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Culture and entertainment

What restrictions are in force for cinemas, theatres, and concerts halls?

In cinemas, theatres, at concerts (including church concerts) it is obligatory for all participants over the age of 18, regardless of the number of people, to present a COVID certificate proving vaccination, recovery or a negative result of a prior test. Infection risk status needs to also be proven if the activity or event is taking place at a location of service provision, for example when a theatre, cinema, or conference hall is rented out for a private event.

The establishments have an obligation to check the validity of COVID certificates. If there is substantiated doubt, the person must be asked to present an identification document.

The COVID certificate does not have to be checked at outdoor events taking place on an unrestricted territory.

Indoors, in addition to checking the COVID certificates and tests, it is important to ensure dispersion and following of the disinfecting requirements, as well as following other measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus according to the instructions of the Health Board.

Events and activities where the negative test result, recovery from COVID-19, or completion of the course of COVID-19 vaccination of participants is checked, are allowed to have up to 6000 participants indoors and up to 12000 outdoors.

The same rules apply to both indoor and outdoor activities: sports, training, youth work, hobby activities and informal education, refresher training; sports competitions and sports and exercise events; saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools; public meetings and events (including at the theatre, in the cinema, at a concert, including a church concert, at a conference); in museums and exhibition venues; at entertainment services.

What restrictions apply to libraries?

In public spaces where the COVID infection risk is not being checked (spaces that can be entered without having to present the COVID certificate) it is obligatory to wear a mask or cover one's nose and mouth. Masks will have to be worn in all the spaces meant for public use that can be entered by anyone who wishes to and where there are too many people who do not come into daily contact with each other.

The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 or persons for whom it is not reasonable to wear a mask due to health considerations or other substantial reasons.

Isn't it dangerous to organise events that big and won't it bring about another wave of infections?

A person can show with a COVID-19 certificate that he is healthy and not a danger to anyone around him, due to previous recovery, a negative test result or the vaccine. The more there are people who use the digital certificate, the more remaining people can participate in events safely. Thus it offers greater freedom to entrepreneurs and customers and makes it possible to offer activities and services to a larger group or people, while also avoiding a new wave of infections.

Do the organisers of all events have to check and test people?

The regulation on presenting a COVID certificate is not enacted at outdoor events that take place in an unrestricted territory, for instance events that take place in a single city neighbourhood, on the streets or in the forest where people are in constant movement and it is not possible to determine an event or activity with a certain location or number of participants. At the same time, if a part of an event takes place in an unrestricted area and another part of the same event takes place in a restricted area, where tickets are being checked, catering, a concert, a gathering, or some similar activity is taking place, the latter is subject to the requirement to check COVID-19 certificates.

The exception also allows to organise public meetings outdoors in a social space meant for public use.

The organiser of the event does not have to provide for rapid antigen tests on the spot, but may still offer the possibility to do a rapid test, in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board; if it does not do this, the person wishing to enter with a test result mist organise their own testing at a health care service provider or a holder of an activity licence for general pharmacy services.

As an organiser of an event, what do I need to check before the beginning of the event?

Starting from the first participant, all those over 18 years of age who have recovered from the disease, been vaccinated, or have done either the PCR of antigen rapid test must present a corresponding certificate to the organiser before the start of the event.

The organiser must check the validity of the COVID certificates. If there is a substantiated doubt, the person must be asked to present an identity document.

The organiser may also provide for the possibility of doing a rapid test on the spot in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board, but if they do not, the person wishing to enter with a test result must organise their own testing at a health care service provider or a holder of an activity licence for a general pharmacy.

Do major events need to be approved by the Health Board?

The event does not need to be approved by the Health Board but they will definitely give advice and instructions on how to hold it and ensure safety.

Can I also participate at an event if I do not have the digital certificate?

Yes, if a person does not have a digital certificate or he does not wish to use it, the infection risk status can also be proven with a test. If the results are negative, the person may participate at the event.

The organiser may provide for the possibility of doing a rapid test on the spot in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board, but if they do not, the person wishing to enter with a test result must organise their own testing at a health care service provider or a holder of an activity licence for general pharmacy services.

Can I also participate at a major event if I am not vaccinated?

Yes. In addition to people who are vaccinated, major events may also be attended by people who have recovered from COVID-19 (within the past 6 months), or people who have a negative test result. In order to participate at the event or the activity it is possible to do an antigen rapid test up to 48 hours earlier or a PCR test up to 72 hours earlier. The testing needs to be carried out by a health care service provider. It is also possible to do the SARS-CoV-2 antigen-RTD test meant for self-testing at a holder of an activity permit for general pharmacy services.

In order to participate at the event or activity, the test result needs to be negative.

If I received my vaccine shot yesterday, when can I go to a major event?

According to the instructions of the manufacturers, it is estimated that maximum protection is achieved in 7 calendar days after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty, 15 calendar days after receiving the second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine Vaxzevria, 14 calendar days after receiving the second shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and 14 calendar days after receiving the single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. If new COVID-19 vaccines enter the market, the approach is determined by the particular manufacturer's instructions on when the maximum protection is achieved. If a person has recovered from the disease and has been vaccinated with one dose, it is considered that the maximum protection is achieved at the abovementioned deadlines.

What does a child need to do to be able to get into a major event?

For now, people under the age of 18 do not have to prove that they pose no infection risk, i.e. that they are vaccinated, have recovered from CIVUD-19, or have a negative test result. Once the vaccine coverage among people under the age of 18 increases and young people have had the opportunity to receive their second dose of vaccine, the age limit will be reviewed as well.

Who pays for the rapid test done at events or activities?

The organiser of the event does not have to but may offer the possibility of doing the rapid test on the spot, following the instructions of the Health Board, but the entrepreneur decides about how the test is paid for.

Doing the rapid antigen test might mean that the participant could incur an extra rapid test cost for participating in the event or using the service, but the organiser of the event might, for instance, also include it in the ticket price already or offer it as an extra benefit for buying the ticket.

Who needs to check this certificate? A health care worker?

The organiser of the event can decide whether the certificate is checked by the security company or ticket checkers or someone else.

Is recovery from the disease enough or is it also necessary to vaccinate and test for the certificate to be valid?

It is important to understand that these are three different COVID-19 certificates -- immunisation certificate, test certificate and recovery certificate.

  • Recovery certificate is enough to prove one does not pose an infection risk if less than 180 days have passed since receiving a positive test result (PCR test).
  • The recommendation is to vaccinate people who have recovered from COVID-19 with one dose on the sixth month after recovery. After this, the course of vaccination can be considered completed and a vaccination certificate becomes valid after maximum protection is achieved. The time that it takes to achieve maximum protection is different for different vaccines: Pfizer BioNTech Comirnaty 7 days after the second dose, Spikevax (Moderna) 14 days after the second dose, Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) 15 days after the second dose, and Jannsen (Johnson & Johnson) 14 days after the first dose.
  • If the recovery certificate has expired, the vaccination certificate is not yet valid, or a person is not vaccinated, they can prove their infection risk status with a negative test result.

How long must I wait after the second shot for the certificate to be considered valid and is the schedule the same for all the vaccines?

In Estonia this period is different for different vaccines. The maximum protection is considered achieved according to the manufacturer's instructions -- 7 calendar days after the second vaccine dose for the Pfizer/BioNTech Comirnaty vaccine, 15 calendar days after the second vaccine dose for the AstraZeneca vaccine Vaxzevria, 14 calendar days after the second vaccine shot for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and 14 calendar days after the single vaccine dose for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. If new COVID-19 vaccines come to the market, the period they take to achieve maximum protection is determined according to the particular manufacturer's instructions. If a person has recovered from the disease and has been vaccinated with one dose, the maximum protection is considered to have been achieved by the abovementioned deadlines.

What must be kept in mind when doing the rapid tests?

The following needs to be considered:

Rapid tests that are valid for 48 hours:

  • antigen rapid tests that are used have been approved in the EU and meant for professional use
  • are done by a health care service provider, generally in their own medical centres, special testing locations (e.g. Confido's 17 locations across Estonia, Corrigo in Ida-Virumaa) or the user himself at a holder of an activity licence for general pharmacy services according to the instructions of the Health Board
  • the test results are entered into the health information system
  • a person gets a certificate to prove a negative result
  • a person pays for the service herself

Rapid tests that are valid only for the specific event, for providing a service on the spot

  • antigen rapid tests that are used have been approved in the EU
  • the tests are done by the visitor herself, on the spot, upon arriving to an event or to consume the service
  • doing the test is guided by a vaccinated person responsible for the activity; there is also a possibility to hire a health care service provider
  • an operator may charge for the service

If the test result is positive or unclear, the person must stay in isolation and contact their family doctor to confirm the diagnosis with a PCR test.

More information in the Health Board's instructions for administering rapid tests. (in Estonian).

What kind of restrictions apply to museums and exhibition facilities?

In museums and exhibition venues, and at entertainment services all participants over the age of 18, regardless of the number of people, have to present a COVID certificate to prove vaccination, recovery or negative results of a previously done test. Infection risk status needs to also be proven if the activity or event is taking place at a location of service provision, for instance if an exhibition or conference space is rented out for a private event.

The establishments have an obligation to check the validity of COVID certificates. If there is substantiated doubt, the person must be asked to present an identification document.

Indoors, in addition to checking COVID certificates and tests, it is important to ensure dispersion and following disinfection requirements, and to follow other measures of stopping the spread of the coronavirus in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board.

At events and activities where the negative test result, recovery from COVID-19 or completion of a course of COVID-19 vaccination is checked, are allowed to have up to 6000 participants indoors and 12000 outdoors.

The same rules apply to both indoor and outdoor activities: sports, training, youth work, hobby activities and informal education, refresher training; sports competitions and sports and exercise events; saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools; public meetings and events (including at the theatre, in the cinema, at a concert, including a church concert, at a conference); in museums and exhibition venues; at entertainment services.

What restrictions apply to entertainment establishments?

At entertainment establishments it is obligatory for all participants over the age of 18, regardless of the number of people, to present a COVID certificate proving vaccination, recovery or a negative result of a prior test. Infection risk status needs to also be proven if the activity or event is taking place at a location of service provision, for example when a theatre hall or a conference room is rented out for a private event.

The establishments have an obligation to check the validity of COVID certificates. If there is substantiated doubt, the person must be asked to present an identification document.

Indoors, in addition to checking the COVID certificates and tests, it is important to ensure dispersion and following of the disinfecting requirements, as well as following other measures aimed at stopping the spread of the coronavirus according to the instructions of the Health Board.

Events and activities where the negative test result, recovery from COVID-19, or completion of the course of COVID-19 vaccination of participants are checked, are allowed to have up to 6000 participants indoors and up to 12000 outdoors.

The same rules apply to both indoor and outdoor activities: sports, training, youth work, hobby activities and informal education, refresher training; sports competitions and sports and exercise events; saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools; public meetings and events (including at the theatre, in the cinema, at a concert, including a church concert, at a conference); in museums and exhibition venues; at entertainment services.

In addition to the listed activities, raft saunas, party buses or other recreational and entertainment related activities are considered to be entertainment services. As entertainment services are partly covered by the restrictions and measures set to cinemas, music events, and theatres, these are complemented by gambling events, amusement parks and game halls.

Do I always have to do the rapid antigen test when I go to an event?

You do not, if you have a certificate that you are either:

  • vaccinated: the course of vaccination has been completed (1/1 or 2/2 doses) and a full protection has been achieved (different for different vaccines: for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty 7 calendar days after the second vaccine dose, for the AstraZeneca vaccine Vaxzevria and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine 14 calendar days after the second vaccine dose, and for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine 14 calendar days after one vaccine dose.)
  • recovered from the disease and no more than 180 days have passed since receiving the positive PCR test result
  • done a negative PCR test within the past 72h or a negative rapid antigen test within the past 48h.

Does the antigen test need to be done on the spot or can I also do it at home?

The organiser of the event does not have to provide for the possibility to do a rapid antigen test immediately before the event anymore. The organiser is still allowed to provide for the possibility to do the rapid test, according to the instructions of the Health Board, but if it does not provide for this, the person wishing to enter with a test result has to organise their own testing at a health care service provider. It is also possible to do the SARS-CoV-2 antigen-RTD test meant for self-testing at a holder of an activity permit for general pharmacy services.

Doing the rapid test at home by oneself is not enough as a digital certificate is currently issued only based on a PCR test result but we are working towards being able to also issue certificates based on the rapid antigen tests as well in the future.

At the company summer days, is it allowed to use the rapid tests available in pharmacies in order to check the COVID status of people who have not recovered or been vaccinated or do the tests for internal events have to be done at a medical institution?

This depends on the location where the company summer days are taking place. If, for instance, a catering establishment (or any other venue offering entertainment services) is reserved for holding a private event, the entrepreneur is the one that need to check the certificates. Similar approach must also be used if, for instance, a theatre or cinema hall, or a conference space is rented out for a private event. If, however, a natural person is organising an activity in their own yard and is not charging for tickets or orders catering for the company employees to the office, this constitutes a private event and the certificates do not need to be checked either.

Allowed tests are a PCR test done within 72 hours, an rapid antigen test done up to 48 hours earlier, as well as a SARS-CoV-2 antigen RTD test at the location of the activity according to the instructions of the Health Board. It is important that negative memories would not throw shadow on a major event.

Do 18-year-olds coming to an event need to present a vaccination certificate or a negative test? Does it have to be a PCR test or can it be some other allowed test? Can the organiser of the event carry out testing at its own initiative?

For now, people under the age of 18 do not have to prove that they are not an infection risk, i.e. that they are vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or have a negative test result.

The organiser of the event does not have to provide for the possibility to do an antigen rapid test on the spot but is still allowed to provide for the possibility to do the rapid test, according to the instructions of the Health Board, but if it does not provide for this, the person wishing to enter with a test result has to organise their own testing at a health care service provider or a holder of an activity licence for general pharmacy services.

The allowed tests are a PCR test done within 72 hours or an antigen rapid test done up to 48 hours earlier.

What application can the organiser of an event use to read the digital COVID certificate, and how?

The digital EU COVID certificates can be checked on the web page kontroll.digilugu.ee.

The web page allows to check the authenticity of the certificate and whether it meets the requirements currently in force in Estonia. The person doing the check will be displayed three colours: green (the certificate is valid), orange (the information on the certificate does not meet the vaccination or recovery conditions in force in Estonia), and red (techincal error and/or the certificate is not valid).

The checking application shows whether:

  • the course of vaccination has been completed (1/1, 2/2 etc.)
  • at least 14 days have passed since the last vaccination, or at least 7 days if the vaccine used was the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine Comirnaty
  • up to one year has passed since the last vaccination
  • the sample for the PCR test with a negative result has been taken within the past 72 hours
  • the sample for the rapid test with a negative result has been taken within the past 48 hours
  • the sample of the PCR test with a positive result has been taken more than 11 days and no more than 180 days ago

Detailed instructions for checking the certificate can be found on the web page tehik.ee (in Estonian).

Who has the right to get ticket money back due to the new, stricter corona restrictions?

Starting from August 9, the participant himself has to prove that they do not pose an infection risk, by presenting a vaccination certificate, COVID-19 recovery certificate or a negative test result.

If the organiser finds that checking the certificates is too complicated or costly and decides to cancel the event due to that, it is obligated to reimburse the people who bought tickets.

If the event is taking place but the participant does not want to or is not able to prove their infection risk status as requires, he generally does not have the right to be reimbursed.

The organiser itself may organise the testing of visitors on reasonable conditions if they wish to.

Is the yellow paper based immunisation passport also suitable for proving one's vaccination status?

Yes, it is.

The yellow immunisation passport is issued at the request of a person by a family doctor or some other medical worker carrying out vaccinations. If a person already has an immunisation passport and he wishes to prove his vaccination status with it later, he should bring it along to the vaccination. In that case, the person carrying out the vaccination can make a corresponding note in the passport. People who have been vaccinated abroad can also prove their vaccination status with the immunisation passport.

Among other things, the passport contains the disease against which the immunisation was administered, the date of immunisation, immune preparation that was used, the lot number of it, and the number of doses administered, also the name and other data of the immuniser.

If I do not have a smart phone where to display my digital certificate, how can I get into the event?

A printout of the certificate, doing a rapid test with a negative result on the spot and also certificates issued abroad are considered equivalent to a digital certificate.

Which special needs release a person from an obligation to present a COVID certificate or do a test?

  • If a person cannot get vaccinated due to medical reasons i.e. she has a contraindication to vaccination (e.g. she has anaphylaxis or a strong allergic reaction to some ingredient of the vaccine, has had capillary leak syndrome in the past etc.), it is possible for her to use a certificate of negative test result in order to participate in activities. Contraindication to COVID-19 vaccination is documented by a family doctor or a treating specialist with the international disease classification (RHK-10) code intended for that and that is the basis for free testing at a health care service provider with a referral from a family doctor or the Family Doctor's Advice (1220 or +372 634 6630). If testing is organised in some other way than at a health care service provider, it is a paid service.

  • If a person can get neither vaccinated nor tested due to medical reasons, a family doctor or a treating specialist can issue a certificate based on which she can participate in activities. It has to be taken into account that the certificate is valid nationally, and in other countries the restrictions and requirements in force there should be adhered to. If a person travelling has a very rare (and medically proven) combined contraindication to both testing and vaccination, she has to stay in a 10 day self-isolation after arriving from a risk country. It is very strongly recommended that they also use personal protective equipment, e.g. an FFP2 or FFP3 respirator, when participating in activities.

  • If a person cannot get tested due to medical reasons (e.g. he has a specific facial trauma), it is possible to get vaccinated and participate in activities with a COVID immunisation certificate (either the paper based immunisation passport or a digital certificate).

 

Last updated: 28 August 2021