rule is up to 75%).

A derogation has also been granted for 2020, according to which advance payments of direct payments can be made after completion of the required administrative checks, but before completion of the on-the-spot checks Under the rules, the advance payments of direct payments can only be made after the administrative and on-the-spot checks have been completed. Advance payments for area and animal-based rural development support can be made after administrative checks have been completed, but before the on-the-spot checks have been completed, in accordance with the rules already in force.

The control provisions of the common agricultural policy support have been relaxed for 2020. For example, it is possible to replace the physical checks required for area-based payments, in particular on-the-spot checks, with a review of orthophotos or other relevant evidence; to make the required on-the-spot checks for animal-based payments at any time; to reduce the sampe size of annual on-the-spot checks for area-based payments (from at least 5% to 3%); replace the required control visits and on-the-spot checks for other rural development support (not area or animal-based) with appropriate evidence provided by the beneficiaries themselves (e.g. geo-tagged photos) and to reduce the control samples for annual on-the-spot checks and follow-up checks for non-area and animal-based rural development support (from at least 5% to at least 3% and from at least 1% to at least 0.6%, respectively).

Common Fisheries Policy

The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) can as of February 1 until the end of a year, as a temporary measure, provided the eligibility criteria have been met, compensate for losses caused by a reduction in sales revenues to aquaculture establishments and small-and medium sized enterprises engaged in fish processing, and for losses caused by a loss of income for professional fishing companies that have been engaged in fishing for at least 120 days in 2018 and 2019, in the event of temporary suspension of fishing activities.

In addition, it will be possible to compensate for producer organisations for the costs associated with the storage of fish in 2020 if the produce cannot be sold. Amendments to the EMFF Regulation also allow Member States to implement the EMFF budget in a more flexible manner.

If I get state support due to the reduction of employment or loss of employment in the emergency situation, can I do some seasonal agricultural work? If yes, will I still get my benefits?

If you get employment compensation from the Estonian Unemployment Fund because of reduced employment or reduced income, you can work at the same time for another employer, such as an agricultural business.

If you have lost your work and you have been registered as unemployed , and you receive unemployment insurance benefit or an unemployment benefit, then based on the rules currently in force, you cannot work at the same time.

Additional information, please contact tth[at]tuotukassa[dot]ee or 15501.

What kind of assistance is provided to farmers?

200 Million euros are allocated through the Estonian Rural Development Foundation to mitigate the economic impact on farmers:

  • loan guarantees to the agricultural and food sector and for loans already granted to farmers (a total budget of 50 million euros).
  • revolving business loan to companies operating in rural areas to overcome liquidity problems caused by the outbreak of coronavirus (total budget of 100 million euros).
  • land capital support for owners of agricultural land for sale-and-leaseback transactions to overcome liquidity problems caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (a total budget of 50 million euros).

The support measures will be likely to become available from early May. More information about the Estonian Rural Development Foundation can be found on their homepage.

The budget for support measures for the farmer's replacement service to cover a period of absence, is increased by 0.5 Million euros to ensure that producers will be replaced if the virus spreads. In addition to livestock farmers, also the crop sector is added. This measure is under development.

 

Prevention measures, cleaning surfaces, disinfectants

 

Is it possible to reduce the potential risk associated with COVID-19 virus due to food eaten at home?

Yes. It is very important to wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after entering the store, as it protects both you and others. You also need to wash your hands before you start making food and also after the food is made.

Store your foods properly (avoid any contact between foods consumed raw and food requiring heat treatment), discard the outer packaging before storage (for example, a paper packaging, if there is also a plastic inner packaging), while taking note of important information such as the best before date. Fruit and vegetables must be washed regularly with clean water, especially if they are not heat-treated (COVID-19 does not survive heat treatment).

Food contamination should be avoided through kitchen utensils (knives, plates, etc.), wash your dishes carefully before coming into contact with different food items.

The instructions for heat treatment (time, temperature) should be followed for foods that are to be eaten after heat treatment.

The refrigerator and kitchen area should be cleaned thoroughly and more often than usual.

How is veterinary supervision carried out?

The Veterinary and Food Board has, as far as possible, postponed all planned supervision activities requiring on-the-spot checks.

Work continues as usual at meat proceeding plants and at border inspection points. Contactless monitoring is carried out more extensively than before (provision of documents, video and photo materials, e-platforms for food producers, etc.). For purposes of ongoing trade, certificates are issued by county veterinary centres.

Customers are contacted by phone and post, using electronic channels to protect both employees and customers. The exception is needs-based controls and response to risk notifications.

The Veterinary and Food Board requests all clients to use electronic channels as much as possible.

  • Data and applications can be submitted to the national alcohol register and to the commercial fishing register.
  • Applications for export certificates can be submitted to the client portal of the Ministry of Rural Affairs.

The Agency is ready to respond to emergency situations such as animal disease, food-borne outbreaks and animal abuse.

The Veterinary and Food Laboratory will continue carrying out laboratory tests on animal diseases and verifications on food compliance requirements.

  • this means that all the samples delivered to the laboratory will be analysed.
  • organ and blood samples taken by hunters, and samples taken by the animal keepers will be accepted and analysed for animal diseases.

What should the food processing companies bear in mind regarding the coronavirus?

In order to prevent the coronavirus:

  1. Avoid close contacts.
  2. Follow safe food management practices
  3. Clean and disinfect surfaces,
  4. Ensure proper hygiene and
  5. Comply with normal cleaning and ventilation requirements.

To protect your employees, monitor their health status.

  • If possible, recommend that employees keep at least 2 metres distance from each other.
  • Minimise the exposure of employees belonging to risk groups to other employees.
  • In case of risk of infection, clean and disinfect the company premises to prevent the spread of the disease among employees.

Create plenty of opportunities for employees to disinfect and wash their hands.

  • Hands should be washed with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds and at least every 2 hours.
  • Hands should be washed and sanitised before and after the use of rubber gloves.
  • Disinfectants must be in a visible place and easily accessible for the employees.

Wash the working clothes (including textile gloves) after each shift, if possible

  • Wash the clothes at the highest temperature allowed for the fabric.
  • Clean the footwear after each shift.
  • Use disposable working clothes, if possible.

More information can be found on the website of the Veterinary and Food Board. https://vet.agri.ee/et/ennetustoo/covid-19/juhised-toidukaitlejatele-seoses-koroonaviirusega/juhised-toidutootjatele-seoses

What should animal keepers know regarding the coronavirus?

After contact with animals, hands need to be washed with soap and water. Complying with elementary hygiene requirements also helps to protect from different regular bacteria, like E.coli and salmonella, that can transfer from animals to humans.

An employee of a meat processing company, a veterinary carrying out checks of animals and food in the market, a market employee and an employee working with live animals on a farm and processing animal products should, in addition to frequent hand washing, turn additional attention to the following:

  • Work clothing and gloves should be used when handling animals and fresh meat.
  • The equipment used and the work station should be regularly disinfected (at least once a day).
  • Protective clothing should be removed and washed at the end of work. It is recommended that the work clothes/protective clothes and other work equipment be kept at the place of work and washed on site.

More information on the web page of the Veterinary and Food Board.

Do I need to clean, and how should I clean goods and packages purchased from a store?

If you have bought berries, vegetables and fruit from the store, they must be washed properly with warm water. The use of soap or dishwasher liquid is not recommended. Plastic packaging can be washed with soap water or cleaned with a disinfectant, and paper containers can be disinfected.

Coronavirus transmits with human-to-human contacts as droplet infection, mainly through close contact with an infected person who has infection symptoms: in particular - fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. The virus remains active on contaminated surfaces for up to 72 hours. It is therefore important to prevent contamination and, if necessary, to clean and disinfect surfaces which might have been exposed to the virus.

According to research, coronavirus cannot be transmitted with food. Coronaviruses need a host body, an animal or a human to survive and multiply.

What kind of settings should be used for operating a building´s ventilation system currently?

In non-residential premises and social welfare institutions, the ventilation system must not be switched off even if the building is not in use.

The ventilation system must also operate at evenings and weekends at with either design capacity or normal daily regime (100%) or reduced capacity (at least 40%). The ventilation system operating with reduced capacity must be switched to the design capacity regime at least two hours before the building or part of the building will be used.

Circulating air ventilation systems are in use in storehouses and shopping centres. They must be fully switched onto the external air injection to avoid possible virus circulation through the ventilation system.

In other ventilation systems, the air injection and extraction settings must be reviewed so that the system sends the air exhaust out without recirculating it.

If the building does not have an air conditioning and ventilation system that guarantees suitable indoor climate, the rooms must be actively aired. This should be done at least once an hour and within 15 minutes before people arrive.

Room capacity-based circulating cooling or heating device (for example: fan-coil, split device) need to be switched off unless it is necessary to ensure a certain temperature in the room or when the device cannot be switched off.

In this case, continuous air flow through the device must be ensured. If the fan coil (heating device with a ventilator) is operational, the settings must be changed so that the fan would not turn off. This way the virus does not accumulate in the filter.

Should apartment associations disinfect surfaces in common use, like handrails of the hall staircases and elevator buttons?

The Health Board recommends disinfecting the door handles, handrails, elevator buttons etc. of apartment buildings at least once a day. Viruses are destroyed by a disinfectant that contains at least 70% ethanol.

Hallways have to be cleaned with water and water-absorbent cloth because cleaning dust with a dry brush will not get rid of the virus. When cleaning it is important to use disposable gloves and easy-to-clean working clothes and footwear in order to protect yourself from chemical cleaning agents and contamination on surfaces.

If possible, the apartment associations could provide hand-sanitisers near entrances and lifts. You should, however, definitely remember to wash your hands thoroughly after coming home. You can find more recommendations from the guidelines of the Health Board (in Estonian).

Would airing the rooms help to prevent the transmission of the infection?

Coronavirus is transmitted as droplet infection. Based on current information, we cannot dismiss the possibility of coronavirus transmission though aerosolization as airborne fine particles.

Airing the rooms to reduce the transmission is important.

When should I wash my hands?

You should wash your hands:

  • before starting work;
  • before handling hot or cooked food;
  • after handling or cooking hot food;
  • after handling waste;
  • after cleaning up;
  • after using the toilet;
  • after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing;
  • after eating, drinking or smoking;
  • after handling cash.

How can service providers protect their employees and customers?

Employees must follow the usual measures for the prevention of respiratory infections:

  • When sneezing or coughing cover the mouth and nose with a tissue or sneeze/ cough into your sleeve. The tissue should be thrown into a bin.

  • Clean hands with soap and water or a hand-sanitizer containing alcohol (especially after sneezing or coughing). In businesses, disinfectants must be available for both customers and employees.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth. Disease can spread through unwashed hands.

How do we prevent the spread of COVID-19 in shops?

  • Avoid meeting in shopping centres.
  • If possible record a message and play it over your public announcement systems telling people to keep a distance of at least 2 metres from each other, including in queues for the tills, and to touch things as little as possible in shops.
  • Clean self-service points and tills, and shopping trolleys and baskets, weighing scales and so on more frequently than you normally would. Clean self-service points and tills with touch-screens every time they are used if possible.
  • If you can offer online shopping, encourage people to use it.
  • Organise your tills so that your clients can keep at least 2 metres apart from each other and from the client service staff.

How do prevent the spread of the coronavirus in shopping centres, stores, and catering establishments?

In stores and catering establishments it is recommended to:

  • avoid physical contact when handing over receipts and cash;
  • sell ready-made foods (e.g. pastries, sausages, candy, cookies, nuts or salad) only pre-packaged and, if possible, also pre-package the loose ready-made food sold at self-service deli counters. Ready-made food must be packaged in a separate room or 2 metres away from where customers are moving around. Single use packaging (e.g. coffee cups) cannot be freely available to customers;
  • follow the regular food-handling rules and ensure that all employees that handle the food have passed the training on food-handling;
  • not organize product presentations, including food tastings;
  • clean and disinfect more often than usual all the surfaces that are frequently touched and come into contact with food;
  • ensure that all persons who are providing services on site (e.g. people who are installing or repairing equipment) have the possibility to wash and disinfect their hands;
  • clean and air the premises according to the regular schedule. The use of cleaning products and the cleaning schedule have to be based on the user instructions of the cleaning product;
  • store the waste (including personal protective equipment) that might be contaminated with the virus separately from other waste and keep it in a closed bag. In 72 hours it can be thrown in the municipal waste container.

See the instructions.

Can 80% vodka be used in a spray bottle for disinfecting hands?

No. In addition to alcohol there are other components that make the disinfectant effective, either slowing down the evaporation of the product from the surface or improving the surface wetting properties. This achieves the one minute contact time necessary for the antiviral effect. Ethanol alone might not kill the bacteria or the virus because it evaporates too quickly. Using ethanol as a disinfectant might reduce the activeness of the infectious agent but might also create an ethanol-resistant infection agent as a result. In sum it can be said that unregistered and non-verified disinfectants might not have actual disinfecting properties and thus might not protect their user.

To prevent the spread of disease it has been recommended to also air office spaces. How to clean the air when the office has general ventilation and the windows cannot be opened?

If it is not possible to air the rooms, surfaces should be regularly cleaned with disinfectant. The corona virus does not spread through the ventilation system but mainly by a close contact with a person suspected to be infected who has symptoms characteristic to the disease, mainly a cough.

The precondition to the spread of the virus is close contact with the bodily fluids (blood, excrements, urine, spit, sperm) of an infected person. When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, sneezes or speaks, droplets containing the virus end up in the air. These virus droplets are quite heavy and therefore do not travel very far in the air. According to what we have learned thus far they can travel 2 meters at the maximum. Because of their heaviness it is also not probable that air flow would make the droplets travel further from surfaces.

The life span of virus droplets on surfaces depends on the air temperature and average humidity of the surrounding environment. At room temperature, or 22-25 degrees and 40% relative humidity, the virus survives up to 4 or 5 days. The higher the temperature and relative humidity, the faster the virus is destroyed.

An effective way to destroy the corona virus from surfaces is using different biocides or antimicrobial solutions. One of the most common ones is ethanol. A solution containing 70% ethanol is adequate for cleaning surfaces of COVID-19 contamination.

 

Enterprise Estonia (EAS)

 

In what language can I submit an application? Can I do it in Russian or English as well?

Generally the submission of applications is done in Estonian at the e-service of Enterprise Estonia. The substantive descriptions of the applications for support to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 can also be submitted in Russian and English.

The contact information of the applicant and the project name must still be filled out in Estonian when submitting an application. The activities and results of the project can be described in English or Russian, if necessary. To make things easier, we have translated the sample application forms into Russian and English. You can find them on the web page of the relevant support.

Information on all COVID-19 supports has been gathered here: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/. You can find the sample of the needed application form on the web page of the support that is of interest to you.

When will the support be paid out?

After the application is submitted, it will be analyzed and a decision to approve or deny will be drafted. A support connected to the crisis assistance measure will be paid by the State Treasury after the decision to approve has been made. This takes up to ten working days. In the case of measures connected to regular supports, the money is generally paid out after the statements have been approved.

The conditions of paying out the support are determined by the regulation of the measure.

How many times you can apply for crisis support?

You can apply for support once. There are several crises support measures (e.g. partial compensation for losses in tourism sector for small enterprises), but the entrepreneur can apply for only one of them. You can find a suitable support scheme and submit an application here.

Where can I find the support for micro- and small enterprises?

Micro- and small enterprises have the possibility to apply for a support for partial compensation of a small entrepreneur’s damages as a COVID-19 crisis support. The support is for micro enterprises whose 2019 turnover was at least €20,000 and at most €100,000.

Find out about the support conditions at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19/?lang=en

What are the support mechanisms for tourism enterprises?

The support for partial compensation of damages caused by the COVID-19 outbreak to the tourism sector enterprises, in the total sum of 25 million Euros, is directed at the target groups that were most affected and hurt by the crisis and whose business activities have stopped or been significantly damaged due to the suspension of travel. These are hospitality entrepreneurs, catering entrepreneurs, touring entrepreneurs, managers of permanent attractions and providers of tourism services.

Additionally, it is possible to apply for support to develop tourism business models.

See more at https://www.eas.ee/covid-19/?lang=en

I wish to apply for compensation of COVID-19 damages to a hospitality enterprise. What do I need for that?

You can find more information on the support mechanism for compensating damages to hospitality entrepreneurs at: https://www.eas.ee/teenus/covid-majutus/.

Additionally, a tourism service provider that has been hurt by the COVID-19 virus outbreak has the possibility to apply for support for developing its business model in order to adjust to the new circumstances. Read more at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/.

I wish to apply for compensation of COVID-19 damages as a catering enterprise. What do I need for that?

You can find more information on the support mechanism for compensating damages to catering entrepreneurs at: https://www.eas.ee/teenus/covid-majutus/.

Additionally, a tourism service provider that has been hurt by the COVID-19 virus outbreak has the possibility to apply for support for developing its business model in order to adjust to the new circumstances. Read more at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/.

Where can I find the support for tour operators?

You can find more information on the support mechanism for compensating damages to tour operators at: https://www.eas.ee/teenus/covid-reisiettevote/.

Additionally, a tourism service provider that has been hurt by the COVID-19 virus outbreak has the possibility to apply for support for developing its business model in order to adjust to the new circumstances. Read more at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/.

Does a tourism attraction that is not an enterprise get support from Enterprise Estonia?

You can find more information on the support mechanism for compensating damages to tour operators at: https://www.eas.ee/teenus/covid-turismiatraktsioon/.

Additionally, a tourism service provider that has been hurt by the COVID-19 virus outbreak has the possibility to apply for support for developing its business model in order to adjust to the new circumstances. Read more at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/.

What kind of an enterprise gets the tourism service provider support?

You can find more information on the support mechanism for compensating damages to tourism service providers at: https://www.eas.ee/teenus/covid-turismi-teenuse-pakkuja/.

Additionally, a tourism service provider that has been hurt by the COVID-19 virus outbreak has the possibility to apply for support for developing its business model in order to adjust to the new circumstances. Read more at: https://www.eas.ee/covid-19-toetused/.

 

Open and closed cultural establishments

 

Is it possible to organise events this summer?

As of Friday, June 19, the government decided to replace the 2+2 rule with a requirement for dispersion. This means that people need to keep a safe distance from each other.

The requirement for dispersion replaces the current 2+2 rule everywhere in the public space. Instead, people must keep distance from other people during public events, public meetings, as well as at sports events, museums and exhibitions, etc.

The government also decided to restore the activities of nightclubs, water-pipe cafes, and adult clubs as of 1 July. They may open on condition that the owner ensures the sufficient dispersion of people, allowing for maximum 50 percent of the capacity of premises, and no more than 100 persons attending persons, and observance of disinfection requirements.

The order only concerns the easing of the 2+2 rule, all other requirements for the number of participants, use of the capacity of the premises, disinfectants and other requirements remain valid.

 

Dental care

 

Are dentist receiving patients for planned treatments? What are the rules for dental care?

As of April 21, scheduled dental treatments are allowed again, many dental clinics have started making new appointments. The rules established due the emergency situation are still in force to prevent the spread of the infection.

When you arrive at the clinic, you must disinfect your hands, your temperature will be taken (using a contactless method), and you must also complete the COVID-19 health declaration.

If you have any signs of respiratory disease (cough, runny nose) and/or fever, you will not be able to go to the treatment.

Come to the appointment alone and on time, if possible. One person may accompany an underage patient or a person needing attendance. If you arrive earlier, you may be asked to wait outside the clinic, keeping the distance of at least 2-metres from other clients.

It is very important to use all the necessary precautions in the dental office, as the procedures result in continuous aerosol cloud covering all items within a radius of up to five metres. In such an environment, the risk of spreading infection is very high and the safety measures are stricter.

In case of acute dental pain, first consult your dentist, who can advise you by phone and, if necessary, prescribe medication or provide emergency treatment, if possible. You have the opportunity to contact the dental clinics who have a contract with the Estonian Health Insurance Fund for free emergency dental treatment - contacts can be found on the Health Insurance Fund webpage. Registration for appointments is necessary to ensure safety.

 

General practitioners’ work, prescriptions

 

How can a foreigner get health advice in English if they do not have a family doctor in Estonia?

The family doctor's consultation hotline 1220 (landline +372 6346 630) offers advice in case of ordinary health problems, instructions for first aid, and information on health care organisation in Estonian, English, and Russian. English language service is available every day from 3pm to 5pm.

Due to the current situation, when calling the hotline number 1220, the usual charge of 30 cents per minute is not added.

Where should a foreigner who does not have a family doctor in Estonia turn to for a corona test?

A foreigner staying in Estonia, as well as everyone else who does not have a family doctor needs to turn to the closest family medicine centre. The family doctor there will then decide whether a corona test is necessary or not.

Turning to a doctor with acute symptoms of any respiratory disease has been equated with emergency care and this is paid for by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

I have tried contacting my family physician/specialist physician for renewing my prescription, but I cannot get hold of them. What should I do?

Your first contact for any health problems is your family physician, they can also renew most of the prescriptions prescribed by specialists physicians.

Please pay attention to the working hours of the clinic before calling, and be patient.

The phonelines might be busier than usual because a lot of people are ill – in addition to coronavirus, also other seasonal viruses are affecting people.

Some family physicians accept new prescription or prescription renewal requests by e-mail.

NB! Please do not delay your prescription request until your medication runs out – better renew the prescription a week or two early.

How is medical care guaranteed to people without health insurance?

During the emergency situation, treatment for the virus is considered emergency care to which uninsured persons are entitled during regular times as well (emergency room, ambulance). If an uninsured person suspects that she might be infected, she can contact the nearest family health centre by phone. From there, a person is sent to testing, if necessary, and is given instructions on how to act upon her health concerns. An invoice is presented to the Estonian Health Insurance Fund and the person does not have to pay the fee herself. You can find more info on how to get health insurance from here.

 

Certificates for care leave

 

If I have mild symptoms of respiratory disease, do I have to stay home for 14 days?

If you have mild smptoms of respiratory disease:

  • wash your hands carefully;
  • if possible, stay home until you have recovered;
  • monitor your health;
  • do not got to the emergency room.

If you get symptoms indicating to the coronavirus (cough, fever, difficulty in breathing etc.):

  • consult your family doctor by phone or call the family doctor helpline 1220. Before calling your family doctor, check her working hours and try to find patience. The phone lines might be busier than usual as there are many patients -- in addition to the coronavirus, there are seasonal viruses going around as well.
  • if your condition is serious (e.g. difficulties in breathing) call an ambulance by calling 112.

During the emergency situation, people were given the opportunity to use the patient portal digilugu.ee to apply for a certificate for sick leave or care leave to be opened. After the end of the emergency situation, i.e. May 18, a certificate for sick leave can be opened only by going to a doctor i.e. if you get sick or start to care for a sick family member, you need to contact your family doctor in order to receive a certificate for sick leave or care leave.

 

Symptoms, suspected infection and monitoring health

 

If I live with a person who has fever and cough, but who has not been tested, should I stay home for 14 days? Can I get the incapacity to work certificate from the doctor on medical grounds?

Monitor your health and consult your employer as to whether it is possible to work remotely. Keep away from other people while complying with all the hygiene rules.

If you have no health complaints, and you have not been in contact with an infected person, your doctor has no reason to give you sick leave.

However, exposure to an infected person is treated equally as disease. Your doctor can give you

  • medical incapacity certificate if you have been in contact with a person diagnosed with the coronavirus,
  • care leave if your child has been in contact with a person diagnosed with the coronavirus.

As of May 18th you can no longer use the opportunity available during the emergency period to use digilugu.ee website to apply for the medical incapacity to work certificate.

NB! The medical leave or care leave certificate can be issued by your doctor only if your employer has officially registered your employment and you have a valid health insurance.

Do I have to stay home for 14 days if I came into contact with a person who had a fever and was coughing while at work?

You have to stay at home if you came into contact with an infected person or you are symptomatic (you have a cough, trouble breathing or a fever).

If your colleague gets symptoms that indicate an acute respiratory infection, including the coronavirus, he has to go home immediately and contact his family doctor who organizes his testing for the coronavirus, should it be necessary.

If your colleague's corona test results were positive, the employer has to establish his immediate contacts. If you are among these, you have to stay home for 14 days and monitor your health. As contact with an infected person is considered equivalent to getting infected, the doctor can issue you a certificate for sick leave.

You can register for a certificate for sick leave at the patient portal digilugu.ee. The family doctor confirms the need for a certificate for sick leave. If it turns out that there is no basis for getting a certificate for sick leave after all, you will not be paid the sickness benefit. For instance, the doctor has no reason to give a certificate for sick leave if you are in good health and you have not come into contact with anybody who has the coronavirus.

There is a rumour spreading in South-Estonia about drinking ether as protection against the coronavirus. Is there any truth in it?

None whatsoever. Ether is a liquid which induces intoxication and consuming just 30ml can cause serious damage to your health, 60ml may prove fatal.

How to avoid contracting the coronavirus and what to do in case of suspected infection?

  • Wash your hands with soap under running water, alcohol-based hand disinfectants should be used, if necessary.

  • Avoid contact. Keep a distance of at least 2 metres with people, who are coughing or sneezing. If you stand too close to a person with symptoms of the disease, you may contract the disease yourself. 

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.   If you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth with contaminated hands, it is possible that the virus will be transmitted to you as well. 

  • Monitor your health and stay at home. If you have a fever, cough or breathing difficulties, seek help early. Call your family doctor of the GP hotline at 1220 (in the current situation the call is free of charge).  

  • If you have mild symptoms of a respiratory disease, carefully observe the regular hand hygiene guidelines and, stay at home until you have recovered.

  • If you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a single use tissue. Throw it into the bin immediately after, and then clean your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (the inside of your elbow), but do not use your bare hand.  

  • Covering your mouth and nose helps prevent spreading the virus. If you sneeze into a bare hand, you might transfer the contamination and viruses to others as well as to objects that you touch.  

How can I protect my employees from the infection?

  • Monitor the health of your staff. Send home any staff who have the symptoms listed above and give them instructions to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • Any member of staff who has come into contact with an infected person must monitor their own health, and if symptoms appear, they should remain at home for 14 days and follow the self-isolation guidelines.
  • Keep a minimum of two-metre distance from all customers.
  • Arrange for your staff a possibility to wash their hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, at least once every two hours.
  • If it is not possible to wash hands, they should disinfect their hands with antiseptic handwash with a minimum 70% ethanol content, if possible. Hands that are visibly dirty must certainly be washed.
  • Recommend that staff who come into contact with customers to wear rubber gloves as well as textile gloves. Hands should be disinfected before gloves are put on and after they are taken off. When taking gloves off, pinch the material of the other glove from the section of the glove between the palm and the wrist; pull the glove off so that it turns inside out, with the contaminated side inside. Please note that single-use gloves should not be washed or disinfected and should be removed on leaving the cash register and disposed into a bag which can be closed.
  • When using masks, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum usage time.
  • Work garments, including textile gloves, should be washed after every shift, at the highest temperature allowed for the material. Work shoes should also be cleaned after every shift.
  • Minimise contact with the customers for these members of the staff who belong to risk groups, particularly older employees or those with chronic illnesses or immune-compromised persons.
  • If possible, arrange to work in one shift, or organise the handing over of the shift so that the employees of different shifts would not mingle.
  • Guidelines and instructions: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/COVID-19-trukised https://vet.agri.ee/et/uudised/soovitused-toidukaitlejatele-seoses-koroonaviirusega

https://www.ti.ee/est/koik-uudised/uudised-detailne/?tx_news_pi1%5Bnews%5D=636&cHash=a7cd1949c8ad9c4538b6ded563b8a729

What does this virus do to an organism – does it damage specific organs, for example, lungs?

COVID-19 symptoms are nonspecific and their severity can vary. The disease can run its course without symptoms of illness, but infection can also include severe pneumonia, and for people in risk groups, in worst case, the illness can end in death.

For most people infected with the coronavirus, the illness runs its course without complications and they get well. It is important to point out that the virus risk group includes the elderly and people with chronic diseases, who exhibit the severe forms of the disease more frequently.

What are the guidelines for monitoring my own health?

If you were in contact with a person infected with the coronavirus, monitor your health over the course of 14 days and if you develop a fever over 38°C, a cough or have difficulty breathing, call a doctor and notify them about the condition of your health. 

What to do when I notice symptoms?

  • Discuss it with your family doctor. She will give recommendations to you, depending on the severity of the situation. If your GP cannot be reached or is unavailable, you can call the GP hotline at 1220.
  • You do not have to call an ambulance anymore to give a corona virus sample. Do not go to the medical centre or the ER on your own.
  • Rest up and heal yourself according to the doctor’s recommendations.
  • Stay inside until the doctor says that the risk of infection is gone and follow all the rules for avoiding the risk of infection at home.

Infected people in a serious condition should call the ambulance.

More exact instructions at https://www.koroonaviirus.ee.

Can the likelihood and risk of contracting COVID-19 be assessed online in Estonia?

Yes, as of 19 March, you can use the self-assessment environment Koroonatest.ee. By answering some simple questions, the tool will help you assess your risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus. By responding to the survey, the user of the environment will receive further recommendations on how to act in his/her situation.

The web-based solution was born on 13-15 March at a hackathon organised by Garage48 and Accelerate Estonia, which aimed to develop solutions that help to mitigate the situation created by the spread of coronavirus. One of the solutions was the development of an online assessment questionnaire, created by the startup Montonio Finance, which now cooperates with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Health Board to run the environment.

Why is staying at home necessary?

Isolation at home is a measure of prevention, to keep the disease from spreading. The less people move around and the less they have social contact, the smaller the risk of the infection spreading. The period is 14 days, because that is how long it might take for symptoms of illness to appear. If symptoms do appear, you have to stay at home until you are well, but if your condition worsens, you should call the ambulance.

Generally, the COVID-19 disease passes lightly, but those in danger include elderly people and those with a weaker immune system, in whose case the symptoms may develop into a severe case of pneumonia. When you stay at home, you keep the virus away from these kinds of people.

If one of the spouses has been coughing since yesterday but does not have a fever, can the other spouse still go to work or do they have to stay at home now?

If possible, the spouse should remain at home for 14 days.

If my colleague tested positive for the corona virus, am I now also sick and what should I do?

If your colleague tested positive for the corona virus, you are also recommended to stay at home for 14 days to monitor your health.

When is it safe to return to the society after the symptoms of the disease have passed?

A person is infectious up to 14 days after the first symptoms of the disease have appeared.

In order to declare someone recovered the person has to be at least two days fever-free, and at least one day without respiratory symptoms (cough and throat pain). Decisions regarding the health status, and return to the society will be made by the family physician.

How should an employee of a large industry, such as a factory, behave around a conveyor belt if he/she exhibits symptoms (cough, sore throat, etc.)? Who to contact and what to do?

If a factory worker exhibits symptoms (cough, breathing difficulties or fever) that may indicate an acute respiratory infection, including coronavirus, he/she should stay at home immediately and contact their general practitioner who will arrange for testing if necessary.

Other members of the workforce should monitor their health and, if symptoms occur, stay at home and contact their general practitioner. In order to protect themselves and others, all members of the workforce should follow hygiene requirements and wash their hands frequently.

 

Funerals, handling of bodies

 

Are there any special arrangements necessary when handling the body of a person who has died due to the coronavirus?

If the death has occurred due to the coronavirus, then the family members and the bereaved cannot touch the body. Both casket burial and cremation are allowed.

From the point of view of the infection control, cremation is preferable, but it is not compulsory and depends on the wishes of the family.

Open casket burial is allowed provided the bereaved will not come into contact with the body. It is the responsibility of the funeral organiser to ensure the safety of the funeral.

It is necessary to avoid gathering indoors and, if possible, to hold a funeral ceremony directly in the graveyard.

The Health Board has issued a guideline for handling the bodies of the persons infected with COVID-19 or suspected of COVID-19 infection in hospitals. Special measures concern the storage, cremation and preparation of the body for burial. Procedures requiring direct contact with the body should be minimised, if possible, and precautions should be taken, using special personal protective equipment. The Health Board has prepared appropriate [instructions] for hospitals. (https://www.terviseamet.ee/sites/default/files/Nakkushaigused/Juhendid/COVID-19/surnukeha_kasitlemise_pohimotted_haiglatele-27.03.2020_.pdf).

Can a funeral be arranged? What are the special requirements?

A funeral can be organised, but it is important to bear in mind:

  • Include only a small number of family and friends.
  • Act sensibly.

Additionally, it is recommended to avoid indoor events, the funeral ceremony should be held at the graveyard.

Foreign nationals can submit an application for an Estonian visa due to exceptional circumstances to:

  • Estonian representations.
  • Border crossing points (justified, if it was not possible to apply for a visa at an embassy).

Is cremation recommended or is it possible to hold a burial of the body?

It is up to the funeral organisers whether they prefer cremation and urn burial or not to have the body cremated and to choose the casket burial.

Is it possible to hold a wake, and how many people can attend?

The government has not banned holding wakes, but, at the same time, caution should be taken when organising any events considering the current situation.
No limits to the number of participants has been established but the government hopes that people will be acting responsibly and using common sense, keeping the number of participants reasonable and comply with general hygiene requirements. Coronavirus spreads very easily, therefore all physical contacts should be avoided.

 

Continuous education

 

I am attending a continuous education programme for adults, but due to the crisis, I did not complete my studies. What are my rights for getting my tuition refunded?

If the owner of the continuous education institution has not offered distance learning, then first contact should be with the education provider. It is important to review the signed education contract, which both parties must follow when providing education services. In addition, the basis for the organisation of studies should be consulted, which, inter alia, govern the procedure for paying and refunding the tuition. In the event that the owner of the continuous education institution does not comply with the contract and does not carry out the training, the student shall be entitled to withdraw from the contract based on the conditions stipulated within.

Which rules need to be observed when providing adult education and continuous education training?

With the order of the Government of the Republic, the restrictions on the activities of educational institutions, which have been in force until 1 June, were significantly eased. Easing of restrictions also apply to adult education and continuous education training providers.

As of June 1

  • indoor activities allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 100 persons at the same time.

  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 100 participants.

As of June 19

  • instead of 2+2 rule, the requirement of dispersion applies. This means that it is still necessary to keep a safe distance between people, but the mandatory national 2+2 rule no longer applies.

  • all other requirements established for the number of participants, use of capacity of premises, use of disinfectants and other measures, remain valid.

As of July 1

  • indoor activities allowed, if no more than 50 % of the capacity of the premises is used but no more than 500 persons at the same time.

  • outdoor activities allowed for no more than 1000 participants.

Regarding hygiene and cleaning of premises the recommendations of the Health Board need to be observed.

 

Unemployment Insurance Fund services, support, benefits

 

How does the state intend to solve the problem of compensation for unemployed Members of the Management Board and for employees working based on the contracts under the Law of Obligations Act?

Indeed, the unemployment benefit is only available for persons:

  • Who have worked for at least 12 months over the last 36 month period.
  • Who have been employed under the Law of Obligations Act.
  • Who have currently lost their job.

A contract under the Law of Obligations Act may be, for example, and authorisation agreement or contract for services agreement.

The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund does not compensate the employer for the remuneration of a person working under Law of Obligations Act.

If a person working under a Law of Obligations Act contract no longer has a job, they can:

  1. Register themselves as unemployed.
  2. Apply for unemployment insurance allowance or unemployment benefit

NB! Provisions should be made for situations when the work carried out under an authorisation agreement or under a contract for services agreement, corresponds to the characteristics of work performed under an employment contract. In this case, it may be possible, in agreement with the employer, to convert this kind of contract into an employment contract. Once an agreement has been reached, the employer and the employee must sign the employment contract in accordance with the provisions of the Employment Contracts Act and make appropriate changes to the Employment Register. The actual starting time of the employment relationship must be taken into account when converting the contract. Of course, in this case the taxes on labour have to be considered.

Where to find help for a person working under a contract for services whose work has currently stopped and who has no income?

If the work of a person working under a contract for services has stopped (the contract has not been terminated but there is no income), we recommend that he apply for a subsistence benefit from the local municipality.

However, if this person's contract for services has been terminated, this person has the right to apply for an unemployment benefit and an unemployment insurance benefit from the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund if he has

  1. worked at least 12 months out of the last 36 months
  2. with a contract under the law of obligations and
  3. lost his job now.

Where can I register as unemployed and apply for an unemployment insurance allowance or an unemployment benefit?

If you wish to register as unemployed and apply for an unemployment insurance allowance or for an unemployment benefit, we recommend submitting your application using our online services https://www.tootukassa.ee/. Applications will be accepted via e-mail (digitally signed), regular post, or telephone, and in the offices.

Applications for work ability assessment and work capability allowance can also be submitted at the website, e-mail (digitally signed), regular post, or in the offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. If necessary, the Unemployment Insurance Fund will forward the application documentation by post.

Please note! If you submit your application by e-mail, sign it digitally.

For further information:

Whom should I turn to if my family is running out of money, because we don’t have work anymore and we don’t know anything about the support schemes?

If your family needs help, contact your local social welfare office.

Does the emergency situation alter the payment of maintenance?

Emergency situation doesn't mean that the costs associated with the needs of the child have diminished. It could mean the opposite – children are staying home and the spending on food may have increased. Keep in mind that during crisis the income of the primary parent might have decreased.

In case of financial problems or diminished income both parents should first try to agree on finding temporary solutions. If this is not possible, they should follow the decision on how the . maintenance allowance has been set. See Ministry of Justice home page: https://www.just.ee/et/eesmargid-tegevused/praktilisi-nouandeid

 

Cyber threats

 

What are the most common current threats?

Because information regarding the coronavirus is understandably the focus people's of interests right now, the distributors of malware are using it as well -- all over the world letters are sent out with links or attachments that contain a document that seemingly might give the receiver new information about the spread of the virus. We are also aware that a map of the spread of the virus is being used as bait. These letters infect your computer with malware that could steal your passwords and other data.

The growing popularity of distance working is also being exploited. Working from home, people often need to join different central services, file sharing platforms or communication networks. If you receive a letter that calls on you to click on another link in order to join a work-related group, make sure that this really is a group or a service that you have arranged with your employer.

In the case of work e-mails, you have to remember that invoice fraud and CEO fraud schemes are quite common in cyber crime. If your boss (who is currently probably not with you) asks you to transfer money from the company's account to a completely unexpected bank account, confirm through some other prearranged channel of communication whether she is sure about that. If a business partner in another country asks you to send a payment for services to a new bank account, confirm this with him over the phone or some other channel of communication.

Recent times have seen a resurgence in the spread of payroll scams where an employer seemingly asks the head of personnel to transfer her wages to a new bank account as of next month. This request is actually being sent by cyber criminals who end up getting the money. In a payroll scam the cyber criminals send a short e-mail in quite convincing Estonian to the head of personnel under the name of an employee, asking that the wages be transferred to a new bank account as of next month. For this they use visual scams, replacing a letter in a name or barely noticeably altering the domain name (ettevõte.ee vs ettveõte.ee). They might also take advantage of insufficient security of the e-mail account and impersonate the e-mail address of an employee in a way that is difficult to distinguish for a layman.

At the beginning of the crisis, there was a spread of English-language phone calls asking access to the recipient's computer in Estonia. The calls came from foreign phone numbers and the caller introduced himself as a representative of an internationally well-known company. Referring to the current situation where many work in home offices and the need to keep the equipment used for distance work secure, the callers asked for access to the computer. The reason they gave was a wish to check that the device is secure enough. At refusal the caller did not end the call but steadfastly continued asking for access. The goal of the fraudsters might have been to steal passwords or bank card data. These kinds of calls might also be used to sell scareware products that seemingly find malware in the victim's computer. By paying the fraudsters you unfortunately really get rid of your money and only seemingly get rid of the so-called malware that wasn't in the computer in the first place.

Is there more cyber fraud than usual during the current situation?

No, rather the number of cyber incidents registered by the Information System Authority has remained at a level similar to the period before the crisis. But, considering the extent of distance working that is currently being done, the total risks have still increased. The information Security Authority has seen that cyber fraudsters both in Estonia and the rest of the world are trying to take advantage of the coronavirus in a new way -- for instance, an e-mail containing malware has been disguised as virus-related information from the Health Board.

For more specifics, see https://www.err.ee/1068027/tonu-tammer-kuberkurjamid-rakendasid-koroonaviiruse-oma-vankri-ette and https://www.ria.ee/et/kuberturvalisus/olukord-kuberruumis.html.

 

Video and teleconferencing

 

What software should be used for video- or teleconferencing?

The main important thing is to come to an agreement with your colleagues and close ones on what channels of communication are used for the distance communication during the emergency situation. You children, for instance, have similar agreement with their teachers and friends on which channels they use. It is always good to find out more about these channels of communication, to establish which are not only easy to use but also safest from a message confidentiality point of view -- in case you have to share confidential business information with your business partners. Read through the terms and conditions! At the same time, keep an eye on what channels of communication are the safest for your child's health and welfare.

As distance working will continue both in Estonia and the rest of the world for quite a while longer, there will probably also be campaigns where criminals try to spread malware or steal data by impersonating different distance working applications. We have seen that the popularity of some videoconferencing platforms has been exploited for spreading malware -- the victim is left with an impression that he has received a link from such a programme or a link is shared that seems to be connected to some such programme but leads to a web page that is being used to collect user data.

The Centre of Registers and Information Systems stresses to the employees of ministries and agencies that information that has been labelled as restricted (AK) can only be forwarded on a videoconferencing system that is controlled by the holder of the information (is hosted in the ICT infrastructure of the holder of the information). If it is not possible to use this kind of a system, the restricted information cannot be forwarded through a videoconference.

 

Precaution measures

 

Do devices that are used for distance working or learning need to be prepared somehow?

Make sure that both your and your child's computer or device has the latest possible software. This is vitally important! If the software is expired, your computer might get infected by just visiting a suspicious web page.

If you know how to find the settings of your smart television, your router and your Internet-connected web camera, you should update their software regularly as well. All this so that the devices in your home could not be used to attack anyone else. Just as you don't want to be the one who transmits the virus.

Additionally, it is important to check whether the anti-virus software of your devices has been able to regularly update itself. Anti-virus never protects you from all the threats -- malware creators are always a step ahead of anti-virus programmes. But if a malware has already circled the globe several times, the anti-virus programmes will also recognize them and stop them before they manage to infect your computer or the computers of those close to you.

Definitely find out whether the people close to you have the latest versions of operations systems and anti-virus software in their computers. In the Windows operation systems, for instance, this means updating the Windows Defender definitions.

My child is online for days on end -- e-school, socializing with friends, just passing time. What should I keep in mind?

Show regular interest in what your child is doing on the computer. It is more comfortable to do this if the screen of the child's computer is placed so that it can be read easily when passing by. Be interested, communicate, ask. Try to find time for this even when you are distance working yourself.

I am a head of a company. What should I pay special attention to?

On April 8, the internationally recognized collection of cybersecurity measures "CIS 20 Controls" was made available in Estonian by the Information System Authority. This is a tool that was developed by recognized cybersecurity experts and can be used by IT managers and all others who are responsible for the field of IT in their company, in order to ensure cybersecurity in their company. The latest version of the CIS 20 measures also differentiates between measures that are meant to be implemented by large, but also small and medium sized companies. The Estonian version of the collection of measures and relevant short instructions and instructional videos in Estonian and Russian can be found at https://www.ria.ee/et/kuberturvalisus/ennetus-ja-nouanded/nouanded.html.

Even though it might not be possible for you to implement these measures before the end of the current emergency situation, it is still worth doing it consistently in medium and longer term perspective. This way you will safely survive both possible future single cyberattacks and future emergency situations.

Additionally, see https://www.itl.ee/uudised/itl-soovitab-ettevotetel-kaugtoo-korraldus-labi-moelda/. In its original language – English – the measures can be found here: https://www.cisecurity.org/controls/cis-controls-list/.

What should be kept in mind after the crisis?

After the crisis is over, everybody should keep continuously following the requirements of cyber hygiene. Both authorities and companies should remember the fact that the IT field has long ago stopped being a small fraction of the company that has only a supportive role, rather becoming sometimes the most critical part, as all work is being done in computers and the information necessary for the company or authority to function is stored in servers or on hard drives.

What are the five most important recommendations for safe online conduct?

  • Don't open attachments or links from unknown senders.
  • Don't believe threatening letters from unknown senders that demand that you act quickly.
  • Don't give an unknown caller access to your computer.
  • Make sure that you are using the latest version of software and that all security updates have been installed.
  • Regularly back up the files in your computer and on your phone.

Also see the newest entries at https://blog.ria.ee/.

What are the recommendations regarding passwords?

Distance working and learning requires constantly logging into places and inserting passwords. This might create a temptation to use one and the same (and as simple as possible) password everywhere. It would be used to enter work, school, store, social media, chat rooms and gaming sites. But if this one password should leak (and passwords do leak from time to time!) the hackers will see whether the already leaked passwords and usernames can be used to enter other places as well.

One possibility to use different passwords in different places in a way that you do not need to remember the long passwords yourself is to see what options are being offered by password managers. There are several, they can be used for free (e.g. LastPass, Keepass, 1Password) and in this way you only need to remember one long password for your password manager.

But as work done at home, e-mail addresses and all kinds of accounts are currently vitally important for work, study and communication, an important assistant for securing your accounts is multi-factor authentication. This means that even if somebody does get hold of your password (with phishing, malware or previously leaked passwords), they still can't access your e-mail account without a code that is in your phone. No, you do not need to enter the code every time you want to log into Gmail. But if someone tries to get access to your e-mail account from a geographically distant location, they will not be successful.

 

Data storage

 

How to ensure data retention?

There is one more good way to reduce stress about your work and studies during these unusual times: backing up your data. Nobody wants to redo work that they have already done. But we know that devices sometimes break or, even worse, get infected with malware that will not allow access to the data anymore. Schoolchildren might initially find it great that they can say that they could not submit their schoolwork because the computer was not working but in the end even they will still have to redo this work. Losing your work because of ransomware or a device that has unexpectedly broken down is an even bigger worry.

There is a vast array of commercial cloud solutions for backing up your work (Google Drive, Microsoft Onedrive, Amazon Drive, Dropbox) that back up your documents automatically over the Internet. It is your task to save your files to a correct drive and to find your documents again on another device if something happens to yours.

We recommend using an external hard drive or a memory stick as well, to back up your most important data. In the case of large data it can, on one hand, this might make restoring your data faster, on the other hand, keeping large data volumes in cloud solutions is more expensive than using external data carriers. Find out from your employer what backup solutions are even acceptable to them -- is keeping work documents in a cloud even allowed or does the company have different rules.

 

Securing remote work

 

Is distance working really a safe choice?

If it is done correctly and knowingly, distance working is certainly safe. Even though the current emergency situation, where many people work from home, does increase the danger that companies and their employees fall victim to a cyber attack or cyber fraud, these risks can be brought down to a minimum by following elementary cyber hygiene requirements. In turn, by safely doing distance work you lower the risk of coronavirus infection for yourself as well as others.

 

Restrictions on movement in nursing homes

 

Does a quarantined care home have the right to restrict the movement of their residents? Can the residents be restrained, for example, and be prevented from leaving the room by locking their doors?

The care home must ensure that infected and non-infected residents would not come into contact with each other. In order to do this, the residents with the coronavirus diagnosis and symptoms must be separated from the other residents. If there are infected people in the care home, the movement of residents between rooms and different sections is not allowed. The residents must be informed of the restrictions, and if necessary, the information must be repeated. The healthy residents of the care home need to be able to go outside. It is certainly not right to lock people up indoors but the care home residents need to be explained in a manner comprehensible for them, why they cannot move around without restrictions during the quarantine, and if needed, the information must be repeated. The employees of the care home may continue working as usual, provided that they are healthy.

Can residents of care homes currently go to public places, for instance go to town or for a walk?

Healthy clients can move freely if they follow the rules (including going to work). The restrictions of movement for general and special care clients ended with the emergency situation. As of May 18, movement can be restricted on a case-by-case basis, for example, if there are infected persons in the care home, people with suspected infection, etc. The visiting restriction to care homes is valid until June 1.

 

What to do in case of infection

 

If one family member is infected, what should the rest do? What to do if the infected person cannot be separated from others?

The infected person must definitely stay at home until recovery.

Other members of the family must also stay home for 14 days as they have been in immediate contact with the infected person.

This helps to prevent further spread of the virus.

If another family member develops a fever or a cough during that time period, a family doctor should be consulted.

The infected family member must be separated as much as possible and only one person should provide the care.

It is important to clean all the surfaces at home every day, and to air the rooms.

If an employee has given a positive coronavirus test, does the employer need to notify all their colleagues or only those that have been in contact with the infected person? What measures need to be taken?

If an employee finds out that their coronavirus test came back positive, they need to notify their employer immediately.

The employer must send both infected persons and persons with a suspected infection home to quarantine.

For this, the employer will establish the employees that have come into contact with the infected colleague at the workplace within the past two weeks. They also need to stay home for 14 days and monitor closely their health status. If a person develops a fever or a cough during this time, he needs to contact his family doctor.

Those employees who did not come into direct contact with the infected person may continue their everyday work but should monitor their health closely.

The employer must guarantee that in order to contain the spread of the virus at the workplace

  • necessary protective equipment is used,
  • the rooms are aired and
  • the surfaces are cleaned diligently.

What happens if an employee of a commercial business has fallen ill? Should the store close?

  • If an employee has fallen ill outside working hours, they must stay home for 14 days and contact their family doctor. The doctor will refer them to testing, if necessary and issues the incapacity to work certificate. The employee may return to work after 14 days, provided that they have no fever, cough, rhinitis or other respiratory symptoms. When the employee has recovered and the doctor has terminated the incapacity to work certificate, the employee may return to work and the employer has no right to require the employee to carry out additional testing.

  • If the employee falls ill during the working hours, the employee must immediately go home, contact their family doctor and stay at home for 14 days. If the diagnosis comes back positive for COVID-19, the employer must be informed. The employer must then close the store for at least 48 hours and disinfect the store. In addition, it is important to determine who have been in close contact with the infected employee, they should also remain home for 14 days.

Detailed instructions are available here: https://www.terviseamet.ee/sites/default/files/Nakkushaigused/Juhendid/COVID-19/kaubandusettevotete_juhis_12.04.20-2.pdf.

What medicines are being used in Estonia to treat the coronavirus? There are countries that use malaria medicine for this -- is it being used here as well?

There is no virus-specific treatment for the coronavirus COVID-19 and it is only possible to ease the symptoms. The World Health Organization has not yet recommended any medicines to be taken into the treatment scheme. Some countries have experimented with treating the coronavirus with malaria medicine but experimental treatment is not practiced in Estonia.

When can a person be considered recovered from the coronavirus and how is it determined?

The studies thus far have shown that, on average, in mild and moderate cases an infected person is infectious for 7-12 after the appearance of symptoms, in severe cases up to 14 days. That is why you should isolate for 14 days. In addition, a person must have been

  • without a fever for at least 48 hours and
  • without acute symptoms of the virus for at least 24 hours.

If the fever and coughing persist even on the 14th day, you have to stay home until they are gone and then two more days to be safe.

If a person has been hospitalized with a severe case, getting declared recovered depends largely on his condition. The hospitals generally recommend staying at home for two more weeks after being released from the hospital (this does not apply to those who had mild symptoms but were still hospitalized for some reason).

The virus can be detected in a lab even up to 37 days but the patient is not infectious anymore. As the conclusions of research are contradictory, the safest course of action is to follow the principle of 14 days in isolation. This should be adhered to even if the symptoms disappear within a few days. These kinds of stricter rules help to contain the spread of the virus. Depending on whether you are healing at home or in a hospital, the instructions about your health and the isolation will come from your family physician or attending physician. This means that you should primarily act according to the recommendations of your doctor, who is the person most familiar with the given case.

What kind of movement restrictions apply to me and to the people living with me if I have been diagnosed with the coronavirus?

If you have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, you need to remain home until full recovery. Full recovery means that you have not had any fever within the last 48 hours or any cough/sore throat within the last 24 hours. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, you are forbidden to leave home during the time you are sick. You are permitted to leave home only on the orders of a medical professional or a police officer, or if your life or health would be at risk at home.

If there is nobody who could bring essential goods (food, medicines) to your home, please turn to your local municipality for help, either by phone or e-mail.

If you are not symptomatic yourself, and you are living with someone who has been diagnosed with the coronavirus, you can leave home only in the following cases:

  • to perform your professional duties if you are a medical professional or if you offer other services required in dealing with the emergency situation;
  • to procure goods necessary for everyday survival (food, medicines) near your home and only if you have no one to help you with this task;
  • you have ruled out all contacts with the person infected with the coronavirus;
  • you wish to be outdoors.

In any case you need to follow the restrictions that apply in public places: keep a 2-metre distance with other people and stay alone or with just one other person (this restriction does not apply to families moving around together). In addition you need to carry an identity document with you.

The Police and Border Guard Board has the right to monitor the observance of movement restrictions. In case of violations, a penalty payment of up to 2000 € may be imposed.

See also the order of the Government of the Republic from March 26: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/527032020001/consolide

What are the recommendations for employers regarding employees who have come into contact with infected persons?

After coming into close contact with an infected person, the employees have to stay at home for 14 days and monitor their health status.

If there are any health concerns, the family physician should be contacted.

At the doctor's discretion, it is possible to also receive a certificate of incapacity to work.

 

Banking

 

How do I know what my insurance covers?

The terms of the insurance are provided in the insurance contract, which also indicates the insurance coverage and duration. If any misunderstandings occur, contact your insurance undertaking (if you have signed the contract through an insurance broker or intermediary, you may also contact them). More information can be found here (in Estonian): https://www.minuraha.ee/index.php/et/kindlustus/probleem-kindlustusega

Is it a good idea to take out a bank loan right now?

When taking out a loan, you must be certain that you can repay both the principal and the interest payments of the loan over the following months, and in the future until the loan is fully repaid. It would be advisable to have some reserve savings to cover expenses of at least a few months, loan repayments included, which would help in case something unexpected happens. Knowing that the future is uncertain, a lot of people have to face redundancies or reduction of income, and if you have no savings it might be wise to consider very carefully how the loan repayments could be made in the future, and if it would make sense to postpone the borrowing a little bit.

If it is necessary to take out the loan immediately, it would be a good idea to carry out a thorough stock-taking of your financial situation, and to make sure there will be some savings against unexpected events. Before considering a loan, please look at the FAQs here: https://www.minuraha.ee/index.php/et/pangandus/laenud/intress-ja-muud-laenamisega-seotud-tasud

Is it possible to perform transactions at a notary, e.g. purchase and sale transaction of immovable property, without the physical presence of the transaction parties?

Videoconferencing is the only way to perform notarial acts remotely and all parties of the transaction have to agree to the use of these means. It is not possible to get married or divorced over a video conference but it is possible to submit an application for marriage or divorce.

If you wish to perform a notarial act by remote authentication, you need to pay attention to the following:

  • You have to agree with the notary beforehand on what the transaction is that you wish to have authenticated remotely and when would be a good time to do it. You can come to this agreement either directly with the notary or through the online self-service notar.ee.
  • In order to perform a transaction with remote authentication, the parties need to have computers that have web cameras and microphones, ID cards and card readers or Mobile-ID for giving a digital signature.
  • Remote authentication only works with the Google Chrome browser and the internet connection of the client has to be good enough for a video call.

In order to perform this act you need to log into the self-service on the web page of notar.ee.

What should I do I am if I not able to make loan repayments due to a loss of income?

If the loss of income may cause difficulties in loan repayments in due time and in full, contact your loan provider immediately. Quick action before the indebtedness occurs allows good grounds for reaching an arrangement. Also, it is important to take note your credit history would remain positivite, and no notices will be included to the Estonian Credit Register. Additional information: https://minuraha.ee/et/pangandus/laenud/makseraskustes-kaitumine.

What should I do if I have fallen behind my loan, lease or instalment payments?

The most important thing is to address the problem immediately and contact the loan provider or the leasing company. You need to act fast before the indebtedness occurs, it will provide a good ground for reaching an arrangement. Also, it is important to take note your credit history would remain positive, and no notices will be included to the Estonian Credit Register. Additional information: https://minuraha.ee/et/pangandus/laenud/makseraskustes-kaitumine

What can I do to protect my family from the loss of income?

Loss of income, loss of employment or uncertainty about the future may threaten any family. It is therefore important to have a good overview of your or family's income and expenses, loan liabilities and repayment deadlines, and to consider carefully which expenses can be postponed or cancelled, to survive this difficult period. If you have maintained your income, and it is currently possible, some funds should be set aside for even harder periods to cope with unexpected situations. It would be good to have a financial buffer or some funds for peace of mind which would cover at least 3 months' expenses, but any amount would soften the impact if an unexpected cost is called for, or due the crisis, income is reduced. Additional information: https://blogi.fin.ee/2020/03/3-lihtsat-sammu-mida-teha-rahaliste-raskuste-uletamiseks-ja-valtimiseks/

What is a grace period (debt standstill) and when can I use it?

Grace period or debt standstill is an agreement with the bank not to repay the principal contributions of the loan during a certain period. Depending on the type of loan and the agreement with the bank or the lender, this may also mean a period of grace from interest payments (e.g. if the income is completely lost). The amount of deferred payments shall be allocated to the rest of the loan period, if necessary, the term of the loan agreement shall be extended. Other terms of the loan agreement are not changed. The duration of grace period is usually 3-12 months for mortgages, 3-6 months for leasing and consumer loans. No service fee is usually charged, or a reduced service fee is charged for contract amendment for grace period. In some cases, depending on the bank's policy, costs may be added in the form of fees for changing the contract. In specific cases, customer-specific distinctions are allowed. If you are already late with the repayment of the loan and have therefore violated the terms of the contract with the lender, the lender may also refuse the grace period. Grace period or debt standstill can be agreed with the lender and is usually due to temporary income reductions. To explore your options, please contact your lender(s). Additional information (in Estonian): https://www.minuraha.ee/et/pangandus/laenud/makseraskustes-kaitumine.

Can the bank request additional guarantees for private mortgages due to precarious times in the economy and potential related financial problems?

Mortgage guarantees are agreed in the loan agreement. If the balance of obligations between the parties changes it might give raise to change the terms of the contract and the associated guarantees. However, in a situation that has not been the making of a private individual with a mortgage, it will give no right to require additional guarantees with a reference to a general deterioration in the economic situation.
This regulation is subject to Article 335, paragraph 3 of the Property Law, which states that the mortgage holder may not require additional guarantees or partial payment of the debt if the value of the property which is the main residence of the natural person, decreases due to a change in the market situation.

Are banks in Estonia applying uniform principles on how to accommodate individuals and companies in the current situation?

Although some details might differ, according to the Estonian Banking Association, all banks grant grace periods for loans and leasing contracts. In the event of insufficient resources, the banks request both individuals and companies to inform the banks well in advance to avoid defaulting.

What kind of debt-relief is available for individuals who have taken out a small loan? What kind of debt-relief is available for individuals who have taken an instant loan or a SMS-loan?

Grace period is available for clients with decreased solvency. The amount of deferred payments shall be added to the remainder of the loan period, and if necessary, the term of the loan agreement shall be extended. Other terms of the loan agreement will not be changed. Usually service fee is not charged when concluding the contract for the grace period, or lower-than-usual fee is charged. In specific cases, customer-specific derogations can be applied. For consumer financing, small loans and leasing finance, the duration of the grace period is usually 3-6 months.

What kind of debt-relief is available for small and medium size enterprises and large companies?

Small businesses can usually apply for a grace period under a simplified procedure, similar to private individuals. Medium-sized enterprises are handled according to their circumstances and the needs of the company.

What kind of debt-relief is available for large companies?

Larger companies are handled on a case-by-case basis, and the opening of KredEx Foundation measures are also to be expected. In co-operation with KredEx Foundation, it is possible to use a proportional loan guarantee (50% of the loan amount) or a fixed loan guarantee (35% of the loan amount). The maximum loan guarantee is EUR 5 Million euros or double the company's payroll in 2019 including the social tax. However, the initial amount of KredEx measure is only EUR 100 Million. It is possible this amount will need to be increased.

Will there be enough cash? 

Yes, cash reserves are sufficient. The Bank of Estonia and commercial banks have reserves which will be supplemented, if necessary. We recommend using digital payment options and card payments.

Should the payments be made by card only during the pandemic, in order to avoid virus transmission with cash?

If possible, it has been recommended to avoid using cash. Coronavirus can survive on contaminated metal, plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for up to 72 hours, on porous materials such as paper and cardboard for up to 24 hours. If you need to use cash, you should pay close attention to hygiene and wash your hands.

We recommend making payments:

  • preferably contactless payment (temporary limit is EUR 50) or
  • bank card, as usual.

Should I take cash out?

There is no reason to do so. In the light of the spread of coronavirus, Eesti Pank recommends that people pay by contactless card (contactless payments are particularly sensible to prevent the spread of the virus) or by smartphone wherever possible. Commercial banks have increased the default payment limit to EUR 50 per payment during the emergency situation. People who can link their card to their mobile phone through Apple Pay or Google Pay can also pay more than EUR 50 with their phone.

Be sure to follow hygiene requirements when people have used cash or entered a PIN at a card payment terminal.

What are the banks planning to do and how are they helping the companies that are in trouble?

The banks have affirmed their wish to help their customers so that they could cope with the difficult situation. On March 25, the Bank of Estonia decided to lower the systemic risk buffer required of commercial banks from 1% to 0%. This way 110 million Euros is released to the banks, which the banks can use to cover possible loan losses and to issue new loans.

 

Compensation for sick days

 

Is it possible to receive compensation for first three days of sick leave from both the employer and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund?

If the incapacity of work certificate has been issued from March 13 to May 17, then the compensation will be paid also for first three days of sick leave. Some employers have already been compensating the first three sick leave days to their employees; therefore, a situation might arise where the employee will get the compensation twice, both from the employer and also from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

This will not give the employer a right of claim against the employee for refund. The refund of the benefit depends on the agreement between the employee and the employer.

My certificate for sick leave was issued on March 13 or later. Why have I not received the benefit yet?

The Estonian Health Insurance Fund has 30 days after the end date of the sick leave certificate to pay the benefits. So far, people usually get their benefits payment within few days, and have grown used to this fast service.

When the incapacity to work certificate has been issued during the emergency situation (as of March 12), the benefit will be paid within 30 days as provided by law. The Health Insurance Fund has started paying benefits for sick leave certificates which have been issued for longer than 9 days, and a lot of people have already received the benefits. When it comes to shorter sick leaves, e.g. less than 9 days, the benefits are also being paid out, but this will take longer, but no later than until mid-May.

The payments for certificates of care leave, certificates of maternity leave, certificates of adoption leave will be paid as usual, regardless when they were issued.

Can a doctor issue a sick leave certificate for me even though I am not sick?

If you are healthy, and you have not been in contact with infected persons, the doctor has no cause to issue a sick leave certificate. Monitor your health, if possible, work remotely from home, and limit contacts with other people.

Sick leave certificate can be issued by a doctor if you have come into contact with an infected person. If a child has been in contact with an infected person, the doctor can issue a care leave certificate for the parents. Being in contact with an infected person is considered equal to being sick or caring for a sick child. In this case, you will be paid incapacity compensation based on the usual system. Please note that the incapacity to work certificate can be issued by the doctor only if your employer has officially registered your employment and you have valid health insurance.

At what rate and for which sickness days will an employee be compensated? What kind of benefits are available for care leave?

Sickness benefit:

As of March 13, until the end of the emergency situation, the first three sickness days will be compensated to you by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. The benefit payments will start as of May 4. The rate of this benefit depends on the type of certificate of incapacity for work you have received.

As the emergency situation has been abolished, the first three days of sick leave will be compensated if the certificate has been issued no later than 17.05, regardless of the duration of the certificate.

For sickness days 4 to 8, you will be compensated by your employer, and starting from sickness day 9 it will be done by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. These benefits will be calculated by your average wage of the last month. You will get a benefit of 70% of your average wage.

Income tax is withheld from the benefit.

Read more about the sickness benefit.

Care allowance:

On the basis of the certificate for care leave, the Estonian Health Insurance Fund pays the care allowance for the first

  • 14 sickness days to a parent whose child under the age of 12 or disabled child under the age of 19 is sick;
  • 7 sickness days to the carer of other family members.

The allowance is 80% of the average wage of the person who has been issued the certificate for care leave. Income tax is withheld from the benefit.

Different rules for paying care allowance apply in the case of severe illness (tumours etc.).

Read more about care allowance.

More information can be received from the Estonian Health Insurance Fund telephone (+372) 669 6630.

During the emergency situation, people were given the opportunity to apply for incapacity to work certificate on medical grounds or for care leave via the patient portal www.digilugu.ee website. As the emergency situation has been abolished, as of May 18, the medical leave certificate can be only issued by the doctor, , i.e. in case of illness or when caring for a sick family member, you must contact your family doctor in order to obtain the sick leave or care leave.

 

Restrictions on movement in shelters

 

Can symptomatic homeless people move around freely in public places?

From the evening of April 9, the people in shelters who are infected with the coronavirus or have been in close contact with them are not allowed to leave the place where they are staying and must remain in isolation. The restriction to movement applies to them from the time the disease is diagnosed until they are recovered. They are allowed to leave the shelter only on the order of a health care worker or a police official, or in an emergency situation that threatens their life or health, i.e. the people will be taken to a hospital for treatment if necessary.

To other people staying in a shelter, the same rules apply as to people who are living with a person who has been diagnosed but are not symptomatic and are not in direct contact with the sick person.

A person staying in a shelter must be guaranteed daily food and other necessary aid. In order to ensure security in the shelter, the police is monitoring that the restrictions to movement are adhered to.

Considering that people still need to use a shelter, the sick people and those that have been in close contact with them must be separated from the others. The homeless people who, for instance, arrive to the shelter cannot come into contact with the sick persons.

There are 18 shelter service providers in Estonia. Altogether there are 626 places in the shelters. The locations with the most shelter places are Tallinn -- 264, Tartu -- 52, Narva -- 61, and Pärnu -- 62. There are three institutions that offer shelter services to adults only, in Narva, Haapsalu and Rapla.

 

Cancelled specialist appointments

 

If my doctor´s appointment has been cancelled – how can I find out about it and what should I do?

  • If you had an appointment with a specialist but the appointment was cancelled due to the coronavirus, the health care institution will contact you. Please be available to answer the phone call, don´t forget to charge your phone.

  • If possible, a telephone or a video consultation will be offered. If it is not possible, the doctor or the health care institution will give you a new appointment.

NB! If you are given a new appointment, the health care institution cannot invoice the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. Treatment invoices can be checked from the patient portal digilugu.ee.

 

Number of infected persons in Estonia and information resources

 

How often does the Health Board update the information on their website and the statistical information on the coronavirus map?

The Health Board updates the data on the coronavirus map every day. The Health Board has receives information on the number of tests analysed and the data on persons in hospital care from Estonian hospitals daily.

Where can you obtain direct information about the emergency situation caused by the coronavirus?

Questions related to the situation caused by the coronavirus can be addressed to the Emergency Response Centre hotline 1247, open 24h, free of charge.

How many people have been infected with the coronavirus in Estonia, how many people receive in-patient care?

As of July 6, due to the coronavirus, in Estonia:

  • 1994 persons diagnosed,
  • 3 persons hospitalised,
  • no persons on ventilation,
  • 69 persons deceased,
  • 391 persons discharged.

Since January 31, over 107,000 COVID-19 tests have been analysed.

A coronavirus map depicting information about Estonia can be found on the website https://www.terviseamet.ee/koroonakaart.

People who are infected, i.e. have tested positive for coronavirus are always informed by telephone. You can check the test result on the Patient Portal https://www.digilugu.ee/.

The Health Board is stressing the importance of protecting the elderly people and people suffering from chronic diseases in particular, as they may experience a more severe course of the disease.

In more than 80 percent of cases, people suffer mildly from the virus.

The disease spreads as droplet infection through close contact and can survive on surfaces for up to 72 hours.

You can find more information on coronavirus at https://www.terviseamet.ee/en/covid19.

 

Economic situation

 

During the recession orders for the construction industry will probably decrease. Could the state itself give more work to the construction companies right now?

[Supplementary amended budget] (https://www.riigikogu.ee/tegevus/eelnoud/eelnou/9eb928f5-d085-4104-a317-ad9d767727dd/2020.%20aasta%20riigi%20lisaeelarve%20seaduse%20eeln%C3%B5u%20(171%20SE%20II) includes an aid package to construction companies so that they would survive in a recession. The construction industry will get 145 million Euros to help them maintain stability on the market.

The role of the state as a contracting entity on the market will be increased already this year but the main payments to companies will be made over the following years.

As it is very difficult to accelerate the process when it comes to large infrastructure projects, it is most important to begin with the sites that have already in development.

  • Thus, 100 million Euros of the money directed toward the construction industry has been planned as co-financing for building and reconstructing apartment buildings and small residential buildings.

  • Local municipalities will get 30 million Euros for road construction and the Road Administration will get 10 million Euros.

  • 5 million Euros was earmarked for the budget for demolition of abandoned buildings, to increase the budget for demolition support in the already existing building fund of KredEx will increase by that sum.

Which sectors of the economy are in the most trouble right now?

Right now the most critically affected is the tourism industry, which covers travel companies, accommodation, catering, conferences, seminars and events. The next worst hit is transport, and problems will come after some delay to industry and services. In effect the entire private sector will be affected by the situation.

The main problems for companies are:

  • Liquidity problems from loan liabilities and overdrafts
  • Staff remaining at home, especially in jobs where remote working is not possible, and the question of who should pay them
  • Compulsory leave as an alternative to redundancies or part-time working
  • Inflexible approaches in projects that receive subsidies, as problems may appear later because of EU rules
  • A negative shock to demand, which is already widely evident

How much will it cost to recover from the economic downturn?

The restrictions on economic activity and movement associated with preventing the spread of coronavirus seriously undermine the functioning of our labour market and business. As the causes of the crisis are not related to the Estonian economy, the Government is obliged to do its utmost to mitigate the impact of the crisis on both businesses and households. The further development of economic conditions is unclear, and it is important to monitor the progress of measures to those in need. If the crisis lasts longer than expected, the country must be prepared to consider additional aid measures. Therefore, it is still early to talk about the final amounts of the financial costs of exiting from the crisis.

The impact of crisis mitigation measures in the additional budget adopted by the Parliament for 2020 on the budgetary position of the government sector is EUR 1.15 billion this year. As a result of the crisis, lower tax revenues, financing transactions and the use of reserves will increase the negative cash flow of the Treasury to EUR 3.8 billion this year. To cover the negative cash flow, the Treasury plans to borrow and issue bonds of EUR 3.5 billion. As a result, the government debt burden will rise to around 22% of Estonia's gross domestic product (GDP) by the end of the year.

How does the state handle the situation where a company is unable to pay their employees?

The board of the Unemployment Insurance Fund agreed on March 18, that the Unemployment Insurance Fund plans to compensate 70 percent of salary within two months to avoid layoffs in affected companies.

According to the plan, companies whose turnover and income have fallen sharply and whose employees have no work will be compensated for 70 percent of employees' gross income for two months from March to May. Companies must also participate in the compensation themselves.

To be eligible for compensation, a company must two conditions out of three:

  1. the company's turnover must have fallen by at least 30 percent compared to the same period previous year;
  2. the company cannot provide employment for at least 30% of its employees;
  3. employees' salaries have been reduced by at least 30 percent.

The measure will apply retroactively from 1 March to 31 May, 2020. The compensation may be claimed for up to two months' salary for the period chosen by the employer within that three-month period. The measure therefore also applies to workers who have already received notice of redundancy as from 1 March.

On May 13, 2020, the Board of the Unemployment Insurance Fund decided to extend the compensation measure for payroll until June, changing its conditions. The Government of the Republic approved of the decision on May 28. Remuneration compensation is currently 50% of the salary.

Compensation shall be paid if, the turnover or income of the company has decreased compared to June last year at least 50%.

In addition, the company must meet one of the following two conditions:

  • there is no employment under agreed terms to at least 50 % of the employees of the company, and the working hours of the employees has been reduced by at least 30%,

  • the wages or salaries of at least 50 % of the employees of the company has been reduced by at least 30% or to the minimum wage.

  • The employer has reduced the working hours or the wages of the employees for the entire month of June.

  • The compensation can be applied for by both private and public sector employers, regardless of the size of the company.

  • Payroll compensation for June can be requested by the companies who have no tax debt or who have applied for deferred tax payment.

The employer can apply for compensation for employees working based on an employment contracts whose employment relationship began no later than on March 1, 2020 and for whom an entry has been made of the same date to the employment register.

  • Compensation shall be paid to those employees who have not been provided with employment as agreed by the employer or whose salary has been reduced.

  • The amount of compensation is 50% of the average monthly salary. The maximum amount of compensation is 800 euros. In addition, the employer has to pay the employee a salary of at least 150 euros (gross). The employer must make their payment before the submission of the application.

  • The employee will receive at least a minimum wage, i.e. 584 euros combined from the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the employer. If the employee has received lower salary than the minimum salary due to the part-time nature of their work, their current income level will remain the same.

  • In July, the employers can also apply for wage or salary compensation for June for those employees for whom compensation was applied for March, April or May. Therefore, the employee may receive compensation for a maximum of three months instead of two months.

  • the Unemployment Insurance Fund and the employer pay the social tax, unemployment insurance tax and compulsory pension tax and income tax on the compensation or wages, respectively.

It is said that the state plans to support companies through short and long-term aid packages. What exactly are they?

The government adopted a short-term package on March 19. State funds are channelled to support businesses through KredEx and the Rural Development Foundation. The package also includes Unemployment Insurance Fund labour market support, sickness benefits, tax benefits and allows tax arrears to be deferred for 18 months. It also includes the temporary suspension of the second pillar contribution to the pension fund and the partial reimbursement of the direct costs of the cancelled events.

Content of the package:

  • Additional grants through KredEx. Read more about the services here: https://kredex.ee/en/koroona
  • Labour market services provided by the Unemployment Insurance Fund to support reduced wages. The total amount is EUR 250 million and is subject to the following conditions:
  1. the benefit is available to any qualifying employer for a period of two months from March to May 2020;
  2. the allowance shall be paid up to a maximum of EUR 1000 per month and per worker;
  3. the allowance shall be payable, as a general rule, at 70% of the gross salary of the employee over the previous 12 months, plus at least EUR 150 gross salary from the employer. The Unemployment Insurance Fund and the employer pay all taxes on wages and allowances.
  • From March to May, the state will reimburse the employee for the first three days of sick leave for all sick leave certificates.
  • Rural businesses can apply for a guarantee (up to EUR 50 million), a working loan (up to EUR 100 million) or land capital (up to EUR 50 million) from the Rural Development Foundation.
  • Advance social tax aid measure will be implemented for self-employed workers.
  • Pillar II pension fund contributions will be temporarily suspended.
  • The State will reimburse up to € 3 million of the direct costs of cultural and sporting events that were scheduled between March and April but have been cancelled due to COVID-19.

 

Used masks

 

If I have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or if I suspect that I have been infected, how should I dispose of my infected waste (masks, gloves, paper tissues, etc.)?

If you are ill or if you suspect illness, the waste you produce should be placed in a plastic bag, tied tightly and discarded among the mixed municipal waste. Since people do come in direct contact with waste, it should be considered contagious. Therefore, it is important that possibly contaminated waste should not be sorted.

If I have used single-use mask and gloves in a shop, how do I dispose of them after shopping?

  • if you have been in a public space, such as a food store, put your used mask, gloves, tissues and other items which might be a potential source of contamination, into a separate plastic bag, close the bag firmly, so it would not pose danger to the others. Some stores have separate disposal units for the disposal of personal protective equipment. If there are no special units, dispose of your used personal protection equipment as general household waste.

  • the used personal protective equipment must not be placed in the rubbish bin in a way that would allow access to these items for other persons, such as people searching through the rubbish who might get infected this way. The used personal protective equipment or other waste must not be thrown anywhere else outside the store nor in any green areas.

If I use a home-made mask, how do I dispose of it?

  • Instructions on how to make a home-made mask have been published by the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. https://www.ttja.ee/et/uudised/ttja-koostas-juhendi-kuidas-valmistada-nii-meditsiinilisi-kui-isetehtud-maske

  • If the mask can be used more than once, then according to the instructions it needs to be washed in the washing machine at no less than 60 degrees.

  • If you want to dispose of the mask after the use, put it in a plastic bag, close the bag firmly and dispose it to the general household waste.

  • If you want to dispose of the mask after the end of the emergency situation when there is no more risk of spreading the virus, dispose it to the textile waste.

Disinfectant bottles are packages, where should they be discarded?

Packages, paper and cardboard, and other waste should still be sorted, but if possible, wait for disposal until you are well. If you cannot wait with the disposal, then possibly contaminated waste should not be discarded according to the type of waste, but closed in plastic bags and discarded in the mixed municipal waste bins. If you are not sure of whether your waste is contaminated or not, act as if it is.

 

Psychological support

 

How can I maintain my mental health during the crisis and how can get help if I need it?

  • Be kind to yourself and to others around you! Take into account that adapting to a new situation can be stressful for everyone.
  • Develop a daily routine: get enough sleep, maintain a healthy lifestyle, establish fixed working and rest times.
  • Be there for the others! Call every day to a few friends or family members, check how they are doing.
  • If you are concerned about your mental health, talk to someone you trust.
  • If you are taking any medication to support your mental health, do not stop taking it.
  • Child support telephone: 116 111 and www.lasteabi.ee offers support to children and adolescents.
  • Psychological first aid can be reached at the national crisis hotline 1247 and www.palunabi.ee. In order to provide assistance, the specialists of the Social Insurance Board victim support crisis hotline 116 006 have been involved.

Over the phone you get advice on how to maintain the mental health of yourself and others during the crisis. People are welcome to call if they are concerned about their loved ones and want to discuss how to provide them with better emotional support. Everybody is welcome to call, including people fighting the virus on the frontline, doctors, nurses, policemen, rescuers, teachers, etc., to support their ability to continue their work and prevent the burnout. You can call and speak in Estonian, Russian or English 24/7. People who prefer not to call can be advised over internet at https://www.palunabi.ee/.

  • The website https://peaasi.ee offers web-based mental health counselling.
  • Contact your family doctor who can refer you to a specialist.
  • If necessary, contact your psychologist or psychiatrist – they continue offering support over telephone and internet

 

National Insurance Board services, pension

 

Will the offices of the Social Insurance Board stay open?

Social Insurance Board offices will be opened gradually.

  • On May 21, offices of Tallinn, Haapsalu and Kärdla were opened.

  • On May 25, Rakvere, Kohtla-Jäve, Jõhvi, Narva, and Kuressaare offices will be open.

  • On 26, Paide, Türi, Viljandi, Pärnu, and Rapla offices will be opened,

  • On May 28 Jõgeva, Tartu, Põlva, Võru, and Valga offices will be opened.

Please call the information hotline tel: 6121360 Monday to Friday, from 9:00 to 18:00, and by e-mail info[at]sotsiaalkindlustusamet[dot]ee.

In the interest of the health of the clients and the officials, 2+2 rule applies to all the service premises. According to this rule, the number of clients in the premises cannot exceed the number of service providers, and when waiting, at least two metres of distance must be kept from other people. Safety dividers have been placed on the desks, both the customers and the employees are also asked to disinfect their hands.

There is no need to rush to the offices, e-services are available from the website eesti.ee or the Social Insurance Board website self-service page. If you have any questions, you can also call the information hotline tel 612 1360. Applications can be submitted at website eesti.ee, self-service website of the Board, sent with a digital signature to info[at]sotsiaalkindlustusamet[dot]ee, or by regular post to Paldiski mnt 80, 15092 Tallinn.

Client account managers, child protection and victim support offices will start receiving the clients. In agreement with the customer, meetings can be organised also outdoors.

How can I apply for a pension in the current situation?

To receive a pension, complete the application you can find on the website of the Social Insurance Board.

There are three options for submitting the application:

  1. Sign the application digitally and submit it by e-mail to info[at]sotsiaalkindlustusamet[dot]ee
  2. The application can also be completed and signed on paper and sent by post to Paldiski mnt 80, Tallinn, 15092.
  3. Social Insurance Board customer service office - these offices are opened gradually. On May 21, offices of Tallinn, Haapsalu and Kärdla are opened, on May 25, offices of Rakvere, Kohtla -Järve, Jõhvi, Narva and Kuressaare are opened, on May 26, offices of Paide, Türi, Viljandi, Pärnu and Rapla are opened, and on May 28, offices of Jõgeva, Tartu, Põlva, Võru, and Valga are opened.

Application can be submitted:

  • six months before retirement if you want to start to receive your old age pension from the first day you have the right to do so.
  • no later than three months after retirement.

For more information see: https://www.sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee/et/pension-toetused/pensioni-taotlemine.

 

Support for children

 

Where should children and adults who are in trouble turn to when they need advice and help with matters regarding children?

The Child Helpline 116 111 operates all over Estonia 24/7, in Estonian and Russian, also in English if necessary. The calls are free to all callers, it is possible to call from a mobile phone even if you are out of call credit. All queries that have to do with children, topics connected to children are welcome, also notifications of children in need of assistance. It is open for both children themselves and adults -- parents, relatives, specialists, neighbours, friends, and acquaintances. But also everybody else who needs advice regarding children. You can also ask for advice by e-mail, writing to info[at]lasteabi[dot]ee. There is also the possibility to use internet counselling on the webpage of the Child Helpline http://www.lasteabi.ee The queries are answered by experienced counsellors who first establish the reason for the query and then give advice and instructions on how to act in that situation. If quick intervention is necessary in the interests of the child, they cooperate with the police, the Child Protection Department of the Social Insurance Board and the local child protection worker. The person making the query may remain anonymous if they so wish. If the query makes it clear that the wellbeing and safety of the child are in danger, the Child Helpline is obligated to forward the information to the relevant specialists. All queries are recorded. The Child Helpline can also be found on Facebook and as an app on a smart device, using the search term "Lasteabi" on both.

 

Unused tickets and compensation

 

Will events, for example, plays and concerts definitely be cancelled, or is it possible that they will be postponed?

This is something each organiser decides for themselves, according to their judgement and means. These organisations will be the ones to inform you of any changes to their schedules or programmes. This has also been done already and the public has been notified of changes. Keep an eye on the notifications that the organisers publish.

Can private cultural operators count on state support if the event is cancelled or tickets are returned?

If the cancelled or postponed event has received support from the state budget, please immediately inform the Ministry of Culture. Issues related to a cancelled or postponed event and state support will be resolved on a case-by-case basis. Grants will not be reclaimed all over the board.

What is going to happen to tickets purchased from advance ticket sales?

According to the Ministry of Culture, the rights of the ticket holders, and the obligations of the organisers of the cancelled cultural event due to COVID-19 virus, must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. It is necessary to evaluate the content of the agreement concluded between the parties and the possibility of amending the agreement in order to find a mutually appropriate solution. Agencies and organisations organising events may offer, for example, gift cards or an event to take place at an alternative time, but if the ticket holder does not agree with the offer, they reserve the right to withdraw from the agreement and to get a refund for the tickets.

Due to the high number of cancelled events, please be patient during this process.

How is the state supporting the organizers of cultural and sports events, institutions and freelancers who incur huge losses because of the emergency situation?

There is a crisis package to mitigate the crisis that has hit the culture and sports sector because of the emergency situation.

The goal is to give emergency assistance related to the corona crisis as follows:

  • compensation of costs already incurred by organizations due to the suspension of their activities, or unavoidable future costs -- close to 20 million Euros;
  • freelance creative persons, coaches and instructors of folk culture collectives -- close to 5 million Euros.

More information here: https://www.kul.ee/et/abipakett.

Entrepreneurs and creators will be supported with other means as well.

  • Creative enterprises are recommended to us the application round of Enterprise Estonia.
  • Freelance creative persons might find of help the support for a creative activity to creative persons engaged in a liberal profession provided by the Creative Persons and Artistic Associations Act. The budget for the support for creative activity will increase considerably and it will be possible to make support payments to about 1200 freelance creative person who can be active in whichever form and do not need to be members of any artistic associations. You can find more information here.
  • The Cultural Endowment of Estonia has introduced a measure for the emergency situation which would allow for the foundations and county expert groups to allocate special grants for the purposes of maintaining creative and sporting activities. For additional information see: kulka.ee. https://kulka.ee/uudised/eesti-kultuurkapitali-noukogu-poordumine-ja-erimeetmed-kriisi-leevendamiseks
  • The Government has adopted a support package which suspends the advance payment of social taxes for natural person entrepreneurs, so self-employed persons do not have to pay the social tax advance for the first quarter. https://www.emta.ee/et/uudised/riik-toetab-fie-sid-sotsiaalmaksu-tasumisega
  • The Tax and Customs Board suspended calculating interest on tax arrears from March 1, until the end of the emergency situation. When the emergency situation is over, the interest on tax debt will be reduced by half (from 0.06 % to 0.03).
  • Compensation for reduced remuneration will be provided by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund for the total amount of EUR 250 million
  • The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications has established an e-mail address for businesses to get assistance with their concerns and questions: covid19[at]mkm[dot]ee.

More information on the website of the Ministry of Culture.

 

Support for victims

 

If someone has been beaten, experienced mental or sexual violence, been a victim of negligence or maltreatment, where should they turn for help?

People are welcome to call the victim support crisis hotline 116 006, the call is free of charge and the service is available 24/7. If they so desire, the person calling the victim support crisis hotline may remain anonymous. The calls can be made in Estonian, Russian or English. If making a phone call is not possible, or if the person does not like to talk about their problem over the phone, assistance can be provided by contacting palunabi.ee where the victim can receive advice and have a conversation using a chat window. Web counselling takes place 24/7 and in three languages.

Crisis counselling 25/7 via telephone and internet helps the victims to reach the necessary help. For example, the victim can contact the crisis hotline at the presence of the police patrol, or later, in order to receive initial advice and agree a meeting with the victim support specialist. Victim support crisis hotline can be called from abroad at: +372 614 7393.

 

Medical commissions for persons eligible for drafting

 

When and how are medical evaluation boards for call-up selectees taking place?

The medical evaluation boards of the Defence Resources Agency started on May 11.

The Defence Resources Agency invites all young people aged 18 to 27 who want to start their conscription service in July but have not yet passed their medical evaluation board, to sign up as soon as possible by sending a message to the Agency´s Facebook page, or submitting an application for conscription on the website www.kaitsevaeteenistus.ee.

Medical evaluation boards will take place with reduced physical contact and following the personal protection requirements. The medical evaluation board sees 16 potential conscripts during one day instead of 30-40. The Agency ensures compliance with the 2+2 rule and the use of personal protective equipment and disinfectants. All surfaces are disinfected after each call-up selectee.

Additional information : https://kaitsevaeteenistus.ee, info[at]kra[dot]ee, tel 800 2525 and 717 0700.

 

Weddings

 

Can I get married? What are the special requirements?

As the situation, including the lifting of restrictions, can change quickly, we ask that the organizers of weddings keep themselves up to date with what restrictions in force in the country. To find out what rules are in force in the institution where the marriage is registered, you must contact the local municipality, clergyman or notary that performs the registration.

In public places and indoors (except home), at least 2-metre distance should be kept from other people. Public places would include playgrounds, sports facilities, beaches, promenades, hiking trails, etc. In a public place it is not allowed for more than 2 people to be together, this restriction does not apply to families and to people performing public duties.

Great care must be taken when organizing private parties. The risk of infection does not depend on whether the event or gathering is public or private. It is very important to follow the simple guidelines that we have been basing ourselves on this whole time: keep a physical distance with others, follow all hygiene requirements etc.

When organizing a private gathering, it is particularly important to protect older and immunocompromised people, as they are at the biggest risk from the coronavirus. The responsible attitude of the person organizing a family gathering helps to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid new victims.

When planning the number of wedding guests, make sure that everybody has enough space in order to keep the necessary safe distance from others if they so wish. Before engaging in the customary embracing or handshaking, think about how this might enable the virus to spread.

More information on how to avoid the coronavirus can be found on this web page: https://www.kriis.ee/en/coronavirus-its-prevention-symptoms-and-how-it-spreads. We recommend that everybody acquaints themselves with this information before participating in the event.

 

Work of the prosecutor’s office

 

What kind have changes have taken place in the work of the Prosecutor's Office?

The Prosecutor's Office will carry out their tasks also during the emergency situation. Lodging an application about a committed crime can be submitted electronically to the Police and Border Guard Board website. Citizens cannot currently make an appointment with the Prosecutor´s Office, and face-to-face meetings will take place only if necessary. Digital solutions are used whenever possible to carry out procedural inquiries. You can contact the Prosecutor's Office by phone and e-mail, contact information can be found on the website of the Prosecutor's Office https://www.prokuratuur.

 

Waste management, recycling and processing waste

 

Am I allowed to burn my waste in a bonfire to avoid any risk of infection?

No. Burning waste in a bonfire or in a home stove or fireplace is forbidden as poisonous compounds hazardous to heath are released in the course of it.

How can I take out the garbage while in isolation?

In single family, detached homes it is simple – keep an eye on the waste sorting requirements and take the waste to the container. In apartment buildings it is more complicated, and the best thing to do would be to not go outside your apartment during isolating. However, if it seems that the collected waste is starting to become visibly and perceptibly problematic, ask for someone’s help in getting it to the container. This means that the waste must be sealed in a plastic bag and the bag placed outside the apartment door, while wearing disposable gloves. Someone, also wearing protective gear, will then take it away.

If I am well, not contagious, and staying home, like everyone, what should I do about sorting waste?

In that case, everything will work as it usually does and you can continue sorting waste. We would like to remind you that tissues should not be discarded among the paper waste. Usually tissues, including single use napkins and paper towels, should be discarded among the biodegradable waste.

  • Empty disinfectant bottles are packages and should be placed in the package bin.
  • Disposable rubber gloves that you might use, for example, when going to the shop, should be discarded among the mixed municipal waste, preferably in a closed plastic bag.
  • It is very important to wash hands with warm water and soap or use disinfectant. We would like to emphasise that you should do this also after touching the waste bin.

How should the work of the waste collection points be organised?

  • The waste collection point should avoid cash payments to avoid the spread of the virus and permit only card payments.

  • ID-cards can be used for identification only if it is possible to avoid contact with another person when handing the ID-card over (for example, the client can introduce the card to the card reader themselves). Other means of identification would involve checking the persons address.

  • The employees of the waste management point must be aware of potential risks and observe stricter hygiene requirements.

  • Do not touch the waste at the waste collection point, it might be contaminated. If possible, wait at least 72 hours before you start with waste treatment process to avoid infection.

  • At the waste collection point the work procedures and the use of space must be organised so it would allow sufficient distance between people, for example avoiding contact when queueing, etc.

  • At the waste collection point, use disinfectants regularly to clean the ID card reader, the card payment terminal, and other frequent use surfaces (doorknobs, handles, etc.).

  • If the waste collection point on the territory of the local government is closed, the local government will need to provide appropriate information to the residents. People might use this time to rid of their households of waste, therefore the local government should provide information to their residents whether the waste disposal is possible. It is recommended to avoid going to the waste collection points even if they are open until the virus is under control – this is safer both for the employees of the waste collection points and the residents.

  • When working at the waste disposal point it is very important to wash your hands with soap and warm water often or to use disinfectants.

What are the requirements for waste management?

  • An employer must ensure that their employees are aware of the possible dangers and guidelines for conduct during the current situation. All the usual requirements set out in law and in the environmental license still apply, including safety requirements for waste management.
  • Mixed municipal waste, which can contain waste generated by infected people, should not be handled before incineration or storage. Processing should only be automatised and people should not have contact with that type of waste.
  • Frequently used surfaces, such as door knobs and handles, devices, etc, should be disinfected regularly.
  • Employees must have the opportunity to wash hands frequently with warm water and soap or use disinfectants.

 

Work at pharmacies

 

Do pharmacies have to reorganise their work?

Of course pharmacies and pharmacists also have to do everything possible to reduce the risk of infection. It is necessary to protect pharmacists, but also front line medical workers and patients who come into the pharmacy. Standard measures of caution should be followed in pharmacies.

The virus spreads from person to person through droplet infection, mainly through a close contact with a person with a suspected infection who has symptoms characteristic to the infection, mainly a cough. A pharmacist must keep a distance with the client, when possible use protective gloves and when necessary a protective mask. It is also sensible to reorganise the work of the pharmacy: limit the free movement of people among the shelves, disinfect surfaces that are in frequent use, restrict several people entering at the same time etc.

Many pharmacies have already reorganised their work this way to reduce the risk of infection.

The web page of the Estonian Health Board contains all the guidelines that pharmacies have to base themselves on as well. https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/COVID-19-trukised.

The Agency of Medicines has also worked out recommendations in order to protect both the pharmacists and the patients: https://www.ravimiamet.ee/kkk-%E2%80%93-covid-19-ja-apteegid

 

Churches and services, confession

 

Do regular church services take place?

As of May 10, holding of public religious services and other religious events is allowed, provided that special conditions have been met. In a church, the same hygiene and infection prevention measures need to be observed as in any other public space. Compliance with the 2-by-2 rule and the availability of disinfectants must be ensured.

Until May 10, all religious-ecclesiastical public events, including religious services, church concerts and other gatherings of people, have been cancelled or postponed. The conduct of religious services has been so far permitted in unavoidable and isolated circumstances, and to be held privately, provided that measures are provided to prevent possible spread of infection.

Are churches open?

As of May 10, holding of public religious services and other religious events is allowed, provided that special conditions have been met. Compliance with the 2-by-2 rule and the availability of disinfectants must be ensured. In order for people to fulfil their personal spiritual needs, churches and other prayer houses and venues have been open for private services and personal visits.

Is it possible to go for a confession?

Holding of religious rites is allowed privately if measures are taken to avoid possible spread of infection. You have to keep at least 2 meters apart from other people. Up to 2 people can be together in a public place.

Is communion held?

Holding of religious rites is allowed privately if measures are taken to avoid possible spread of infection. You have to keep at least 2 meters apart from other people. Up to 2 people can be together in a public place.

Does pastoral counseling take place?

Religious rites are allowed if measures are taken to avoid possible infection of people. You have to keep at least 2 meters apart from other people, unless it is not possible to guarantee this.

Are there special requirements for attending church?

As of May 10, holding of public religious services and other religious events is allowed, provided that special conditions have been met. In a church, the same hygiene and infection prevention measures need to be observed as in any other public space. Compliance with the 2-by-2 rule and the availability of disinfectants must be ensured.

 

KredEx measures

 

What additional services will the KredEx Foundation provide to companies affected by crisis? When will these services become available?

The KredEx Foundation package of measures have been developed based on various probable crisis scenarios, and with the aim of helping companies to prevent or mitigate liquidity problems.

Pursuant to the decision of the Government, KredEx Foundation will offer the following new services within the framework of the existing economic package in the following order:

  • for loan guarantees to offer additional surety for new and existing bank loans. KredEx will receive targeted special purpose support up to EUR 1 Billion euros for loan guarantees.
  • for revolving business loans in the amount of EUR 500 Million in order to help the companies to overcome liquidity problems caused by the coronavirus, including, where necessary, the re-payment of bank loans.
  • for investment loans in the amount of EUR 50 Million to provide investment loans to companies so they can overcome problems caused by the coronavirus.

More information can be found at: https://kredex.ee/et/koroona

 

Work of the government commission

 

What are the tasks of the government commission created on 12 March?

On 12 March, 2020, the government formed a commission to handle the spread of the coronavirus and to manage problems related to public health and the economy. 

The task of the government commission is to ensure that situations concerning the spread of the virus are resolved, to coordinate the cooperation of state and local government instances, and to coordinate the use of resources and capabilities. 

The commission has the right to delegate tasks to the executive branch of the state authorities and to obtain information from them about the completion of tasks.

Who belongs to the government commission?

The activities of the commission are headed by the Prime Minister. The commission members include: the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Infrastructure, the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Minister of Social Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Education and Research, the Minister of Defence, and the Secretary of State. The commission may include additional members in its work as needed. 

The current inter-agency working group, led by the Minister of Social Affairs, transferred the work to a team assisting the Government Committee, consisting of representatives of the ministries and agencies concerned.

When and how often does the Government Committee meet?

The Government Committee meets according to need.

On Thursdays, after the Government meeting, there will be an extended meeting of the Committee where all members of the Government participate.

 

Work of the scientific advisory board

 

What is the role of the Government Committee Scientific Advisory Board?

On 20 March, the Government Committee of the Emergency Situation convened a Scientific Advisory Board to gather and to analyse expert information for the Government Committee. Among other things, the impact of the restrictions currently in force on the prevention and control of the spread of the virus will be assessed. Professor Irja Lutsar of the Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine of the University of Tartu was approved as head of the COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Board. The members of the Advisory Board are Kristi Rüütel, Research Secretary of the National Institute for Health Development, chief doctor Peep Talving of North-Estonian Regional Hospital, Professor of Surgical Diseases at the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Tartu, Doctor of Infectious Diseases at the University of Tartu Pillerin Soodla and Applied Virologist at the University of Tartu Professor Andres Merits.

 

Defence Force

 

What kind of precautions have the defence forces taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 into the defence forces?

The Estonian Defence Forces have limited the movements of active troops abroad and have very critically reviewed the needs and objectives of foreign missions. The Estonian Defence Forces are not to be deployed abroad for foreign missions. All service personnel arriving from other countries will be working from home for the restriction period, if possible. As a preventive measure, the service personnel who might have been exposed to infected persons when abroad will be also working from home, if possible.

For each planned operation in Estonia, the heads of the military units will make a decision whether or not to cancel. If an event has participants who are from outside the Defence Forces, the head of the unit has the right to cancel or use remote work possibilities. Events that turn into public events will be coordinated with the local government.

All movements of active servicemen related to the training exercises of conscripts will be restricted, if possible they will stay at military bases overnight. Servicemen who display the symptoms of disease will work remotely.

How does the Defence Forces separate sick or people who are possible virus carriers from others?

As a precaution, quarantine and isolation are applied in the Defence Forces. Sick staff are placed in quarantine and are separated from others. The isolation is also applied to staff who have no symptoms but are suspected to have been exposed to the virus.

 

Local government work

 

How should the sittings of a council and a government of a city or a rural municipality be held?

Although the emergency situation in Estonia ended on May 18, 2020, (Order No. 76 of the Government of the Republic of Estonia of 12.03.2020)(https://www.valitsus.ee/et/eriolukord) the rules for preventing coronavirus must still be followed in public meetings. This must also be followed by the organisers of public viewings of spatial plans.

1. In public viewings of spatial plans people must be able to get acquainted with all the materials of the spatial plan in the declared area (urban and rural areas, districts) both in electronic and non-electronic form.

The local government must also ensure access to the published materials as a paper copy.

During the emergency situation, the public viewings of spatial plans were suspended, but it is now advisable start again with public viewings, providing information of the viewing to the public in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Planning Act.

When carrying out public viewings of spatial plans, we recommend to follow the following guidelines:

  • advise the public to view the materials first in the electronic form, providing guidance and explanations for that purpose. Arriving in person to view the materials is justified if you cannot get access to electronic materials.

  • request people to inform in advance if they would like to see the materials to ensure proper precautions can be taken. This information should also be provided in the notice of public review.

  • ensure the safety of access to non-electronic materials:

    • following the 2 + 2 rule,
    • using disinfectants,
    • not allowing people with symptoms of the disease to come into contact with local authorities’ premises and spatial plan materials,
    • following the established rules and taking into account the possibility that they may change.

2. Public discussions of spatial plans postponed due to the emergency situation. According to the [Administrative Procedure Act] (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/113032019055?leiaKehtiv) § 41, the administrative body shall be required, in the event that the administrative act or procedure cannot be performed or implemented within the time limit, without delay, to notify the likely time of granting or carrying out the administrative act and to indicate non-performance of the deadline and the cause. The new deadline for carrying out the administrative act, i.e. organising a public consultation depends when the restriction of public meetings is lifted.

The new time for the public discussion must be notified to all the people and institutions who were informed of the holding of public discussions. This must be done using the same channels used for informing the public of the public discussion, and its postponement earlier.

3. When organising public discussions or public meetings, the rules set out in order No. 172 of the Government of the Republic (https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/317052020005) must be complied with.

3.1. Discussion held after the public viewing of the spatial plan where the opinions and objections of the persons known to the parties of the proceedings are discussed, the discussion should be organised electronically. All parties must give their consent to this process and confirm that the necessary technical conditions are met. The same applies to the discussions that take place in the approval procedure of the spatial plan.

3.2. In the case public discussions of the comprehensive plan, thematic spatial plan of the comprehensive plan, local government designated spatial plan and detailed spatial plan (except for the discussion held after the public presentation of the detailed plan, see p 3.1), which is of interest for the wider public and where it is not possible to define the circle of participants, the order No. 172 of the Government of the Republic of 16.05.2020 shall be observed, and the easing of restrictive measures shall be implemented as follows:

  1. As of May 18, 2020, holding of public meetings is allowed, provided that the organiser of the meeting ensures:
  • 2 + 2 rule,
  • use of maximum 50% of the capacity indoors, but no more than 10 persons,
  • outdoors no more than 100 participants.
  1. As of June 1, 2020, public meetings are permitted provided that the organiser of the meeting ensures:
  • 2 + 2 rule,
  • use of maximum 50% of the capacity indoors, but no more than 50 persons,
  • outdoors no more than 100 participants.
  1. As of July 1, 2020, holding of public meetings and public events is allowed, provided that the organiser of the meeting or the event ensures:
  • 2 + 2 rule,
  • use of maximum 50% of the capacity indoors, but no more than 500 persons,
  • outdoors no more than 1000 participants.

Considering the current restrictions, it is advisable to suggest participation in the public discussion over internet. If necessary, it is important to co-operate with the consultant's office developing the spatial plan.

Summary:

If there is no possibility of accessing electronic materials, you can come to the place intended for publication, including the local government centre.

  • in order to ensure compliance with the rules (adequate space and maximum number of persons), and the health and safety of participants, the participants need to be registered prior the event. This information should be published alongside with the notification regarding the public debate.

  • if necessary, the dates or times of the discussions need to be adjusted to guarantee health and safety.

  • people participating in the discussions must be healthy. Preventive measures, such as disinfectants, must be provided. People with symptoms of the disease cannot be allowed to attend.

  • observe the national guidelines, taking into account the possibility that they may change.

We appreciate your understanding that the new requirements in place as of May 18, 2020 do not constitute a normal situation. An exceptional situation requires extraordinary measures. The first priority is public health and safety. Responsible behaviour of spatial planning organisers ensures uniformity and legal clarity of planning processes and the safety of participants.

Where can the local municipality get the latest information about implementing the decisions of the government?

Local municipalities will receive the latest information about the government decisions and their implementation from the regional crisis commissions.Local municipalities will receive the latest information about the government decisions and their implementation from the regional crisis commissions. The information on different topics that have to do with the local municipalities can also be found on the web page of the Ministry of Finance: https://www.rahandusministeerium.ee/et/koroonaviiruse-korduma-kippuvad-kusimused.

 

Foreign missions

 

What happens to the Estonian troops currently serving on international missions? Will they return home? Will there be any new deployments?

In view of the current security situation and the spread of the coronavirus, the Iraqi Government has proposed to postpone the current training activities for Iraqi units indefinitely. As a result, the Estonian training team, which served in Iraq as part of the Danish contingent, was sent back to Estonia. The flight home of the 6-member training team which is part of the US-led operation Inherent Resolve, is arranged by Denmark.

The Estonian Defence Forces are currently participating in nine different international military operations with slightly more than 100 active service members in total. According to the current plan, the Defence Forces will continue to participate in international military operations following already established principles.

Changes are made according to the changing situation in order to ensure the health and safety of the troops.

Due to the corona pandemic and the associated movement restrictions, the duration of the troops´ deployment may be extended. Changes are made according to the need and the changing situation.

How many Estonian soldiers in total are currently serving in foreign missions?

The defence forces are currently participating in nine different international military operations with slightly more than 100 active service members in total.

Does the corona virus change the activities and tasks of the Estonian servicemen participating foreign missions in any way? Will the soldiers be brought back home?

According to the current plan, the defence forces will continue their participation in international military operations on the same principles, any changes made will be in accordance with the changing situation, to guarantee the health and safety of our units. Due to the spread of the corona virus, most of the countries in the world have declared an emergency situation on their territory and implemented an entry ban or restrictions to entry. As civil aviation companies are cancelling their flights due to airport closures and there are no departures or arrivals, the service time of servicemen participating in foreign missions will be extended up to two months or until air traffic is restored.

How is the safety of the soldiers participating in foreign missions and their protection from the corona virus guaranteed?

The headquarters of different military operations have already implemented and, if necessary, will implement further restrictions to the activities and tasks of the units in the framework of the operation to guarantee the safety of the personnel and avoid them getting infected with the virus. In addition to generally known hygiene requirements, the movement of people and contact with civilians will be restricted in necessary. The quarantine and isolation requirements already set by different countries will also apply to those going to the area of operations and returning from there.

Does the spread of the corona virus influence the return home of the soldiers in any way when their service time is up?

The COVID-19 pandemic and the traffic restrictions it has caused might extend the period of time that the units spend in the area of operations. The changes are made according to need and the changing situation.

Currently all planned vacations, terrain intelligence collections and visits have been either cancelled or postponed. This is mainly due to the wish to avoid people getting infected with the virus and the restrictions countries have set to international travel.

Why are the servicemen participating in foreign missions not able to come to Estonia for a vacation at the planned time?

Most countries in the world have implemented an entry ban or restrictions to entry and there are also compulsory quarantine periods in place upon entry into the country. Civil airlines are cancelling their flights due to airport closures. In this situation, all kind of international movement and crossing of state borders is more complicated.

The restrictions and bans are also in place in most of the countries where Estonian servicemen are participating in military operations or through which their transportation to the area of operations and home takes place. This means that the movement of people to the area of operation and back from there is currently more difficult. Taking into consideration the lowering of the infection risk of the soldiers serving in foreign missions, it is sensible to avoid their international movements until it becomes safer.

Could the soldiers participating in foreign missions run into problems with getting equipment and necessary supplies because of the transport issues?

The defence forces, in cooperation with our allies, guarantee that the units participating in international operations have all the necessary support and supplies.

What happens if a serviceman participating in a foreign mission gets infected with the corona virus?

Those who get sick during a military operation are guaranteed all possible medical help according to the order of things thus far. If necessary, the defence forces have the capability to extraordinarily transport the soldiers who are sick or in need of medical help back home.

 

Legal acts pertaining to the emergency situation

 

Where can you find legislation regarding emergency situation? Is the information available also in Russian and English?

Legislation on emergency situation will be published on the website of the Official Journal, where all legislation is available under direct links. The Acts of the Government of the Republic and the Orders of the person in charge of the emergency situation shall be published as soon as they have been submitted by the Office of the State, in case of amendments the wording is revised. The latest legislative acts are marked as ´New´ for the ease of use. If any new legistlative acts on emergency situation are published, the Facebook page of the Official Journal will be updated accordingly.

Both Estonian-language legislative acts and translations are constantly updated. The updates are published as the new wording of the whole text.

Additional information can be requested by e-mail to ert[at]riigiteataja[dot]ee.

 

Paying taxes

 

How does the state support businesses that are having trouble paying their taxes?

  • In order to mitigate the financial situation of companies, the Tax and Customs Board will suspend the calculation of interest on the corporate tax arrears during the emergency situation. Interest exemption will apply retroactively from March 1 until May 18.

  • As of May 18, the interest rate will be reduced from the current 0.06 per cent to 0.03 per cent. Going forward, the Tax and Customs Board may reduce the interest rate by 50 to 100 per cent.

  • The state is going to cover the first quarter advance social tax payments for self-employed persons to help them overcome the economic difficulties caused by the crisis. The state will transfer the first quarter advance payment of the social tax to the self-employed person's advance payment account at the Tax and Customs Board. If the self-employed person has already made the advance payment, they can use this amount to cover any current or future tax liability, as well as request the payment of these funds to their bank account.

  • If the entrepreneur wishes to participate in public procurements, apply for grants or permits from the state or local municipality, it is definitely necessary to organize the payment of arrears in instalments. The payment of tax arrears in instalments is also necessary for applying to several state support measures.

  • The payment of tax arrears in instalments is important even when the difficulties are long-term.

  • All tax returns must be correctly completed and submitted in due time so that the state can assess the real situation of companies and make the right decisions to help them.

Can a company simply not pay taxes?

The answer is no. The suspension of the calculation of interest form tax debt does not mean a general tax exemption. We understand that this is a difficult time for everyone. However, in order to ensure the functioning of the State, it is important that any person who is able to pay tax would still pay. In the current situation, this is more important than ever before.

How can businesses obtain up-to-date information regarding tax changes?

Tax and Customs Board service bureaus were reopened on May 18. To protect the health of the customers and the customer service officials, the 2+2 rule is in force in the service bureaus and the waiting rooms of the service bureaus will remain closed. Income tax returns of natural persons will be accepted both electronically and on paper until June 30.

  • The Tax and Customs Board opened a website that gathers together tax information regarding the emergency situation at https://www.emta.ee/eng/etcbs-information-emergency-situation, where companies will find answers to frequently asked questions and current news about the changes. Information on the website is being constantly updated.

  • In Russian, the answers to frequently asked questions can be found at https://www.emta.ee/ru/chrezvychaynaya-situacya.

  • For further questions, we ask the entrepreneurs to contact the e-mail address ariklient[at]emta[dot]ee or to call 880 0812. The Tax and Customs Board responds to the e-mails within five working days, if your question in more urgent, you should preferably try reaching us on the phone.

  • Customs information can be obtained from tolliinfo[at]emta[dot]ee or call: 880 0814

  • For technical issues and instructions regarding e-MTA, please contact e-maks[at]emta[dot]ee or call 880 0815.

  • Questions from private customers will be answered by eraklient[at]emta[dot]ee and by phone 880 0811.

 

Self-employed persons

 

What should a natural person enterpreneur do?

The state pays advance payments to self-employed persons (natural person entrepreneurs) in the first quarter to cover the social tax in order to help cope with the economic difficulties of the crisis.

The amount of the advance payment of the social security contributions of natural person entrepreneurs in the first quarter shall be transferred to their advance payment accounts in the Tax and Customs Board. If the natural person entrepreneur has already made the advance payment, they can use this money to cover any tax liability either presently or in the future, and they may request to receive it to their bank account.

Both for natural person entrepreneurs and for other taxpayers no tax debt interest calculations will be made within two months, i.e. from March 1 1 March to 1 May, and these interests will not need to be paid later.

If there are problems with payment, natural person entrepreneurs must also submit tax returns correctly, otherwise the State cannot obtain an adequate assessment of the status of entrepreneurs. When a tax debt is incurred, the Estonian Tax and Customs Board recommends the deferral of debt. The payment obligation can be deferred also when the date for payment has not yet arrived, but the tax return has already been submitted.

The calculation of interest from tax debt is suspended from March 1, to May 1. However, this does not mean that the tax should not be paid if it is possible – suspending the calculation of interest does not mean tax exemption.

The natural person entrepreneur needs to take into account that if they suspend their business activities in the Business Register, then their health care insurance will lapse in two months’ time. It would be advisable for people whose health care insurance depends on their activities as a natural person entrepreneur, not to suspend their business activities.

 

Defence League and Women’s Voluntary Defence Organisation

 

How are members of the Women's Voluntary Defence Organisation and the Estonian Defence League involved?

Until June 30, members of the Women's Voluntary Defence Organisation will continue their service at the Emergency Response Centre according to the official request for assistance. According to the agreement, the members are reimbursed for transport and catering costs, no compensation is paid.

Until June 30, the members of the Estonian Defence League and the Women´s Voluntary Defence Organisation will continue providing support to the East-Tallinn Central Hospital on the basis of a request for assistance. Members of the Defence League will carry out their duties in uniform and are assigned to service with an appointment letter. The hospital enters into contracts with the volunteers, no compensation is paid.

What happens if a volunteer gets infected with COVID-19?

The Defence League will not compensate the treatment costs related to sickness or, for instance, the loss of income due to quarantine.

At the same time, a valid health insurance is strictly recommended so that treatment options are ensured upon infection.

Should a participant develop permanent health damage or die due to what will later be proven to be the coronavirus, the case will be handled separately -- the Minister of Defence will decide whether there will be compensation or not.

The members of the Defence League/Women's Voluntary Defence Organization who have participated in the emergency situation in the framework of professional assistance have the possibility of getting tested, if necessary.

 

Testing for the virus

 

Should the employees be tested for COVID-19 before resuming work?

COVID-19 or the coronavirus disease is an acute respiratory infection which, as far as we know, does not turn into a chronic condition. Therefore, it is not appropriate to test the employee for the coronavirus before starting work or during the health check for the employee, employer or entrepreneur (see § 13 of the Act on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases), as employees are not tested for any other acute respiratory diseases (e.g. influenza, adenovirus or RS-virus).

In the case of acute respiratory infection, the principle applies that a person who is sick does not go to work until they have recovered from the disease. If anybody among the staff has contracted the coronavirus, the Health Board will identify people who have been exposed to the disease and, if necessary, advise them to stay away from work during the incubation period of the infection.

The following principles must be observed

  • The doctor decides if the patient has recovered;
  • The doctor takes into account the best evidence-based information available when making the decision;
  • the employer has no right to decide on the recovery of the employee or any conditions attached to the recovery of the employee;
  • the employer has the right to know whether the doctor has made the decision regarding recovery;
  • if the doctor has decided that the patient has recovered, then not allowing the person to return to work is not justified and is unlawful.

How is the work of drive-in testing sites organised? Can I go there on foot, by bike, take a car or a taxi?

The patient must arrive by car to the drive-in testing site to ensure maximum safety. Taking a sample from a person in a car reduces the risk of infection for both the clinician and the previous person and the next person being tested.

Arriving by car helps to avoid the situation where someone with a suspected virus infection will be in the public space and travel by public transport where they would come into contact with other people. This is the best option to minimise the spread of the virus.

Drive to the agreed site in time, bring your document. The sample can only be given by the person who has been referred, proof of identity must be provided. You cannot just show up, only previously registered people will be tested.

People with special needs or people who do not have cars can have their coronavirus testing sample taken at home, an appointment will be made.

Who will be included in the population-based study determining the virus antibodies and how will it be conducted?

On April 16, the government gave its support to conducting two seroepidemiological studies to determine the extent of the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia. A representative sample will be selected for testing in the population-based seroepidemiological study (i.e. a study that will determine the presence of virus antibodies). Participation in the planned study is voluntary. The pilot project of the seroepidemiological study will be carried out on Saaremaa and in Õismäe. The random samples of each community will be selected by the Estonian Health Insurance Board and the total number of study subjects will be 1080 people from Saaremaa and 1080 people from Õismäe. Family doctors will conduct the recruitment of volunteers and the taking of test samples for analysis. A sample of venous blood will be taken from people, to determine the presence of antibodies that show whether a person has already been exposed to the coronavirus. The study will last from May 1 to July 31. The pilot project is coordinated by the University of Tartu.

The expected goal of the testing is to establish how many people have already been exposed to the coronavirus. On the basis of the results of the study, it will be easier to decide which restrictions of the emergency situation can be eased and when.

In the framework of the COVID-19 monitoring system scientific project, a University of Tartu research team will carry out interviews and testing among a random sample covering the whole of Estonia. 2000 people will be tested weekly -- both symptomatic and asymptomatic, to evaluate the national spread of the virus in different counties and among different population groups. The COVID-19 monitoring programme is lead by the University of Tartu. The Government Commission will get weekly updates of the results of the monitoring.

What will the planned sero-epidemiological study show?

Seroepidemiological studies enable to determine whether there are virus antibodies in the blood.

If the virus has entered the organism and the person is presenting with symptoms, then about 5-10 days after the symptoms appear, the body starts to produce antibodies to fight the virus. Therefore, testing for antibodies is not necessary during the early stage of the disease. That is also the reason why the antibodies test cannot form the basis of determining the need for self-isolation.

Both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimate that determining antibodies might be necessary for assessing the immunity of the population, (resistance to virus(es)) during later sero-epidemiological studies.

On 16 April 2020, the government decided to support two sero-epidemiological studies in Estonia to determine the extent of the spread of coronavirus in the country.

With the testing it is hoped to receive information about how many people have been impacted by coronavirus. Results of the study will help to decide which emergency situation restrictions can be lifted. A population-based sero-epidemiological (i.e. virus antibody-determining) study certainly does not mean testing the entire population, but a representative sample will be selected for testing. Participation in the planned study is optional.

Testing will be carried out under the research project of the COVID-19 monitoring system and will be carried out by the research team of the University of Tartu. People will be selected based on random selection for testing across Estonia. Weekly, 2,000 people will be tested, regardless if they have symptoms or not, so it would be possible to assess the spread of the infection across the country in different counties and population groups. The results of the study shall be communicated to the Government Committee every week.

The sero-epidemiological research pilot project will be carried out in Saaremaa and Õismäe. The purpose of the study is to determine how many people have been exposed to the coronavirus.

The random selections of both communities will be established by the Estonian Health Insurance Fund. The total number of subjects is 1,080 people from Saaremaa and 1,080 people from Õismäe. A sample of blood will be taken from the vein, and the presence of antibodies will be determined, which shows whether a person has been infected with COVID-19. Recruitment of volunteers and sampling will be carried out by the family physicians. The study will take place from May 1 to July 31. The pilot project will be co-ordinated by the research group of the University of Tartu.

Is there information on the longevity of the immunity achieved after suffering through the coronavirus? How long might it last?

It is too early to say whether suffering though the disease will create immunity. The virus is new, only having emerged at the end of December. Based on previous viruses, including coronaviruses, it is probable that protecting antibodies will appear in people. But we cannot presume it with absolute certainty yet.

What kind of tests are currently used for early detection of a coronavirus infection?

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) currently recommend using molecular assays that detect SARS-CoV-2 virus RNA. These require well-equipped laboratories, skilled specialists and several reagents. At the same time the testing capability will not be able to keep up with the growing demand.

Several rapid tests that give a result in only 10 to 30 minutes have been developed. In order to guarantee the reliability of the results from these, the rapid tests have to be clinically validated. The WHO COVID-19 reference laboratory is currently validating commercial testing kits. The European Commission along with the member states is financing accelerated clinical validation studies of COVID-19 diagnostic rapid tests in the hospital laboratories of several member states.

The scientific publication of the results should soon bring clarity to how the diagnostic rapid tests work clinically, what their limitations are, and which tests are sufficiently safe and reliable to be used in medicine and public health. In validating the rapid tests, the ECDC is working in close co-operation with the European Commission, the authorities of the member states, a non-profit organization FIND (https://www.finddx.org) that is developing laboratory diagnostics, and WHO. The member states are notified immediately after the results have become clear.

What is a rapid coronavirus test coronavirus, and why is not used in Estonia?

Based on current knowledge and technology, the only reliable method for early diagnosis of coronavirus Covid-19 and the detection of infectious cases is the coronavirus RNA (nucleic acid) test. A nasal cotton swab will be taken. RNA diagnostics are carried out by major hospital laboratories and by SYNLAB and the Laboratory of The Health Board.

Other so-called serological rapid tests on the market which determine blood antigens or antibodies are not reliable and are not capable of assessing the patient's infection risks. According to the latest studies, early antibodies against coronavirus will develop 5-10 days after the onset of symptoms. Since the patient is highly infectious throughout this period, an antibody test is not suitable for early diagnosis of the disease and for determining the need for quarantine. Such rapid tests provide many false negative answers, which is why the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) are not recommending using them at the present stage. At the same time, both the WHO and the ECDC estimate that the determination of antibodies may be necessary for subsequent sero-epidemiological testing to assess the immunity of the population. At present, specialists and scientists believe that reliable sero-epidemiological tests can only be carried out under laboratory conditions.

A number of rapid tests have been developed, which will only take 10 to 30 minutes to provide the result. In order to ensure the reliability of the results obtained by them, rapid tests must be clinically validated. The WHO Covid-19 reference laboratory is currently validating commercial testing kits. The European Commission, together with the Member States, will finance accelerated clinical validation studies for rapid diagnostic tests in hospital laboratories in several Member States. The publication of results as scientific publications should shortly make it clear how rapid diagnostic tests work clinically, what are their limitations and which tests are sufficiently safe and reliable for medical or public health use. The ECDC will cooperate closely with the European Commission, with the national authorities, with the non-profit agency developing laboratory diagnosis protocol (https://www.findx.org) and the WHO, in the validation of rapid tests. The Member States will be notified as soon as the results are clear.

The Health Board has warned that there are no home testing kits available at the moment, see additional information from the Health Board website: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/uudised/terviseamet-arge-ostke-ega-kasutage-internetis-reklaamitavaid-sars-cov-2-teste. All testing devices are medical devices. In the case of such in-vitro diagnostic devices, the seller is not obliged to inform the Health Board. If the manufacturer or the manufacturer's authorised representative were established in Estonia, they should inform the Estonian Health Board of placing the product on the market. If the manufacturer is located elsewhere outside Estonia, the distributor is obliged to make sure that the test manufacturer has complied with all the requirements. The Health Board recommends that all distributers inform the Health Board of such tests, despite the lack of an obligation. This is due to the fact of a large number of fake test kits being available.

Why can´t everybody be checked for coronavirus?

Testing of any person suspected of coronavirus was appropriate when we tried to prevent the virus from entering Estonia, the aim was to detect possible cases as soon as possible, isolate the infected persons and prevent further spread of the virus.

In order for the health care system to be able to handle patients with severe symptoms, we must now focus on slowing down the spread of the virus, finding serious cases in time and treating them. Above all, we must protect vulnerable groups who are at greater risk.

The result of the test will not provide the necessary information for people to look after themselves, as there is no specific treatment, and it is only possible to alleviate the symptoms. The need for testing will be decided by the doctor. Doctors have been given instructions indicating the risk groups for which testing is recommended in the event of illness. It is left to the discretion of the family physician to decide who will be referred for a test.

The tests are carried out primarily on people who are hospitalised due to coronavirus, people at risk (aged, chronic patients, people with compromised immune systems, health care professionals and staff of social welfare institutions), and on the basis of a random selection of health care professionals without symptoms, staff of social welfare institutions, police, rescue staff and other people on the front line, who due to their tasks can pose a threat to risk groups.

Healthcare resources are limited. The test kits and personal protective equipment needed for testing are running out everywhere in the world. Therefore, we need to use the available resources in a sustainable manner in order to be able to continue the work long term.

Testing people without disease symptoms just as an assurance is not appropriate, the test result may be a false negative, the result refers only to the condition at that spedific time, and does not exclude future infection.

To slow the spread of the disease, it is most important for everyone to avoid contact with infected persons, avoid contacts with other people, follow regular hygiene rules, and anyone who becomes ill must stay at home until they are well. In case of illness, you must contact your family physician or clinic, if your condition deteriorates – if you experience shortages of breath or breathing difficulties, call the emergency line 112.

What are the steps to getting tested?

  1. If you get sick, call your family doctor! The family doctor will evaluate whether testing is necessary and will give health advice.
  2. If the family doctor decides that testing is necessary, she will forward an electronic order to the laboratory and they will call you to agree upon the place and time of testing. Wait for the call!
  3. Drive to the agreed upon place with a car at the right time and have an ID document with you! Only a person with an electronic referral can give the nasopharyngeal sample at an agreed upon time on the basis of an ID document. Only a person with a family doctor's referral that has been sent to the laboratory is tested. There is no point in coming just in case, only people with a prior registration are tested. It is not sensible to take family members along in the same car when you come to get tested.
  4. Wait for the result, you will be called! The results will come within two working days, the person will be called. The results will also move to the digilugu.ee portal.
  5. If your test result is positive, stay at home, follow the family doctor's prior recommendations. If your health worsens, contact your family doctor or call an ambulance from the number 112. 

Who has to decide whether a coronavirus sample is taken or not?

The necessity of taking a coronavirus sample is decided by the family doctor who has the necessary competence and specific instructions for this.

If a sick person is in a serious condition, an ambulance should be called.

Remember that you need to notify your doctor of returning from abroad and possible contacts with people infected with the coronavirus.

Can I pay and get a coronavirus test done? If not, why not? Perhaps I have already unknowingly had the virus, and I am now infectious.

Testing is justified, in particular, for people with have the symptoms of the disease and it is medically indicated. Testing of people who do not display any symptoms is not considered appropriate, as the test result reflects only the moment of testing and the negative result can create a false sense of security that does not preclude infection in the near future.

The need for testing will be determined by the family doctor who will refer the patient to give the test sample.

Family doctors have been given instructions, but the final decision is made always at the medical discretion of the family doctor. The doctor makes the decision, knowing the patients on their list, taking into account the patient’s symptoms, general health condition and co-morbidities.

The doctor will evaluate every case individually.

Random sample testing is applied for so-called front-line workers who can transmit the infection to people at risk. Focus is on health care professionals and other people providing essential services.

In addition, the Government supports the conduct of two sero-epidemiological (i.e. virus antibody detection) studies to determine the overall extent of the spread of coronavirus in Estonia.

Participation in the study is voluntary. Family doctors are involved in recruitment and testing of the volunteers. Blood is taken from the vein and the presence of antibodies is determined in order to show whether or not people have contracted coronavirus. With the testing it is hoped to get information about how many people actually have contracted the coronavirus.

The results of the study will help to assess when and how the emergency restrictions can be eased.

Do the treating physician and the infectious disease clinic decide on the necessity of administering a COVID-19 test if the person has been transferred to the infectious disease hospital and diagnosed with an RS virus but also has COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes.

An employer is demanding that the employee have the corona virus test done, the family doctor does not want to do this. The company where the employee is returning to has hundreds of workers. What should he do?

The employer cannot demand a test. The employer must evaluate whether they can provide for teleworking.

What do the positive and negative coronavirus tests mean?

If you have been tested for Sars-CoV-2 and the test result is positive, it is certain that you have contracted the disease COVID-19.

If the test result is negative, monitor your health for 14 days or until symptoms subside. A negative result might not always mean that you have not contracted SARS-CoV-2 - you may still be in the incubation period, in which case the test does not show a positive result. 

Does a negative COVID-19 test result invalidate the requirement for a 14-day isolation?

No, it does not.

How long does it take for the Health Board to receive the results of a coronavirus test after testing? Will the person tested get the information over the telephone only if the test came back positive or regardless of the result?

Persons who have tested positive will definitely receive a phone call. Testing and providing information on test results takes time due to excessive workload, but usually the results come in within 2 days.

When the person tests negative, the test results will be entered to the digital Patient Portal digilugu.ee, and not everybody will receive a phone call. You can access digilugu.ee website using your ID-card or Mobile-ID.

How quickly do the results of the virus test reach the patient portal? There are claims that on occasions there is no information today for a test done on Friday but the results of a test done on Sunday are there.

The information on the result of the test will be sent to the family doctor who will enter in into the patient portal. Persons whose test results were positive will be notified personally by phone.

Who and why are being tested for COVID-19 and how?

  • People are tested when they are symptomatic and it is medically indicated.
  • The necessity of testing is decided by the family doctor who sends the patient to be tested.
  • The family doctor has been issued with guidelines but the final decision is always the family doctor’s medical decision that she takes, knowing the patients in her list, taking into consideration the patient’s symptoms, general health condition and all additional diseases.
  • The doctor will evaluate all cases individually.
  • Testing priority is given to older people and the chronically ill, regardless of their age, which means that in justified cases people of all ages are tested if there is a medical indication.
  • The guidelines that were agreed upon between the family doctors and the Estonian Health Board are there to aid the doctor, and all recommendations in the guidelines should be viewed in combination. Determining that a person belongs to a risk group and making the decision are a doctor’s responsibility, a person himself cannot and should not do this.
  • Testing does not change the treatment, a doctor is guided by a person’s symptoms and general condition, also taking account additional chronic diseases.
  • All hospitalised patients who have corona virus symptoms are also tested.
  • Random sampling will also be used to test medical workers without symptoms of illness, care home workers, social workers, police and border guard officers, rescue service workers and other front line persons, who due to their work may pose a danger to the risk groups.

Following the principles of testing is necessary in the current crises in order to rationally use personal protective equipment, laboratory equipment and medical workers. We have to guarantee that the health care system is operational in longer term.

If a person gets sick or has any other health concerns, his first contact is his family doctor or the family doctor help line 1220.

What should I do if I get sick?

  • If you have gotten sick, call your family doctor! The family doctor will evaluate the need for testing and give medical advice. If testing is necessary, the family doctor will send the order to the laboratory and they will call you to fix a time and place of testing. Wait for the call!
  • Make sure that your family doctor has your phone number, otherwise the call centre cannot contact you.
  • Bring a personal identification document and drive in a car to the agreed upon location on time. On the basis of the document, you can give a nasopharyngeal sample at the testing location without exiting the car. Testing is done only with a digital referral of a family doctor and to preregistered persons. Do not bring along family members in the car when you come for testing.
  • If you cannot go to the testing location in a car, an appointment will be made over the phone for a tester to come to your home.
  • After you have given the sample, stay at home and wait for the results. The results will come within two working days. If the result was positive, you will get a phone call. The results will also be entered into the patient portal digilugu.ee.
  • If your result was positive, keep staying at home and follow the recommendations of your family doctor!
  • If your health worsens, contact your family doctor or call an ambulance by dialling 112.

More information: https://synlab.ee/algab-perearsti-saatekirjaga-koroonaviiruse-laiendatud-testimine/

 

Personal protection equipment – masks and similar

 

Who is responsible for the national procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment on behalf of the Government?

The Government has placed the responsibility of the national central contracting authority for personal protection equipment to the Minister of Public Administration until December 31, 2020 - the Minister must procure, arrange for the storage and distribution of personal protection equipment. The State Support Services Centre helps the Minister in his task.

If you wearing a mask made of a wrong material, can it damage your lungs?

If you are wearing a mask for a longer period of time made of a not suitable material and it covers your nose and mouth, then microfibres, dust or other particles may enter the airways and damage them.

The mask is an additional measure for preventing the spread of the virus, but it does not replace other important methods for avoiding infection such as washing hands, cleaning surfaces, and also keeping the distance from other people.

What should I know about masks?

  • Wearing a mask reduces the spread of the virus if you wear it indoors where there are many people together. Wearing a mask reduces the chance that through social contacts, coughing and sneezing, the infection droplets will reach other people. The mask can also help a healthy person if an infected person coughs or sneezes nearby. Wearing a mask will only help to prevent the virus if other hygiene rules are also complied with and close contacts are avoided.

  • There is no reason to wear a mask at home or outdoors.

  • Protecting the mouth and nose in crowded indoor public spaces always helps. If disposable masks are not available, people who want to wear a mask can make a fabric mask at home to cover their nose and mouth in an indoor public space. The use of home-made masks reduces to some extent the risk of the infected person passing the virus on to others, and also protects partly the person wearing the mask who is not infected.

  • If the mask is home-made, it is important to remember that it is neither a personal protective equipment nor an equivalent to a medical mask.

  • In order to protect your health and prevent the spread of the virus, the most important thing is to wash your hands, comply with the hygiene rules, avoid close contacts with other persons, and comply with the 2-by-2 rule when outside the home. If you think you might have symptoms of any disease, it is important to stay home.

  • NB! An infected person with COVID-19 diagnosis or someone who is just feeling ill, should stay home, avoid contacts with other people, regardless if they have a mask or not.

Where can masks be sold and what information must accompany them?

Masks can be sold everywhere -- pharmacies, construction stores, health stores, grocery stores, online stores. The important thing is that people get the correct information -- a person must know what it is she is buying, what it protects her from and how the masks should be used.

That is why the product must be accompanied by product information (name, the standanrd it meets and information on its protective properties), an instruction manual in Estonian and information on the importer.

If there is no information on protective properties of the product, it can only be advertised as a face mask.

When would it make sense to wear a mask?

It generally does not make sense to wear a mask at home or outside. Following the 2-metre-distance rule is enough outside. At home it does not make sense to wear a mask because if one family member is infected and other family members are not permanently isolated from him, the virus will probably still find a way to infect the other family members.

It might make sense to wear a mask in public places (stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, public transport) where there are a lot of people, in order to reduce the possibility that the droplet infection released with coughing or sneezing reaches other people. Covering your nose and mouth is an appropriate precaution to take in a place like that. A mask might also be of help to a healthy person if an infected person coughs in his direction -- it might somewhat reduce the possibility of the healthy person getting sprayed with a large enough dosage of the droplet virus to get infected and sick.

What should I do if I do not have a special protective mask?

People who still want to wear a mask can make their own cloth masks. A self-made cloth mask somewhat reduces the risk of an infected person spreading the virus to others and partly also protects the wearer of the mask herself if she does not have the virus yet.

With self-made masks it should be kept in mind that this is not personal protective equipment and not the same as a medical mask.

NB! A virus carrier who has received a diagnosis or a person who has symptoms of the coronavirus must stay at home and avoid contacts with others, regardless of whether he has some kind of a mask or not.

How much does a self-made mask cost?

The most important thing about a self-made mask is the material. Depending on the material used, a self-made mask can stop 30-50% of fine particles. A person wearing a self-made mask must also take all other precautionary measures: wash her hands, keep a distance with other people. It is important to remember that every time you touch the mask with your hands, the mask gets more contaminated and the risk of infection increases. It is also important to pay attention to protecting your eyes and not rub them with your hands, as the virus can also get into your organism through the open mucous membrane.

What should I keep in mind with a self-made mask?

The material of a self-made mask gets damp very quickly. A damp mask must be changed out, at least every 2-3 hours, depending on the material. One person requires about 4-5 masks a day, for instance if she needs to go to work.

How to make a mask at home, what requirements should be considered?

If you make a mask at home, this mask is not a substitute for a medical-grade mask nor would it prevent transmission like a medical-grade mask. Wearing such a mask and using other preventative measures may reduce the risk of transmission through inhalation and it will reduce the risk of infecting other people.

Instructions on how to make a home-made mask have been published by the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority:

  • A mask must be made of a multiple-layer fabric, which can be washed at 60 degrees Celsius, and can be heat-treated.
  • Materials used in cleaning cloths and microfibre towels, a thicker dishwasher fabric, antimicrobial pillowcase are suitable for making home-made masks.
  • The material should have good breathability.
  • the mask material should not be too stiff but comfortable against the skin.
  • the mask must be fixed behind the ears; a rubber band could be used. Instead of a rubber band, a ribbon can be attached to each corner of the mask, but this mask would be more difficult to use.

The Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority instructions for making a home-made mask: https://www.ttja.ee/sites/default/files/failid/dokumendid/kuidas_valmistada_kodus_kaitsemaska_210x297_est.pdf (in Estonian, pdf).

More detailed instructions for making a home-made mask for private persons, and making a medical-grade mask for businesses are available here (in Estonian, pdf).

What rules should be observed when wearing a mask?

It is important to keep the following in mind.

  • The mask should sit on the face properly, so that the mouth and the nose are covered. If the mask has a wire to keep it in place, then the wire should sit tight around the nose, the bottom of the mask should fit under the chin.

  • If the mask has been pulled off the face, or it has been been repeatedly adjusted or touched, then the mask must be changed.

  • The maximum time period for the use of a mask bought at the pharmacy is three hours. After that it is recommended to change the mask because the top layer of the mask might have become contaminated with the virus.

  • The mask cannot be damp. A damp mask must be changed.

  • Used mask needs to be disposed to a bin with a lid or placed in a plastic bag which can be sealed. The mask must be disposed with proper care.

  • Please see the proper use of the protective mask here.

Can a self-made mask be repeatedly used?

Yes, but the cloth masks have to be made from multilayered cloth and they must be washable at high temperatures. The mask has to be washed at 60 degrees, at the lowest. NB! Used masks must be gathered into a closed plastic bag or box. Used masks should certainly not be left lying around.

What is a protective mask?

The protective mask is most usually understood as a medical protective mask, but there are other sorts of breathing protectors such as masks and respirators. Masks can be classified as personal protection or medical equipment depending on what they are used for.

Masks are classified as personal protection equipment if they protect people against threats to themselves. Surgical masks are primarily intended to protect the patient during a medical procedure so that any particles breathed out by a doctor or surgeon would not reach the patient during the process.

Masks with a filter covering the mouth and nose protect against particles in the air. Protective masks are classified by how effective their filters are and what the maximum amount that can leak through the mask is. FFP2 class masks filter 95% of particles of 0.3 µm, which is 0.0003 mm, or larger in diameter. FFP3 class masks filter at least 99% of the particles in the air. Such masks can be worn for up to eight hours.

Who is the medical mask intended for and what does it achieve?

The medical or surgical mask is a single-use mask. Surgical masks are primarily intended to protect the patient during a medical procedure so that any particles or saliva breathed out by a doctor or surgeon would not reach the patient during the process and so would not cause additional complications and illnesses.

We recommend that infected people wear surgical masks to avoid spreading particles by coughing and sneezing. A surgical mask may also give some direct protection against microscopic particles and may deter you from touching your face. Surgical masks do not give complete protection against the virus, but they do sharply reduce the risk of transmission.

Surgical masks stop offering effective protection if they become wet, and once one has been taken off it cannot be used again but must be thrown away. Neither should the mask be shared as it is for use by one person only, and once it has been taken off, even briefly, it should not be used again. Pulling the mask down to the chin or taking it off for a moment is just the same as taking it off fully, and in this case it should be thrown away and a new mask should be used.

When you take a mask off it is important to observe hygiene rules for your hands properly afterwards, because a used mask may contain particles of infection. Hands must be washed after the mask is taken off. After you have taken the mask off, you should only touch your face once you have washed your hands properly.

 

Work, work-related travel

 

What considerations should be taken into account when the employees are returning from remote work to their places of work?

Returning to the working environment should be done in a safe manner.

Various precautions to prevent the spread of viruses continue to be important:

  • preference for remote work,
  • allowing people to return to work gradually,
  • reducing the physical exposure of employees,
  • airing and proper cleaning of rooms,
  • the employees must stay at home when sick.

When returning to the working environment you should bear in mind the following:

  • when you are sick, stay home! Ask sick employees to stay home!
  • before allowing people to return to work, find out how employees can be exposed to the virus in the working environment and take action to mitigate risks.
  • consider how to protect the employees belonging to risk groups.
  • If necessary, consult with the Labour Inspectorate's working environment consultant or occupational health doctor on how to make the working environment safer.
  • discuss changes planned with employees in the working environment and, if necessary, instruct them before returning to work.
  • re-arrange the working environment so that working places would be separated from each other, and the least possible number of employees would be in the same room.
  • Resume work gradually, if possible, prefer remote working, and holding meetings online.
  • Disperse break times so that there are not many employees gathering in the break rooms at the same time.
  • pay attention to hygiene rules, hand washing and the availability of disinfectants at entrances and exits, near movement routes and near meeting and recreation rooms.
  • arrange work in such a way that the same tools and work surfaces are used by only one employee and assure regular cleaning.
  • clean and air both working and resting spaces, assure proper ventilation or airing of premises.
  • if necessary, issue personal protective equipment to employees and instruct how to use them.

What should be done if the parental benefit ended during the emergency situation but it is not possible to return to work?

When the parental benefit ends, the parent can end the parental leave and return to work. If this is not possible, the circumstances need to be differentiatied according to cause.

If the employer

  • has no work to provide, he must still allow the employee to return to work and pay her wages even if no work is provided. The employer may reduce the wages but the employee has the right to decline this. If the employer has no work to give in a situation provided by §37 of the Employment Contract Act and the employee cancels the contract, the employee has a right to a redundancy compensation. If the employer does not agree to a reduction of wages, she has the right to cancel the contract and the employer must pay compensation. More information in §35 or 37 of the Employment Contract Act

  • wishes to make the employee redundant, parents raising a child under three are in a preferential situation. People on parental leave can be made redundant only if the employer stops operating (e.g. a bankruptcy is declared).

How can I submit my personal income tax return if I cannot do it electronically?

The deadline for submission of the personal income tax returns of natural persons was April 30, but paper copy tax returns will be accepted by the Tax and Customs Board also after the deadline, at least until the end of June. The Tax and Customs Board client offices across Estonia are closed and tax returns can be submitted electronically. If you belong to a risk group and you do not have the opportunity submit an electronic tax return at home, do not go to your relatives or friends or invite them to visit you to help with the tax returns. If necessary, the Tax and Customs Board will accept the tax returns at least until the end of June and will not impose any sanctions for exceeding the deadline.

What should be taken in consideration by my employer during the current situation?

It is of utmost importance that the workplaces use disinfectants.

In the offices:

  • it is recommended for people to keep physical distance from each other,
  • it is important to air the rooms regularly,
  • clean the surfaces regularly.

See here recommendations by the Health Board for efficient cleaning and disinfection.

Information regarding safe return to the offices from working remotely is provided by the Ministry of Social Affaires guidelines here.

People should be sent home from work, if

  • they are ill
  • might have been in contact with an infected person,
  • belong to a risk group.

Please note! Employees arriving from abroad are required to stay home for two weeks and monitor their health carefully. More information on the requirements of self-isolation, and specific countries can be found on the [website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs] (https://vm.ee/et/teave-riikide-ja-karantiininouete-kohta-euroopast-saabujatele)

Both the employee and the employer need to agree to the changes in working conditions.

Can I refuse to go to work?

An employee with a work contract has an obligation to work according to the agreed conditions.

However, if the employee is returning from a country with higher ratio of infected persons, then the Estonian Health Board recommends staying home for 14 days. Information about countries with higher infection ratios is available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

This does not automatically mean that the employee is not required to go to work. The employee must inform the employer of their return to Estonia and agree how best to arrange work.

The employer and the employee have various options for coming to an arrangement:

  • remote work (work from home),
  • unpaid leave,
  • application of the e § 35 and § 37 of the Employment Act,
  • use of mandated annual leave. If an annual leave schedule has been pre-arranged, changes in annual leave times can only be made if mutually agreed. If the employee does not wish to use the employee’s mandated annual leave, another solution must be found.

Please also refer to the Employment Contracts Act: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/112072014146?leiaKehtiv.

How can the employer find out their employees come from another country, and should stay home if the employees do not inform the employer?

As members of the society, we must prevent the spread of the virus and it can only be done together. We all need to keep each other safe and when we are sick, we should not go to work or to a populated place to spread the virus.

If in our community or workplace someone is ill or has come back from a trip since March 17, and believes they do not have to stay home then it is up to us to draw the attention of this person to the fact that not everybody is in perfect health or has a strong immune system, and that is why it is important to prevent the spread of the virus. Conscience is the best means of coercion.

Internal communication and good relations between people are also important in companies and organisations.

Does the state compensate the 30% of wages not received because of a period of sick leave to rescue workers, police officials and ambulance workers?

Everybody is uniformly compensated 70% of wages during the period of sick leave, there have been no exceptions set.

Can I refuse a secondment or a business trip abroad?

The employer is obligated to assess work-related risks when he sends an empolyee to a work-related trip abroad. Therefore, it is primarily the obligation of the employer to assess the risks and take the decision on whether it is possible to avoid sending the employee to a trip.

The employee has the right to refuse or suspend work that

  • endangers his or other persons' health, or
  • would not allow following environmental safety regulations,

by immediately notifying the employer or his representative and the work safety representative.

Thus, if you find that you would be endangering your life or health by going to a work-related trip abroad, you do have the right to refuse to go.

See more in §14(5) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/520032019007/consolide

If and when can § 37 of the Employment Act be used with reference to a reduction in salary for three months, due to economic circumstances beyond the employer’s control?

The spread of Coronavirus is one of the circumstances that allow the employer to reduce the workload and the salary of the employee for three months unilaterally according to § 37 of the Employment Act, if paying the agreed salary is an unreasonably heavy burden for the employer. It is permitted to reduce the salary to the minimum wage as determined by the Government of Estonia (584 Euros per month or 3.48 Euros per hour).

A reduction in the salary is permitted according to § 37 of the Employment Act only under the following conditions:

  • If the employer is unable to provide work to the employee as previously agreed due to economic circumstances (this doesn’t include seasonal changes in amount of work);
  • If payment of the agreed salary is an unreasonable burden on the employer. It is not permitted to reduce the salary if the employer does not have enough work for the employee to do, but still has enough liquidity to pay the salary; in this case it is interpreted that there is no real need to reduce the salary.

How will § 37 of the Employment Act be implemented in the case of salary reduction? Can the employee terminate the work contract?

In order to reduce the salary the employer must investigate if it is possible to offer different work to the employee. If there is no alternative work, or the employee does not agree to the work, the employer must inform the trustee of the employees, or in case there is no trustee the employees directly, at least fourteen days in advance. Employees must be given an opportunity to be involved in the decision. The employee must present their opinion within seven days.

If the employee does not agree to a reduced salary, the employee has the right to terminate the work contract, and this must be announced a minimum of five working days in advance. In the event of termination of the work contract, the employee will receive one month’s average salary as compensation, in addition to the contractual final pay, which consists of earned salary and unused vacation pay.

In what cases is redundancy an option?

If it is clear that the situation will not improve and the employer is not able to provide work nor pay a reduced salary, redundancy is an option. Redundancy is an extraordinary termination of the work contract by the employer due to economic reasons, i.e. if following the agreed work conditions is impossible because of a reduced amount of work or the rearrangement of work. Redundancy also happens, when the employer terminates its operation or files for bankruptcy. The employer must present employees with a written termination notice and explain the reasons for termination.

The employer must follow announcement terms according to § 97 point 2 of the Employment Act. The terms are related to the length of the work contract. The employer must announce redundancy at the following times when the employment has been working for the employer:

  • less than one year – minimum 15 calendar days;
  • one to five years – minimum 30 calendar days;
  • five to ten years – minimum 60 calendar days;
  • ten and more years – minimum 90 calendar days.

The employer must consider that if the termination is announced with disregard of these terms, the employer must pay compensation. In that case the employer will have to pay the average salary for the work days that are within the announcement term that was disregarded. If the work contract ends due to redundancy the employer must pay a redundancy compensation of one month’s average salary in addition to final salary.

I must go to work, but I have nowhere to leave my children. From which age can I leave a child alone at home?

There is no specific regulation by the state as to the age a child may be left alone at home. Each case is different and depends on the maturity of the child and surrounding circumstances. It is up to the parent to decide whether to leave the child temporarily alone. In doing so, the parent must be guided by the best interests of the child, assess the maturity of the child and consider possible hazards. It is important that the wellbeing and safety of the child is guaranteed.

In general, a child's ability to act independently to a certain extent (the child is responsible for his or her behavior; knows what is or is not safe for health; can handle self hygiene) is linked to school age. Leaving kindergarten-age children and smaller children alone should be avoided, as well as being left in the care of an at-home elementary school child for longer periods.

If necessary, it is advisable to ask your relatives for help with childcare (if possible, not older people), and to turn to the local government with questions about the opening hours of kindergartens, care facilities, and other related organisations.

 

Travelling abroad from Estonia

 

I need to go to Norway. Is it possible?

You are allowed to enter Norway, if you are:

  • A citizen of the European Economic Area (including Estonia) and their family members who have a residence permit in Norway.
  • A citizen of the European Economic Area (including Estonia) who works in Norway or who are starting work in Norway. You must be ready to show your employment contract or some other relevant document as proof.
  • A service provider (independent contractors and seconded workers) of European Economic Area nationals who have started or start work in Norway.
  • A foreigner national who will stay at the airport transit zone before leaving Norway.

Additional information: G-09/2020 – Revised circular relating to Entry into force of the Regulations relating to rejection etc. of foreign nationals out of concern for public health. Additional information can be found at the home page of the Estonian embassy: https://oslo.mfa.ee/et/corona-viirus/

When arriving in Norway, general 14-day quarantine requirement applies (except for transit passengers).

I need to go to Sweden. Is it possible?

Sweden has not established any restrictions, and is not requesting additional entry documents from the European Union citizens. There is no quarantine requirement. Information about shipping routes: www.tallink.ee

If you need to transit another country (for example, Finland) when travelling to Sweden, you must observe the rules for transit in Finland.

I want to go on a holiday. Can I do this right now or should I wait?

At this moment, it is not recommended to travel for a holiday outside Estonia.

There is still a probability that flights may be cancelled. There is no intercity transport in many places, and restaurants, accommodation facilities, tourism sites, and beaches are closed. Possible quarantine rules must also be considered.

In Estonia, the self-isolation requirement of 14 days applies, i.e. when arriving back from a holiday or a trip, you must remain at home for self-isolation for 14 days. Information regarding which countries of departure do not fall under the self-isolation requirement can be found here: https://vm.ee/et/teave-riikide-ja-karantiininouete-kohta-euroopast-saabujatele

Before booking a trip, you should check the travel information from the website ReisiTargalt, and from the websites of authorities of your country of destination. If you have decided to buy a package holiday or a plane ticket, you should definitely consider the terms of cancellation, as your trip might be cancelled due to restrictions in place.

I need to go to a foreign country, but not for a holiday but for work purposes or a vist. Can I travel?

Estonian borders are open. Before you go to a foreign country, check the conditions of entry to the country of destination and make sure you are granted entrance. If you are not certain, contact the border guard services of your country of destination. If you must travel through another country in transit before reaching your destination, please also check the transit conditions of that country.

We recommend you to consider your need to travel very carefully, and do it only if it is urgent.

Special flights organised to bring citizens back home cannot be used to travel abroad.

What to consider when travelling with a pet?

Firstly, consider that travelling in not recommended right now. Many countries have set restrictions to crossing their border due to the spread of the coronavirus. Therefore, before going on a trip with a pet, find out what conditions currently apply in the country of destination and the transit country or countries.

Information on travel restrictions from the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

More information on travelling with a pet from the web page of the Veterinary and Food Board.

Can I travel from Estonia to Finland?

As of June 15, Finland has lifted the travel restrictions and opened the border for air and maritime travel with Estonia. Recreational vessels are also allowed to enter, including private vessels. When arriving in Finland, voluntary self-isolation is not required.

Can I still travel abroad by bus if needed?

We strongly advise you against going abroad. If travelling abroad is absolutely essential, please note that when travelling abroad by bus, you have to be in the same enclosed space with strangers for several hours, which means that there are favourable conditions for the spread of droplet infection through the air. When a person returns to the country, then as of March 17, all the people entereing Estonia will need to remain in self-isolation at home.

We encourage those travellers who wish to leave or have to do so to return quickly. At a later stage, this may no longer be possible as the situation is changing rapidly. If you are confident that you will be able to deal with the crisis abroad, follow the instructions of the local authorities. Be sure to check the validity of your visa or other basis for stay.

If the host country has closed its borders and/or international transportation is not working, please contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at konsul[at]mfa[dot]ee (include your personal details and the description of the problem) or the Estonian Embassy so that we can give you further guidelines.

Will maritime traffic continue between Estonia and Finland or Estonia and Sweden?

Maritime traffic continues partially, but you should always check with the shipping line if this specific route is operational.

Can I travel from Estonia to Russia after March 18? Which changes were introduced March 30?

As of March 18, at 00:00, the Russian borders were closed to citizens of other states and to stateless persons. The border may be crossed only by the following persons, if they show no symptoms of the disease:

  • Employees of diplomatic and consular representations, who reside in Russia, and their family members;
  • truck drivers, involved in international freight transportation;
  • crew members of airlines and shipping companies;
  • railroad crew members involved in international railway transport;
  • members of official delegations;
  • persons holding diplomatic or service visas, or persons with a regular visa due to the event of death of a close relative;
  • persons, who permanently reside in the Russian Federation;

Restrictions in force as of March 30:

  • foreign nationals (including Estonian citizens and residents) can leave Russia;
  • Russian citizens residing in Estonia are allowed to return to Russia, but they can only come back to Estonia after Russia has lifted their restrictions.
  • Russian citizens and Russian residents whose permanent place of residence is in Russia, are allowed to return to their place of residence.
  • no new changes were implemented regarding international freight transport.

For additional information about crossing the Russian border, please contact the information hotlines of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: +7(495) 587 88 60, +7(499) 244 19 77, +7 (499) 244 19 88, +7(499) 244 28 47.

May I cross the border?

It is not advised to travel abroad right now but it is not forbidden. Definitely weigh the necessity of the trip. Travelling for tourism is not sensible.

If the trip is urgent, consider the following.

  • Before going abroad get to know the conditions for entering the country of destination: find out whether you will be allowed into the country. If in doubt, contact the Border Guard of the destination country.
  • If you have to go through any other countries to reach your destination, find out the transit rules of those countries as well.
  • It is not possible to use the special flights that are bringing Estonian residents home for travelling abroad.
  • Take into account that in order to limit the spread of the corona virus, the states can unexpectedly restrict the conditions for entering their country and moving around there. You can get stuck in quarantine abroad and getting home could be very complicated, sometimes impossible.

Exceptionally, could an Estonian citizen / resident with a job in Russian territory cross the border for work?

No, the Russian Government does not provide for such a distinction.

 

Crossing the Estonian border

 

Who should be notified if the address provided at the border changes during the 14-day movement restriction period?

The place of stay can be changed only if justified. If there is a need to change the address of stay during the restriction of movement, the Police and Border Guard Board must be notified. To this end, you must forward your contact details (name, family name, personal identification code, phone number, address) and the date of restriction of movement to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee.

What does restriction of freedom of movement mean?

The restriction of freedom of movement means that a person may not leave their place of stay within 14 days, except on the order of a health care worker or police officer or for essential reasons. For example, you can leave your home if your life is in danger or you need medical care, you need to renew food supplies, buy essential goods, get medicines. In all these cases, contact with other people must be avoided. Therefore, you must not go to work or go hiking on a popular forest trail. But you can go running or riding a bike, for example, if you do it without coming into contact with other people.

I signed the restriction of freedom of movement confirmation at the border, but I fall under exceptions to whom the restriction of movement does not apply. What should I do?

Questions related to the freedom of movement restrictions, such as non-application of the restriction or exemption from the restriction, must be submitted to the Health Board at the kesk[at]terviseamet[dot]ee.

When I arrive from certain European countries - when does the restriction on freedom of movement apply?

As of June 1, people may enter Estonia if they have no symptoms of the disease, and if they arrive from the European Union Member State, or Schengen area, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island. Restriction on freedom of movement depends on the rate of coronavirus infection being greater than 15 in their country of departure. If the infection rate is less than 15, then the restriction on freedom of movement is not applicable, if greater, then the restriction applies.

Information about the restrictions on countries and freedom of movement for arrivals from Europe countries is available on the page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://vm.ee/et/uudised/uuendatud-teave-riikide-ja-eneseisolatsiooninouete-kohta-euroopast-saabujatele-21-juuni.

The list will be updated every Friday and is valid as of following Monday.

Is it possible to organise a transfer goods at the border in such a way that neither of the parties concerned crosses the border?

No, it is not possible. One of you – the consignor or the consignee – still has to cross the border.

Please familiarise yourself with the rules for crossing the State border during the emergency situation. (https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord).

Are there any people crossing the border who are not subjected to restrictions on movement?

Crossing the state border to enter into Estonia is allowed to a person who has Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or a right of residency, or whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia according to the population register.

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • they have no symptoms of the disease.
  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.
  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.
  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.
  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.
  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Who is allowed to enter Estonia?

Crossing the state border to enter into Estonia is allowed to a person who has Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or a right of residency, or whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia according to the population register.

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and their movements are not restricted, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • they have no symptoms of the disease.

  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and their movements are not restricted if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.
  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.
  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.
  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.
  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As an exception, the Police and Border Guard Board may allow a foreign national to enter Estonia if they have no symptoms of the disease, and have relatives in the descending line (children, and their offspring) or relatives in the ascending line (parents, and their ascendants) who are Estonian citizens, have Estonian residence permit, or right of residence in Estonia.

Who is subject to a restriction on freedom of movement for 14 days after entering Estonia?

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • they have no symptoms of the disease.
  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.
  • Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.
  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.
  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.
  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.
  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

What is the confirmation of restriction on freedom of movement?

The restriction on freedom of movement confirmation is a document that a person entering Estonia signs at the border. The signature is confirmation that the person is

  • aware of the restriction on freedom of movement and
  • obligated to stay at their residence or place of stay for 14 calendar days.

The person signing the document also includes their personal and contact information, as well as the address of the residence or place of stay. If the address provided at the border changes during the obligation to not leave that address, the Police and Border Control should be notified by e-mail at: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee

If a person has signed at the border confirming the restriction of movement, but the person belongs to the group of exceptions or the restriction has been lifted by a later order - how to get around the obligation to restrict movement?

Send your first and last name, personal identification code, address, telephone number with the reason for deregistration to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee

Will I be turned back from the border if I am ill?

If you are an Estonian citizen or resident, you will not be turned back from the border even if you have symptoms of the disease. Also, those foreign citizens, whose family members reside in Estonia, will also be allowed to enter the county.

At the border

  • your travel documents will be checked, as well as your reason for entering the country and
  • the state of your health will be visually checked.

What happens if a person succeeds in entering the country by avoiding border checks, and they have symptoms of the disease?

Persons crossing the border illegally may receive a punishment and in the case of a foreign national, the penalty is accompanied by expulsion.

The legal consequence is not affected by whether a person is carrying the virus or not.

How do the police monitor compliance with the restriction on freedom of movement?

During the emergency situation the police was given the task to check the compliance with the 2+2 rule. As the emergency situation ended, the Government assigned this task to the Health Board with the Order of the Government. The country continues to be in a state of health emergency and the virus has not been eradicated. When police officers notice violations of movement restrictions in the course of their normal work, they talk with people and explain the risks involved in public gatherings. In the framework of professional assistance, in the event of a continuing infringement, we shall forward the information to the Health Board, which may, if necessary, who can issue a prescriptive order or impose a penalty payment.

Estonia instated border controls. How does this affect trade?

Those who need to cross the state border have to take into account queues that are longer than usual. No restrictions have been imposed on the movement of goods, there are only restrictions on the movement of people.

Vehicles performing international transport of goods and asymptomatic people providing vital services, for instance healthcare workers, can enter the country or transit through it.

Provided that a foreign national is asymptomatic, he can enter Estonia and transit through it to reach his home country. The 14-day isolation requirement does not apply to him, on the condition that Estonia will be travelled through without stopping.

If the restriction of movement has been established, is it necessary also to avoid contacts with family members?

The purpose of the restriction on freedom of movement is to avoid possible contacts of an infected person with other people in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. During the 14-day isolation period, it would be advisable to maintain distance with the family members or roommates.

Do I need to carry valid identification when crossing the border?

It is compulsory to carry proof of identity (ID-card or driving licence) when crossing either the external border with the Russian Federation or the internal border with the other EU member states. You must also carry a travel document to cross the border (Estonian citizens crossing the external border have to carry an Estonian citizen’s passport and those crossing the internal border have to carry a passport or an ID-card.

Are border controls carried out at the border?

Yes, border controls are carried out on the Estonian-Russian border checking the people crossing the border as usual. Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Crossing the state border to enter into Estonia is allowed to a person who has Estonian citizenship, an Estonian residence permit or a right of residency, or whose permanent place of residence is in Estonia according to the population register.

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • they have no symptoms of the disease.

  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

  • Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

  • Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.
  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.
  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.
  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.
  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

What data am I asked to provide upon entering Estonia and why?

At the border crossing point, a person entering the state is identified, their documents are checked, and the officials will ask about any possible symptoms of illness. The person will then confirm that they are aware of the conditions set in place for containing the virus, including the obligation to stay home for 14 days. The restriction of movement confirmation must be signed by those people, to whom the exceptions do not apply.

What should I expect when crossing borders?

You need to take into account restrictions which apply when crossing the Estonian border: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

When entering Estonia:

  • your travel documents will be checked.
  • you need to provide information regarding your travel itinerary.
  • you need to provide your contact information (e-mail, telephone, address).

I bought a puppy from a neighbouring country. Is it possible that the seller of the puppy brings the animal to the border crossing point and I pick it up at the Estonian border?

No. The Police and Border Control (PPA) officers do not go to the border control points of neighbouring countries to bring puppies (or any other kinds of pets) to Estonia. To bring the purchased pet to Estonia, you have to find another solution or wait for the restrictions to be lifted. PPA does not keep individuals from exiting the country (except in case you have entered Estonia within the past 14 days and are subject to the 14-day movement restriction). If you enter another country (to pick up the pet), Estonian citizens have to take into account the restrictions that are in place at the moment and, if needed, contact the border control office of the other country to apply for a special permit to enter the country. The Estonian Police and Border Control Board does not issue permits to enter other countries. Additional information about entry conditions to other countries and applying for special permits can also be requested from embassies/foreign representations of foreign countries. If the seller of the dog / cat / or any other animal wishes to come to Estonia, they have to apply for a special permit. More information is available on the PPA website: [https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/emergency-situation ]

 

Travelling to Estonia - Estonian citizens and residents

 

I am currently in a foreign country, and I would like to come back home but I have no money. Tickets are also expensive. What can I do?

First, contact your family and friends. If they cannot help you, you should contact your local government.

If you cannot find a solution, call +372 5301 9999, but please take into account that state support is only possible in cases of extreme emergency.

I am an Estonian citizen, arriving from a foreign country. Can I cross the state border?

Estonian citizens and residents of Estonia with a residence permit or right of residence, including holders of grey passports will be allowed to enter Estonia.

If a person comes from Finland to Estonia to attend a funeral of a family member or a friend, do they need to remain in isolation in Estonia, or can they go back to Finland and remain in isolation upon return?

They do not have to remain in isolation in either country, but they should keep their contacts with other people to a minimum.

Before travelling to Finland, read the rules for return.

What does the closure of Russian borders mean? Can I visit my relatives? I live in Estonia, but currently I am visiting in Russia, am I able to return home?

The decision of the Russian Government concerns all border crossing points for vehicles, railways and pedestrians, including crossing Narva-Ivangorod border crossing point on foot. Derogations have been established for Russian citizens, and members of their family returning to Russia, but the derogation applies only to entry, not exit. If you are a Russian citizen, and you reside in Estonia with a residence permit, then you can enter Russia but please take into account, that based on the information received from the Russian Border Authority, Russian citizens will not be allowed to leave Russia.

Estonian and EU citizens and stateless persons (with Alien´s passport) are still allowed to leave Russia. However, the situation may change very quickly, and our recommendation is to return to Estonia as soon as possible. Border crossing is allowed for carriage of goods and for attending a funeral of a close relative.

I managed to get plane tickets back to Estonia. What should I consider when I travel back to Estonia now? Should I do something differently than usual?

We recommend going to the airport early and being one of the first to check into the flight.

I am in the US, my visa/ESTA is about to expire but I cannot find flights back. What should I do?

If you are in the US under the visa free program (ESTA), you need to understand that you cannot overstay your initial 90 days in the US. Thus we recommend returning to Europe at first chance. Under extraordinary circumstances (e.g. you are in a hospital or your flight has been cancelled because of weather conditions) you have the possibility to submit an application to the US authorities (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) for them to consider giving you a special permit to extend your date of departure by 30 days (grant of satisfactory departure). You can find the contacts of the nearest Citizenship and Immigration Services office from: [https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-a-uscis-office]

If you are in the US with a visa, you have to fill out forms I-539 and I-912 (both can be found at [https://www.uscis.gov/i-539-addresse] with explanations as to why you could not leave in time. If the date of validity of your visa is about to expire in the coming days, you should contact the US Citizenship and Immigration Services [https://www.uscis.gov/about-us/find-a-uscis-office.]

I am planning to stay in a foreign country for the duration of the crisis. What should I take into account?

If you are sure that you can cope well and stay safe in a foreign country during the crisis, you do not have to return. You will need to consider the following aspects when making your decision:

  • You might have to stay for quite a long time at your current location.

  • Your country of stay might enforce additional restrictions, accommodation services and catering establishments might close, seasonal work opportunities might disappear.

  • Make sure you comply with all the requirements for legal stay in the country (check whether you need a visa or an extension for a visa, residence permit, registration at the Immigration Office, etc.). Ask for information about the requirements from the Immigration Office, or the Estonian Embassy.

  • if you decide to return to Estonia, contact an Estonian travel agency.

 

Travelling to Estonia – foreigners

 

I am a foreign citizen. Can I travel to Estonia, and do I have to remain in isolation?

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • they have no symptoms of the disease.
  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday. People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.

  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.

  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.

  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.

  • serving groups of passengers, and directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services.

  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.

  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.

  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.

  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

  • As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I am an entrepreneur, and I have citizens of foreign countries in my employment, who are currently not in Estonia. How can they return?

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • they have no symptoms of the disease.

  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.

  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.

  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.

  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, warranty, or maintenance services on a means of transport.

  • serving groups of passengers, and directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services.

  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.

  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.

  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.

  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

  • As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Can a foreigner come to Estonia to be with their partner who is in later stages of pregnancy? Who is considered to be a family member? Would a life partner, an unborn child, stepchildren/parents etc. be family members?

If this foreign national has the right of residency in Estonia, i.e. they have registered their place of residency in the Estonian population register and they have an Estonian ID card, there should be no problem with his entry into Estonia.

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

  • they have no symptoms of the disease.

  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.
  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.
  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.
  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, guarantee or maintenance services on a means of transport.
  • serving groups of passengers, and directly involved in the provision of passenger transport services.
  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.
  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.
  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.
  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Can I enter Estonia as a citizen of a European Union Member State when I have a company registered in Estonia, but I do not have the right of residence in Estonia?

As of June 1, the Estonian borders were re-opened for people arriving from European countries. People can enter the country, and do not have the obligation to stay at home, if:

  • they are arriving from the European Union Member State, a Schengen area country, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • they have no symptoms of the disease.
  • they have stayed in the European Union Member State or a Schengen Area country, or in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where in the past 14 days the coronavirus infection rate is no more than 15 persons per 100,000 inhabitants.

Statistical information on the infection rate of the previous 14 days per 100 000 inhabitants are published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website every Friday and is valid for the next seven days as of the following Monday.

People are allowed to enter Estonia and do not have to remain in quarantine if they have no symptoms of the disease and if they enjoyed this right previously, such as:

  • persons directly involved with transporting goods or raw materials, including loading of goods or raw materials.

  • employees at a foreign diplomatic representation or a consular office, or their family members, or foreign nationals arriving to Estonia in the framework of international military cooperation.

  • persons providing health care services or other services necessary for solving the emergency situation.

  • persons directly involved in the international carriage of goods or passengers, including crew members serving on an international means of transport and persons performing repairs, guarantee or maintenance services on a means of transport.

  • persons providing services to groups of passengers, and directly involved in passenger service provision.

  • persons whose purpose of arrival in Estonia is to ensure the performance of an essential service.

  • persons whose arrival in Estonia is related to the maintenance, repair, warranty or information and communication technology of equipment of an enterprise operating in Estonia, where this is necessary to ensure the operation of the enterprise.

  • persons who have been granted special authorisation to enter.

As regards to persons who do not fall within the exceptions mentioned in the Order by the Government of the Republic, it is still possible to allow crossing the border on the basis of a specific request to be submitted to the Police and Border Guard Board at e-mail: ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The application form can be found here: https://www.politsei.ee/et/juhend/eriolukord.

Restrictions still apply to foreign nationals wishing to enter Estonia from outside the European Union, the Schengen area, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Can I enter Estonia if I am a citizen of a European Union Member State whose partner is an Estonian citizen or has Estonian residence permit? I do not have the right of residence in Estonia.

The answer is no.

Can I enter Estonia if I am a citizen of a EU and I have children with an Estonian citizen or a person who has the residence permit or right of residence in Estonia (we are not married), but I do not have the right of residence in Estonia

Yes, you are allowed to enter.

A foreign student of an Estonian University went to Finland and cannot return to Estonia as a foreign national. But as a student in Estonia they have the residence permit and they are registred in the Civil Registry. What can they do?

As a student at a University in Estonia they have the residence permit, and right to return to Estonia.

If a Latvian or an Estonian citizen works in Estonia or Latvia, respectively, can she cross the border several times a day?

Yes, starting from May 15, the freedom of movement between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has been restored to the citizens and residents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Could a person of Russian nationality working in Estonia but living in Russia (incl. people of Estonian and Russian dual citizenship), exceptionally, be able to cross the Estonian-Russian border for work purposes?

There are no derogations for crossing the Estonian-Russian border and persons crossing the border must take into account the 14-day movement restriction in both Estonia and Russia. It is not possible to commute to work and back across the border.

Is there a specific authority in Russia that businesses can turn to for requests for border crossing exemptions?

No. The order of the Russian Government does not provide for any exceptions of the admission requirements and consequently there is no specific authority to apply for.

If a person comes back to Estonia from abroad, but lives with an elderly relative, who is in the risk group , where will this returning person be isolated?

A person coming from abroad should definitely not go into isolation to where their grandparent lives. This person should find a place to stay at a hotel or find a place with the help of friends and family in Estonia to stay for 14 days, if possible. Currently no private-sector accommodation establishments have expressed their willingness to accommodate people obliged to stay in isolation (either for free, or for a charge).

How to interpret that return is prevented?

It means both the lack of transport options and the closure of national borders for transit.

Can Estonia be used for transit, for example if an aeroplane arriving from Egypt has Latvian citizens on board who want to go through Tallinn to Latvia?

Foreigners can use Estonia as a transport corridor to get to their home country if they have shown no signs of being infected with coronavirus.

People who are showing signs of illness should get help in the country where they are at that moment.

A Russian citizen who resides in Estonia under a residence permit is coming home. Can he return to Russia if necessary?

Anybody who enters Estonia is subject to a restriction of movement for 14 days, and the person is prohibited from leaving their place of residence or permanent stay within 14 days of arrival in Estonia. During the established 14-day movement restriction, the person cannot also leave the country.

It is important to remember that commuting across the border is not allowed.

 

Cargo shipments

 

Could Lithuania stop sourcing milk from Estonia?

The Lithuanian Minister of Agriculture has confirmed that the dairy industry will continue to buy milk. Controls will be carried out for all the batches of milk. Estonian milk is of a very high quality and is still awaited on the Lithuanian market.

When importing the goods, a problem occurred with original certificates. Can I use a copy of the original during the crisis?

Yes, goods may also be imported into the European Union using the copy of the certificate as a temporary crisis measure.

How to forward a copy depends if the third country outside the EU has access to EU TRACES system.

  • If they have access, the copy can be forwarded using TRACES.
  • If they do not have access, the copy has to be e-mailed from the e-mail address of the competent authority of the third country directly to the e-mail address of the border inspection point. This list of acceptable border crossing points is on the website of the European Commission DG Sante, and they are classified as follows:

The European Commission has informed the EU external trade partners and embassies of this possibility, and the similar arrangements have been requested from the third countries because many EU exporters have had problems with submitting the original certificates.

Is it allowed to import food from other countries, such as Spain? Is there a danger of spreading the virus with imported goods?

No restrictions are currently imposed on the carriage of goods, regardless of the type of goods. Therefore, all foods can be imported to Estonia. As far as we know, the virus does not survive on surfaces very long, and is likely to be destroyed during the journey. Nevertheless, we recommend following all hygiene rules, it is important to clean packages and hands after handling the goods.

Does it matter what goods are being transported across the border, for example whether they are car parts or clothes or anything else, or can goods be transported across the border in any case?

There are currently no restrictions on the transport of goods if they are being transported for business purposes.

How is medical care guaranteed during the time of the virus if I have health insurance in Estonia but am currently in another European Union member state?

People who have health insurance in Estonia and are currently in the European Union, the European Economic Area or Switzerland will be given necessary medical care on equal terms with people living in those countries. Necessary medical care is guaranteed in the case of the coronavirus as well. The need for treatment must be medically justified and this decision is made by a doctor. In order to get necessary medical aid, a person has to carry a European Health Insurance Card or a replacement certificate of the card. If a person does not have the card with him or he has not applied for the European Health Insurance Card or its replacement certificate before the trip, we ask that he apply for a replacement certificate of the European Health Insurance Card immediately upon arriving at the hospital or a doctor. You can find more information at the web page of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund

Is unlicensed carriage of goods permitted, what kind of accompanying documents are necessary, and would the quarantine obligation apply?

International carriage of goods is permitted, including unlicensed carriage.

Commercial carriage of goods must be accompanied by the following documents per vehicle:

  • a certified copy of the Community authorisation granted to the carrier of an EU or EEA Member State (exemptions for international carriage are provided for in Road Transportation Act Art 6(1) – for example, carriage in the EU at own expense);
  • a consignment accompanying document (CMR or so-called “loading list”);
  • a transport authorisation or CEMT licence under an international agreement, if goods are transported to a third country from Estonia, or from a third country to Estonia by a carrier from Austria, Bulgaria, Spain, Croatia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Germany, Finland, Hungary, Germany;
  • need to certify when entering with an unladen vehicle the grounds and destination of the carriage (e.g. a transport haulage order).

In the case of own-expense carriage of goods the driver must be in possession of documentation which proves that this cargo is owned by the operator organising the carriage of goods, or the company has purchased, sold, repaired, mined, or processed the goods. This carriage of goods needs to follow also other requirements laid down in Article 1(5)(d) of Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the EU, but in the emergency situation the verification of these requirements would constitute too much of a burden.

Persons directly involved in the carriage of goods are exempt from movement restriction.

Does a truck driver arriving to Estonia with a shipment of goods need to spend 14 days in isolation at home or can he return abroad immediately?

He can return abroad immediately, as the 14-day restriction on movement does not apply to transporters of goods or raw materials, and persons involved with international haulage of goods and passengers. If the driver is symptomatic, he must remain in isolation at home for 14 days and contact his family doctor.

More information from the order of the person in charge of the emergency situation: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/517032020001/consolide.

Is it possible for carriers of raw materials (feed) that are essential for the operation of the company and survival of the animals to cross the border more quickly?

The longer waiting order at the border than usual is natural in the present circumstances, but we will do our best to ensure that the crossing of the border is as smooth and fast as possible for all.

Are domestic animals cargo, ie does the exemption for carraige of goods apply?

Crossing the border with your dog or a cat is not a carriage of goods. The carriage of cargo at own expense must be accompanied by the document certifying the cargo is owned by the cargo operator/person or has been purchased, sold, repaired, mined, processed by the company arranging the transportation. There are also other requirements laid down in Article 1(5)(d) of Regulation (EC) No 1072/2009 of the EU regarding the carriage of cargo at own expense, but in exceptional circumstances the verification might constitute too much of a burden.

 

Sailing

 

What should I know about the port border control?

As border controls at the internal borders of the European Union have been restored on a temporary basis, the obligation of border controls also applies to small vessels if they wish to enter a port of a Member State. Master of a recreational vessel must inform the nearest port police authority or a port authority of their arrival in Estonia (crossing the State border), who will then inform the nearest port police authority (Tallinn border inspection point tel. +372 619 1260), at least one hour before entering or leaving the port. The Police will carry out the border control based on the request.
On arrival to Estonia (crossing the State border), the recreational vessel must go to the border inspection post of the port open for international traffic, as border control at the internal border has been temporarily restored. The list of ports open for international traffic are published in the State Gazette. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/101062018007

The police have the right to control all the vessels at sea when guarding the state borders to ensure compliance with the border regime and compliance with the emergency requirements. Anyone who crosses the territorial sea border (regardless of the direction of their journey) is subject to control of the border regime. It is recommended not to travel abroad. Before leaving the port, establish whether the foreign country will allow you to enter their territory (in general, no one is currently allowed to enter another country, access is granted only in exceptional circumstances). Those who do not benefit from exemptions from movement restrictions are not allowed to enter Estonia (e.g. a Finnish national who wants to come to Estonia to perform small vessel maintenance).

Are there any restrictions for going out to sea?

People can engage in recreational boating with their own vessel in Estonian waters, but they must take into account general restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It is recommended that only members of one family are on board of the recreational vessel or 2+2 rule must be observed.

People with disease symptoms should not go out boating.

It is allowed to go fishing or to perform other tasks at sea.

Information must be provided about the people on board the vessel by the master of the vessel to the Maritime Rescue Centre tel 619 1224.

When going boating on inland border waterways, the requirement of registration of your journey is based on the State Border Act, registration can be done on the website www.piiriveekogu.ee.

When out at sea, VHF radio stations need to be switched on, and be prepared to explain to a maritime patrol where you are coming from and where you are going.

 

Public transport within Estonia

 

Is offering a limousine service allowed?

When offering transport services with a limousine, the same principles applies as in cars (including taxis).

  • If passengers are not members of the same family, no more than 2 persons are allowed in the vehicle.
  • People should keep as far away from each other as possible.

How should I get around? How can avoid the virus when using public transportation?

If possible, stay home. For unavoidable trips try to find a way of getting around that brings you into contact with as few people as possible. The best way is to get around is on foot or on a bicycle.

If you need to use public transportation, please observe the following:

  • if possible, wear a mask.
  • If you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with a tissue or your sleeve.
  • Do not touch handles or any other surfaces with bare hands.
  • Do not touch your face.
  • Disinfect your hands as soon as possible after you have left the public transportation.
  • If possible, keep 2 metres away from other passengers.

Should I take a taxi?

Yes, taxis are an option. If you have the chance, ask the taxi driver before getting in the car if they have disinfected the vehicle and aired it out between passengers. Remind the driver to disinfect and air out the car after your ride.

I use public transport to do the shopping, what should I do now?

If at all possible, make a list of the essentials that you need and liaise with people close to you, or with neighbours, so that everyone’s shopping can be done by a person who owns a car.

If no one you know is in a position to shop for you and there is no alternative to using public transport, make sure that you do not cough or sneeze on anyone.

Avoid touching any surfaces with your bare hands. The goal is to minimise the spread of potential germs.

Avoid touching your face and disinfect your hands as soon as you can after using public transport.

The driver coughed and did not seem to be in good health, what should I do?

Coughing and looking unwell is not a sure sign that someone might have the coronavirus. As a precaution, keep your distance from the driver, avoid touching surfaces, don’t touch your face, and wash or disinfect your hands after exiting the bus/train/etc. If you truly suspect the driver of being ill, please contact the transport provider and inform them of the time you saw the possibly ill driver and which line they were operating.

How will the health of bus drivers and passengers be protected on regional bus routes?

In order to protect the health of the bus drivers and limit the spread of the virus, people must enter a regional public transportation from the middle or from the back door (if there is a door at the back). Passengers do not need to contact the bus driver, as they do not need to buy a ticket also in these counties where the transport has not been free of charge before.

How will the train schedule be affected?

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications will decide on the need to revise the passenger train schedules as the situation develops. The interiors of Elron trains are cleaned and disinfected on a daily basis, with particular attention given to various contact surfaces, in order to minimize viral transmission.

Information about timetables and changes can be found on the passenger train company Elron's website and free travel information is also provided by the 24-hour hotline 616 0245.

How is it possible to avoid the transmission of the virus on trains?

All Elron travel attendants regularly disinfect their hands to avoid transmission of the virus.

In order to avoid direct contact with the staff, we recommend buying your ticket online in advance from the Elron sales environment. You can also purchase a ticket aboard the train from the ticket machine using the Elron travel card.

If possible, the 2-by-2 rule must be observed also on board the train.

Which transport connections are running between Russia – to St. Petersburg, Moscow. Are trains and buses running?

Taking into the spread of the coronavirus, the departures of the Tallinn-St.Peterburg-Moscow train have been temporarily suspended as of March 20, and tickets already purchased can be returned. The decision to stop the train traffic was taken by the Russian Railways to prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure the safety of passengers.

The Estonian Railway invites passengers who purchased the ticket to contact the customer service of the company Go Rail ticketing agency at: +372 631 0044, e-mail: traveld[at]gorail[dot]ee, www.gorail.ee/en.

According to information from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, carriers have also stopped service on long-distance lines headed to Russia.

Does the 2 meters and 2 people rule also apply in public transportation? How about a situation where there are non-relatives in a passenger car?

The purpose of the restrictions is to protect the people’s health and they are implemented if it is possible to do it sensibly. In public transportation people should sit as far away from each other as possible and if it should be necessary to stand in public transportation, to stand as far away from other passengers as possible.

The weather is already nice so using a bicycle to travel to work/home could also be considered.

 

Pre-school institutions

 

What will happen with school-readiness reports for children leaving kindergartens?

The evaluation of children's development is based on the national curriculum for pre-school children´s educational institutions and the kindergarten curriculum during the academic year. The reports will be written by the teachers on the basis of child’s work and development assessment materials. Individual performance reviews with parents and children can be arranged, if necessary.

Many kindergartens use electronic learning environments (Eliis, e-lasteaed) to issue school-readiness reports.

Is it possible to organise a kindergarten graduation party?

Graduation events can be organised in a flexible manner, and observing the rules currently in force: for example, in small groups, in the open air, and keeping sufficient distance.
We recommend the kindergartens to consult with the parents of the children and the local government to discuss the possibilities to celebrate the end of the kindergarten while maintaining the safety and protection of health for children and their families.

Restrictions applicable as of June 1:

  • activities allowed indoors if 50% of the capacity of the room is not exceeded, but not more than 100 participants.
  • no more than 100 participants outdoors.

Restrictions applicable as of July 1:

  • activities allowed indoors if 50% of the capacity of the room is not exceeded, but not more than 500 participants.
  • no more than 1000 participants outdoors.

Which rules must be followed in kindergartens in order to reduce the risk of infection among the staff and the children?

The Health Board has sent a guide to childcare institutions, which must be followed for the protection of the health of children and kindergarten employees. It gives precise instructions on all measures to be implemented in the kindergarten.

Instructions for kindergartens and childcare facilities regarding the spread of COVID-19 virus

Recommendations for kindergartens and childcare facilities for exiting the crisis period

The childcare institution organises the acquisition of the necessary personal protection equipment in cooperation with the owner of the institution.

The opening and organisation of kindergartens and childcare continues to be decided by the owner of the institution. At the request of parents, the local municipality must ensure that all children aged between one and a half years and seven years who are residing in the territory of the municipality or city, which is a place of residence of at least one of the parents of the child, have the opportunity to attend a kindergarten. The municipality or city government may replace the kindergarten service of a child aged between one and a half years and three years with a childcare service with the consent of the parent.

Does a kindergarten have a right to refuse to receive a child who has stayed at home for 14 days after returning from abroad and has no symptoms? What should a parent do if the head of the kindergarten refuses to receive the child?

The decisions about whether to keep a kindergarten open and how to organise its work are made by

  • the local government, in the case of a municipal kindergarten and day care,
  • the owner, in the case of a private institution.

The local municipality has the obligation to guarantee a place in the kindergarten to all children who have at least one parent whose registered place of residence is that local municipality. This means that if the head of the kindergarten refuses to receive a child, the place to turn to is the local municipality.

Not permitting the child to attend the kindergarten has to be substantiated. For instance, it might be substantiated if it is known that the requirement to stay at home has been violated, that the child is living with or has come into contact with a family member who has the coronavirus or is suspected to have it. The parent has the obligation to present true information about a possible risk of infection. If there have been no such circumstances, the keeper of the kindergarten has to find a suitable solution.

Definitely monitor the health condition of your family members and do not bring a symptomatic child to the kindergarten. The kindergarten has the right to send sick children home.

Can kindergarten children go outside?

Yes. But it is recommended to limit contacts between different kindergarten groups.

Should the employees of kindergartens wear personal protective equipment?

Every kindergarten makes its own decisions about using protective equipment. Childcare facilities must certainly follow hygiene requirements very thoroughly. The number of people entering the building must be limited. Symptomatic people are not allowed inside. The groups are also not allowed to come into contact with each other.

 

Studying abroad

 

How can I provide documents to a foreign university regarding the arrangement of state examinations in Estonia this academic year?

If a student wishes to go to study at a foreign university, the Ministry of Education and Research shall issue an information letter to the specific university, if necessary. In the letter the Ministry will provide explanation regarding the conditions applied to graduation of upper secondary school in Estonia this academic year and which exams the graduating classes took.

Please contact pille.koiv[at]hm[dot]ee with your request for the letter of information.

Can the Estonian state somehow support me with covering the costs involved in suspending my studies abroad?

Unfortunately not, as going to study abroad and suspending your studies there were your own personal decisions.

What do I need to do if I want to quit my studies abroad and come to Estonia?

Suspending your studies abroad depends on the rules of the university and/or the contract of study signed with the university. In Estonia it is possible to enter universities according to the conditions and timeframe set by the schools. It might be possible to transfer experience and credits acquired in the framework of the recognition of prior learning and work experience procedure.

 

Restrictions on popular nature and hiking trails

 

What does the local government need to consider before establishing traffic restrictions?

When considering the decision for establishing traffic restrictions:

  • Is the restriction justified.
  • what is the impact on both local inhabitants and other road users (for example, people who want to access places of natural beauty).
  • whether the already established 2-by-2 rule which allow for maximum of two people to be together and keeping a minimum of 2 metres apart with others, is not sufficient.

What needs to be done to establish traffic restrictions?

If the owner of the road is:

  • a rural municipality or a city then they will make the decision for the establishment of traffic restrictions.
  • the state, then the rural municipality or city must submit an application to the Road Administration in order to establish traffic restrictions.

Once the permit has been received, the information regarding traffic restrictions must be published before the restriction enters into force:

  • on the Road Administration's traffic information web application.
  • other public information channels such as local newspapers and rural municipality or city websites.

How should the information be provided about the establishment of traffic restrictions?

Information about traffic restrictions should be provided through as many channels as possible (newspapers, television, radio, websites, letter) as follows:

  • a traffic restriction with significant impact at least 14 days before it enters into force,
  • other traffic restrictions at least 1 working day before it enters into force,
  • if the traffic restrictions is due to exceptional circumstances the notification must be provided as soon as possible after it enters into force. The justification for the restrictions must be provided to everyone.

If anyone feels that the restriction violates their rights and freedoms, they may submit a challenge to the rural municipality or the city, or file a complaint to an administrative court.

 

The police and public order

 

Are the police using personal protective equipment right now? What kind of equipment do they have, what do they need, and how much is lacking? Do the police have disinfectants?

The front line workers of the Police and Border Control Board use masks, gloves and disinfectants. They have all these materials and supplies are sufficient.

A person with symptoms of illness just walked in. Can a company in the service sector even implement restrictions? Can workers refuse to serve this person? What to do if they refuse to leave?

Companies are obligated to see to it that neither employees nor clients have symptoms of illness. If a person refuses to leave, call security or the police.

There are a lot of rumours, false information etc. being spread around in relation to the current situation. Is spreading false information punishable in Estonia?

Yes, it is publishable. The joint effect of the Penal Code (section 262(1)) and the Law Enforcement Act (section 55 (1(2)) provides that knowingly spreading false information can be penalised with a monetary fine or arrest. The Law Enforcement Act prohibits disturbing public order. Among other things, threatening and intimidation are also considered as disturbing public order. Knowingly spreading false information is one of ways to threaten and intimidate others and as such also punishable as an act of disturbing public order. For more on this, read the article of the legal scholar Jaan Ginter in Postimees.

Will the police come to help me if I get sick, or if a member of my family gets sick?

Yes, the police will come to help you if your life, health or property is at risk. When calling the emergency number, you should let the first responders know if you, or any member of your family has been infected with the coronavirus, so that the police will know to take this into account.

Can I get involved as a volunteer? Can I become an Assistant Police Officer?

The best way to help law enforcement authorities and everyone else is to avoid any unnecessary movement in crowded places, to comply with hygiene requirements and to share relevant information with your loved ones. If, however, you are willing to contribute to law enforcement as a volunteer and your state of health and that of those close to you allows it (no one has been infected or being abroad in the last two weeks), you can find out more about becoming an Assistant Police Officer at www.abipolitseinik.ee.

Anyone who does not want to become an assistant police officer but wishes to offer some other kind of, will be registered by the police department coordinators, and if the Police and Border Guard Board has the need for their assistance, they will be contacted. If the Police and Border Guard Boards needs volunteers, then this information will be placed on the website of the Vabatahtlike Värav (Volunteer Portal).

Can I go out in the evenings or is it forbidden and can the police detain me?

Currently, there are no time-based restrictions on movement. As of 25 March, in public places (such as outdoor playgrounds and open air sports facilities, beaches, promenades, hiking and biking trails) and indoor spaces (except at home), people must keep a distance of at least 2 m from others. Only two people at most can gather in public places. This restriction does not apply to families moving around together and to people in official public functions.

Taking a walk is always good for the health if you keep a reasonable distance with other people and comply with hygiene requirements.

Can a police officer or an employee of the Health Board stop me on the street to check my health?

The Health Board, together with the police, focuses primarily on informing the public. No health checks are performed on streets. However, a situation could arise where it is necessary to assist a person displaying symptoms, including calling for an ambulance, in these cases assistance will be provided.

Who should I contact if I know someone is violating their requirement to self-isolate?

If the police needs to intervene immediately, call 112. If the requirement to self-isolate had been violated earlier, or it might occur in the future, i.e. you would like to issue a warning which does not require an immediate response, contact your local police. Contacts are available on the Police and Border Guard Board [website]:https://www.politsei.ee/et/piirkondlik-politseitoeoe

Someone is trying to defraud me under the pretext of coronavirus. How do I react?

We advise you to be vigilant and not to come across suspicious offers. If the scam has not yet been committed, send a report of the facts to info[at]politsei[dot]ee. If the fraud has already taken place, a police statement needs to be filled out: https://www2.politsei.ee/en/.

Do children have the right to go outdoors at all? Are youth gangs allowed to move around?

Yes, children have the right to go outdoors if they are healthy. As of 25 March, in public places (such as outdoor playgrounds and open air sports facilities, beaches, promenades, hiking and biking trails) and indoor spaces (except at home), people must keep a distance of at least 2 m from others. Only two people at most can gather in public places. This restriction does not apply to families moving around together and to people in official public functions.

If the police notice anything of the sort, they can disperse the group in the interests of the children’s safety and send them home.

Can a police officer assisting me/responding to an incident be infected?

Police officers who are ill or suspected of being ill are immediately excluded from work.

How can I be sure that I do not let anyone pretending to be a Health Board inspector in my home?

The Health Board is not planning to pay any home visits at the moment. Furthermore, each official must show his/her certificate of employment on request. In case of doubt, you should call the Emergency Response Centre at 112 or its hotline at 1247.

Do police officers responding to an incident have the necessary protective equipment to prevent infection?

Police officers are provided with the necessary personal protective equipment: rubber gloves and protective masks, as well as disinfectants. When a police officer comes into contact with a person showing some signs of illness, the latter, i.e. the person with signs of illness, is given a protective mask to prevent the further spread of infection.

Should I inform the police or the Emergency Response Centre if I see a person affected by the illness walking down the street?

Anyone who has been exposed to the infection or has been abroad in recent weeks should first and foremost monitor their health and consult their general practitioner immediately if symptoms occur. It is difficult or even impossible for bystanders to make such an assessment in a city setting, so it is worth avoiding premature assessments of the state of health of others. Of course, if you notice someone whose life or health is in danger and who needs immediate medical attention, call the Emergency Response Centre at 112.

Do the police still measure the speed of vehicles?

The police are currently continuing all their work on security, including traffic supervision.

Will the rescue service help me in an accident if I or a loved one is ill?

If you are ill, make sure you tell the alert centre when calling 112. In addition to rescuers, an ambulance will be sent to you. We will certainly provide assistance to all those in need.

Can I get involved as a volunteer rescuer?

Currently, the best help to rescue services is to avoid unnecessary movement in crowded places, to comply with hygiene and home fire safety requirements, and to share relevant information with your loved ones. More about joining voluntary rescue can be found on the Rescue Board's website at https://www.rescue.ee/en.

Can the rescuer who responded to me or to an event be infected?

If the rescuer is ill or at risk of infection, he or she will immediately stay home. Rescuers who have been exposed to the infected person will also remain at home.

Does the rescue officer responding to an event have the necessary protective equipment to prevent infection?

Every rescue car has protective masks, rubber gloves and disinfectants. Vehicles and rescue equipment are being cleaned daily. All rescuers have received instructions on how to avoid the risk of infection, how to act on the scene, and what tools to use.

Are there changes in rescue work? Should I be afraid that rescue may not be able to reach me so quickly?

The Rescue Board has not made any changes to the rescue work and rescue work continues. They are always responding to calls where people's lives, health and property may be in imminent danger.

In order to limit the spread of the virus, the Rescue Board temporarily suspended home counselling and visits of safety inspectors. As of May 18, safety inspection services continue and home visits will be made in reduced numbers. This means that home counselling will be provided, and people in risk groups will not be visited. Chemical and fire safety inspections continue where necessary, except in those buildings that are closed to prevent the spread of the virus. The project Fire-safety at Home is also moving forward – the work has been ongoing but now it is possible to move with the work to people´s homes.

How can I be sure that an official of the Estonian Rescue Board carrying out a home fire safety visit is not infected?

During the emergency situation, counselling at homes was suspended, and as of May 18, the Rescue Board continues with home counselling at reduced levels. During home counselling all hygiene rules and distance maintenance rules will be observed, and a person has always the right to refuse home counselling.

Can Latvian rescuers also come to assist across the border to Estonian territory?

The rescuers from Latvia can still drive out to help if need be. This can be done provided they themselves have enough free resources for this.

Do volunteer rescuers have the same training and equipment as professional rescuers?

The training and equipment of voluntary rescuers differs from that of professional rescuers. When called, the rescuers sent to the rescue event have the skills and equipment needed to deal with the event, whether they be professional, volunteer, or a rescue team of professionals and volunteers.

 

Identitification documents

 

Are the service offices of the Police and Border Guard Board open?

Starting from the 11th of May, the service offices of the Police and Border Guard Board are open from Monday to Friday 9-17.

We ask people not to come into the service offices without a real need and, if possible, to use the self-service: http://iseteenindus.politsei.ee/. See also the Police and Border Guard Board website where you can find the necessary information regarding documents.

If I only have a slight cough and a runny nose, can I come to the service office for an urgent procedure?

Please do not come. If possible, use the self-service portal for applying for the document and come to pick up the document when you are not sick anymore. The documents are held at the service office for six months.

If I should come to the service office for an urgent procedure, will I be given a mask by the Police and Border Guard Board?

You will be given a mask at the service office if you are symptomatic. We still ask that in order to protect the health of yourself and others, you do not come to the service office if you are symptomatic.

Can I authorize someone else to pick up my document?

You can but it is not possible to authorize retroactively. An authorization can only be made at the same time as the application for the documents is submitted at the service office of the Police and Border Guard Board or at a foreign representation. If you have given an authorization then, the person you have authorized can pick up the document. That person must have with them

  1. their own personal identification document that has been issued in Estonia and
  2. your old document if it is still valid.

How can I apply for an ID card?

If you have been issued an ID card before, there is no need to come to the service office. You can apply for a new ID card for yourself or your underage child in the self-service portal of the police.

As a last resort, the Police and Border Guard Board also accepts applications by mail to the address Pärnu mnt 139, Tallinn, 15060. You can find the application form at: https://www.politsei.ee/files/Dokumentide%20taotlemise%20ankeedid/eng-dok-taotlus.pdf?a937ec2f6c.

If it is unavoidably necessary, applications can also be submitted at the service offices.

What do I have to do if I am applying for an ID card for the first time?

When applying for the ID card for the first time, it is necessary to go to the service office of the Police and Border Guard Board and present a document proving your Estonian citizenship.

How can I apply for a passport?

It is possible to apply for a renewal of a passport and for a passport to an underage child at the police self-service portal at http://iseteenindus.politsei.ee. You will need to submit a photo, fingerprints and a signature sample to apply for a passport.

  • Use a photo taken at the photo box of the service office within the last 60 days, fingerprints and a signature sample that are tied to your personal identification code in the self-service systems.
  • Upload a suitable photo taken within the last 6 months and a photocopy of your signature sample to the self-service portal or send them to the e-mail address ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. Fingerprints given within the last 5 years are already in the system.

As a last resort, you can also submit the application by mail to the address Pärnu mnt 139, Tallinn, 15060. You can find the application form at: https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/estonian-passport-for-an-adult/applying-at-the-self-service-portal, but the document photo must be sent digitally to ppa[at]politsei[dot]ee. The photo must be taken within the last 6 months and the fingerprints in the system can be no more than 5 years old.

If it is unavoidably necessary, you can also submit the application at the service office.

What to do if I am applying for the passport for the first time?

When applying for the passport for the first time, it is necessary to go to the service office of the Police and Border Guard Board and present a document proving your Estonian citizenship.

Does the Police and Border Guard Board send a passport to my home if I cannot pick it up myself?

No, in Estonia the Police and Border Guard Board does not send passports by mail.

How long will my document be held at the service office?

Documents are held at the service office for six months.

Are the foreign representations of the Republic of Estonia open?

Yes, the foreign representations (embassies) of the Republic of Estonia are open but if necessary they can change or limit their opening times. You should check the times of consular reception from the web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at https://vm.ee/en/country-representations/estonian-representations.

The phone number of the consular department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is +372 6377 440, e-mail konsul[at]mfa[dot]ee

 

Receiving a passport abroad during emergency situation

 

The emergency situation is over. I live in a foreign country. Can I still apply for a new passport by post?

No, you cannot. As the emergency situation in Estonia is abolished, the usual procedure for issuing documents has been restored. For more information, please contact the Police and Border Guard Board website to apply for an Estonian passport abroad.

 

Residency permits, visas, weapons permits

 

When should I submit an application for changing the weapons permit?

The application for the change of weapons permits must be submitted within the time limit specified in the Act:

  • in the event of the expiry of the weapons permit or permit to carry a weapon – at least one month before the expiry of the permit;
  • in the event of invalidity of the weapons permit or permit to carry a weapon – immediately after the loss of validity of the permit;
  • in the event of a change of data of the owner of the weapon, weapons permit, or permit to carry a weapon, or the weapon storage location – within seven working days after the change of data or location.

Before replacing the permit, the holder of the permit must prove the existence of weapons included on the permit.

What should I do if my permit expires after May 31, but I can't get a medical certificate for extending the weapons permit from the doctor?

In this case, an application for a change of weapons permit must be submitted without a medical certificate. According to the law, the Police and Boarder Guard Board allows for a reasonable deadline for adding the medical certificate to the application.

If I have a valid D-visa, and my employer has terminated our employment relationship, will my visa be cancelled immediately?

No. A reasonable time period is granted for searching for a new job and to process documentation.

What kind of permits will be extended by 60 days in accordance with the amended Arms Act which came into force on May 7?

All permits and operating permits issued under the Arms Act are extended, except for the European Firearms Pass, which will expire during the emergency situation.

The emergency situation lasts until May 17 (included), so the validity of weapons permits which expired between Marcy 12, 2020 until May 17, 2020, is extended until July 16, 2020.

If my weapons permit expires on June 1, will it be extended?

No, it will not.

Should a person leave the country if their short-term employment registration expires and cannot be extended?

Foreign nationals who can return to their country of residence must leave Estonia before the end of the legal stay. Foreigners who had a legal basis for staying in Estonia as of 12 March and who have been prevented from returning home, have a legal basis for a temporary stay in Estonia.

Will the weapon permit tests take place?

Yes, if you have submitted an application for purchasing the gun or an application for a weapons permit, then the permits officer will contact you, and you will agree upon the test.

I am a holder of a "gray passport", person with undetermined citizenship, and I am currently abroad. My documents expire or have already expired by the time I return, and my new documents will be ready in Estonia. How can I get back to Estonia?

The embassy at the country of stay must be contacted to obtain the return permit. Residence permits for holders of foreign passports and persons with undetermined citizenship cannot be issued by embassies, and the Police and Border Guard Board will not send the documents to embassies.

NB! The travel document is a passport, residence permit alone is not suitable for crossing the borders. If the residence permit is valid but the passport expires, you must also contact the embassy.

How to find out what is the status of my application for residence permit, application for right of residence, application for short-term employment?

As of May 27, the usual procedure will resume. Decisions are made in the case of short-term employment within 15 working days and in the case of a residence permit application within two months.

Additional information can be obtained from the case handlers or from the client service hotline of the Police and Border Guard Board, tel 612 3000.

Where can I find information on the issues regarding the stay, working and living of foreigners in Estonia?

If you have more complex or additional questions you can turn to the migration counsellors of the Police and Border Guard Board by e-mail at migrationadvice[at]politsei[dot]ee or by phone at +372 612 3500 (Monday to Friday 9-15).

What should I do if my weapons permit is about to expire but a new health certificate is not being issued right now?

The Police and Border Guard Board automatically extends the period of validity of permits that expire between March 16 and May 31, as the issuance of health certificates has been suspended due to the risk of infection.

  • If the permit expires between March 16 to March 30, the period of validity will be extended by 90 calendar days.
  • If the permit expires between April 1 to May 31, the period of validity will be extended by 60 calendar days.

The period of extension will be calculated from the date of expiry on the permit.

The decision applies to weapons permits, permits to carry weapons, parallel weapons permits and collection permits.

The extension of the period of validity of the permit will thus not impose any additional obligations on the holder of the permit. There is also no need to hand the weapons over to the police immediately after the period of validity ends.

The application to renew the weapons permit and all other necessary documents must be submitted after the emergency situation ends, in the case of an expiry of a weapons permit or a permit to carry weapons, at least one month before the period of validity ends.

I am a third-country national, I have a residence permit in Estonia and waiting for my residence permit card to be issued in Estonia. My wife is an Estonian citizen. Can I come to Estonia?

You can enter Estonia with a visa, visas are currently being issued to the family members of European Union citizens. If applying for the residence permit for the first time, another option is to send the application to the Police and Boarder Guard Board, and note the place of issue at an embassy, pay for the state levy, and arrive in Estonia with the residence permit card.

If I get infected with the coronavirus will my residence permit get revoked?

No, it won't.

 

Transport and vehicles

 

If my final stage training was cancelled due to the emergency situation (only the theory part was not completed), may I continue driving with my provisional driving licence until a solution has been found or will I be fined?

According to the current regulation, completion of the final stage training is definitely necessary in order to exchange your provisional driving licence for a permanent one. The provisional driving licence which expires during the emergency situation or 30 days after the end of the emergency situation will remain valid for the duration of the emergency situation and for 90 days after the end of the emergency situation.

With the emergency situation restrictions in place, how many people are allowed to be in a car together?

As for any other place, the same principles apply when travelling by car. No more than 2 persons together, and sufficient distance has to be maintained. Exemptions apply to families travelling together.

It has been suggested that people go to work by bicycle or on foot instead of using public transport. How safe are right now the bike rentals and electric scooters that gained popularity last year?

The operators of bicycle and scooter rentals are subject to the same conditions as other economic operators. They must regularly disinfect their fleet in order to prevent contamination. Likewise, the renter of a bike/scooter should take care and wash hands after using the transport. In Vilnius, the municipal authorities asked if Bolt (an e-scooter operator) could start with rental sooner, as public transport usage had decreased.

My number plate is being held at a service centre but the deadline will expire this month. I wish to take the number into use, would it be possible?

Currently it is not possible to replace number plates at the service centres. The Road Administration extended by three months the deadline of all held number plates that are set to expire within the next three months. For instance, if the deadline would have expired on March 27, 2020, it was automatically extended to June 27, 2020.

Are the activities of driving schools still allowed? There are only two people in the car, after all – the student and the instructor.

With the easing of restrictions, the Government Committee is allowing the driving schools to continue the instruction for drivers of power-driven vehicles, drivers of motor vehicles and drivers of ADR-vehicles from May 5.

In organizing the driving lesson it must be monitored that:

  • neither the instructor nor the student are symptomatic;
  • there are hand disinfectants in the car;
  • the instructor and the student have to wash or disinfect their hands before the drive starts and after the drive has finished;
  • the instructor cleans the steering wheel, gear shift, hand break and other surfaces after every driving lesson;
  • the student and instructor wear a protective mask if they so wish.

As the driving lessons of the driving schools continue, the Road Administration decided to also continue with receiving state driving exams from May 7. The supervision over the restrictions imposed on driving instruction is performed by the Police and Border Guard Board.

Is it possible to register vehicles?

It is possible to register vehicles. The necessary operations are carried out through the e-service of the Road Administration or through other electronic means and the documents and licence plates will generally be issued without direct contact with the customer and by appointment with the service office of the Road Administration.

Instructions on how to do this can be found here.

I must use agricultural machinery (tractors, trailers, etc.) as the farming season is about to begin but my machinery has not been yet entered into the register. What should I do?

In the current situation, a Public Road Administration specialist can be called for an inspection as follows:

  • copies of the documents of a tractor, a mobile machinery, or the trailers of these machines (hereinafter referred to as the machines) can be forwarded in an electronic form, including the application requesting the inspection and the certificate of the state levy having been paid. The application can be found under: Application for an inspection.
  • the application must be sent by e-mail info[at]mnt[dot]ee, indicating on the subject line the closest office (e.g. Tartu) including the reference to Application for an inspection.
  • the Public Road Administration service bureaus will inform the client of the time when the service will be provided.
  • When the inspector arrives, please remember:
  • the machine must be in the courtyard in an accessible place.
  • the machine´s manufacturers identification mark (on the body or the frame) must be cleaned in advance and be legible.
  • the doors of the machine must be opened for airing 1 hour before the inspector arrives.
  • original documents must be placed inside the machine in the place accessible to the inspector.
  • there must be no persons near the inspector and the machine. The distance of at least 5 metres must be maintained.
  • if necessary, you will be contacted by phone.

The time of receipt of the machinery registration certificate and registration tags can be agreed with the inspector.

Are the Road Administration offices open? Will the driving and theory exams take place?

The service offices of Tallinn, Saue, Jõhvi, Pärnu, Tartu and Viljandi are open. Service is provided only if you have made an appointment. Checks are made at the entrance whether you have an appointment. No on-site bookings are available.

Contactless or minimum contact services are preferred – these are provided by all the offices. We have developed these services for the emergency situation in in order to avoid the risk of infection.

If, however, it is not possible to provide the service you need over internet, book an appointment with the Road Administration.

Exams taking place right now are:

  • Category A driving tests (registration by the driving school, as of May, also with e-service).
  • Driving theory tests (registration with e-service).

The measures introduced are constantly reviewed by the Road Administration and we will provide information about further activities. We recommend that you follow the updated information at the Road Administration website.

Are technical testing centres for vehicles open?

Technical testing centres are open. Many of them have introduced safety measures and restrictions in communicating with clients. Please be understanding of this.

How to get the necessary documents from the Road Administration?

Although our service centres have been closed, our online services and information hotlines continue to operate as normal. As such, we would ask you to go online for anything you need from us, having any paperwork mailed to your home address and number plates delivered to a parcel terminal. If for some reason the documents were still set for delivery to a service centre of the Road Administration, they will be sent to the applicants by post. To receive them, please send an e-mail request to info[at]mnt[dot]ee, providing the preferred address for document delivery. The only exception is digital recorder (tachograph) cards, which will be forwarded to those who have ordered them, with precise handover arrangements made in each individual instance.

 

Volunteer work

 

How can I contribute as a volunteer to help in the crisis situation?

Care about the safety and health of yourself and others. Before volunteering, make sure you are healthy and capable of protecting yourself and others from the virus. Do not put yourself at risk by helping others and do not spread the viruse yourself. If you belong to a risk group – you are older than 60, or have some chronic illness – it is makes sense to stay at home and not put yourself in unnecessary danger. If you belong to a risk group, you can help people with offering support over the telephone, for example. Follow the instructions of the Estonian Health Board. https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/uuskoroonaviirus

In the case of calls for voluntary action, it is necessary to maintain calm and make sure that the purpose inspires confidence, the intermediary and the person issuing the call are reliable, in order to prevent rapid spread of the virus and to protect yourself from fraud.

If you are healthy and you want to contribute as a volunteer and help people in need, start close to your home - your residential building, street, village, community, society. It is important to ensure that no one is ignored or, vice versa, puts himself at risk by helping someone or receiving help from someone else. Physical contacts should be avoided when providing assistance to minimise and prevent further spread of the virus and not to cause greater harm.

Follow official calls and use reliable channels for volunteering.

• If you want to provide assistance to organisations on a voluntary basis, or you need support for volunteering, the Ministry of the Interior recommends to use the Vabatahtlike Värav (Volunteer Portal) at https://www.vabatahtlikud.ee . This site also contains summary guidelines for volunteers and NGOs regarding how to act in the current situation. The portal is managed by the Estonian Village Movement, Kodukant.

• The need for assistance or offering assistance from a person to a person or community to a community can also be recorded at https://www.kogukondaitab.ee , this is a platform connecting people who need help and volunteers. This is a solution developed at the hackathon Hack the Crisis.

• If you are an entrepreneur or a specialist with a specific skills, and you want to provide assistance to the State in the crisis situation, use the portal https://www.eesti.ee/pakunabi . This is a portal established in cooperation with the Ministryof Economic Affairs and Communications and the Agency of the Estonian Information System Authority, which collects data from companies wishing to provide assistance to the State in a crisis.

All these platforms will merge in the near future as the Ministry of Interior has funded a website: https://www.vabatahtlikud.ee.

 

Emergency Situation

 

When is it allowed to resume holding public meetings?

Public meetings can resume from May 18.

From May 18 until the end of May, the organizer of a public meeting must ensure the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 10 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

Starting from June 1 it is allowed to hold a public meeting indoors with a higher number of participants than previously. The organizer of the meeting must ensure the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 50 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 100 participants.

Starting from July 1, the number of allowed participants will go up again.

Public meetings are allowed, provided that the organizer ensures the adherence to:

  • the 2+2 rule;
  • the requirement that indoors the occupancy can be 50% at most but no more than 500 people;
  • the requirement that outdoors there can be no more than 1000 participants.

What kind of restrictions are still in force?

The restrictions are still in force that are important for maintaining public health and containing the spread of the virus:

  1. 2+2 rule remains in force.
  2. People diagnosed with coronavirus and people who have been in close contact with the infected persons need to stay in isolation.
  3. People in care homes with a coronavirus diagnosis are prohibited from coming into contact with other people except the employees of the care home and medical staff.
  4. Catering establishments may remain open and alcohol can be sold until 22:00.
  5. Sports competitions with spectators are allowed only outdoors.
  6. Night-clubs, water-pipe cafes, adult entertainment clubs and other entertainment establishments are closed.
  7. Casinos and slot-machine arcades will remain closed until June 1. After June 1 they may open if the 2+2 rule is observed, and the 50% of the maximum capacity of the rooms is used. Not more than 50 persons may use the premises at the same time.
  8. No cruises or leisure travel will take place on Tallinn-Stockholm ferry lines.
  9. The restrictions for crossing the state border will remain in force (except for established derogations for Latvia, Lithuania, and Finland).

The Government will review the need for restrictions on a regular basis.

Why doesn't the government disclose the detailed content of emergency situation related procurements?

The public interest is, of course, understandable because tax-payers money is being used for the purchases. The Ministry of Finance and the State Shared Service Centre have analysed the special situation on the world markets and have concluded that currently it is not advisable to publish detailed procurement information. During the time of crises buyers compete for suppliers, and the state does not want to risk that our suppliers will be “hijacked”. This approach is also supported by the Public Information Act, which states that the head of a public or local government body or a legal entity of public law, may limit the use of information for internal use only, when the information pertains to national defence tasks and mitigation of the consequences of an emergency and the provision of resources for this purpose. This is the case when the disclosure of this information may affect the establishment of the reserve, as is in this case with the provision of personal protective equipment. Doctors and nurses, also police officers, rescue workers and others on the front line have been waiting for these supplies, as well as the rest of the population. There is a danger of outbidding for supplies and the supplies going to someone else, therefore the limits have been set for published information. Once the emergency situation resolves, and the supplies have arrived, additional information can be provided.

How long will the restrictions last?

On March 12, the Government announced the establishment of the emergency situation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia. The emergency situation has been in force until the end of the day of May 17. The end of the emergency situation does not mean all restrictions will be lifted as of that date. After the end of the emergency situation, the health care emergency is still in force. Restrictions due to the prevention of the spread of coronavirus will be lifted gradually.

Is the Government preparing to restrict human rights and freedom of speech?

The governemnt is not preparing to restrict human rights and freedom of speech.

Estonia defends fundamental rights during the emergency situation as well and guarantees the rights which are laid out in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The government is also fulfilling its duty of notification appropriately.

On March 12, due to the pandemic spread of the coronavirus in the world and a more extensive spread of the virus in Estonia, the Government of the Republic declared an emergency situation (initially until May 1, 2020). On April 24, the government extended the emergency situation until May 17 (included), 2020.

Due to this, restrictions on national and cross-border movements have been established in Estonia, changes have been made to the provision of education and the courts administration, restrictions established on communication, etc.

This is a situation which meets the definition of an emergency situation referred to in Article 15 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which is why on March 20, Estonia informed the Council of Europe of the measures taken.

It was also notified that Estonia will continue respecting international human rights, including fulfilling the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The goal of this notification is to ensure that in any possible later court actions the European Court of Human Rights is aware of the special conditions imposed in Estonia (e.g. restrictions on freedom of assembly) and uses the same basis for acting as Estonian courts.

Implementing the measures of the emergency situation and notifying the Council of Europe does not exempt Estonia from respecting fundamental rights. We are a democratic state and the emergency situation will not change that fact. All measures taken during the emergency situation must also be justified and proportionate.

Estonian state will adhere to valid laws and ensure the protection of the fundamental rights of individuals in the emergency situation as well.

See the notification of the Estonian ambassador.

NB! On 16 May, the Ambassador of Estonia to the Council of Europe informed the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe of the end of the emergency situation established in Estonia due to the pandemic spread of coronavirus and of the end of the derogation submitted pursuant to Article 15. The notifications are available on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://www.vm.ee/ and https://vm.ee/et/valisministeeriumi-kohustused-rahvusvaheliste-organisatsioonide-ees-eriolukorra-meetmetest.

Where can I get more information about changes caused by the emergency situation?

First of all, you will get information from this FAQ (https://kkk.kriis.ee/en), which is developed in co-operation with various agencies and is updated every day. Secondly, on the same site you can see a chat-bot Suve, you can ask questions about the emergency, and hopefully the robot can answer most of them. At the moment, the chat robot is able to answer questions in Estonian and English. We are working to develop the Russian language version of the robot. Suve is based on artificial intelligence and has been taught to respond using these frequently asked questions as the database. The idea of an automated chat bot Suve was developed in co-operation with the Estonian start-up community, Garage 48 and Accelerate Estonia during the Hack the Crisis Hackathon.

On 16 March, the Emergency Response Centre new hotline 1247 started working, (when calling from outside Estonia +372 600 1247), which shares information on the spread of coronavirus and the emergency situation. The hotline is working in three languages (Estonia, Russian, English) 24/7 and is free of charge for the callers. No medical advice can be offered from this number. If you need medical consultation, please call 1220, where people with medical training respond to your call.

 

Last updated: 23 April 2020