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The Government adopted further restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

3. December 2020 - 16:03

Stenbock House, 3 December 2020 – Today, the Government approved further measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which will restrict the opening times of entertainment establishments, locations for holding public events, and catering establishments, and will reduce the number of persons allowed to simultaneously visit stores and service locations. The restrictions will enter into force on Saturday, 5 December.

“The spread of the virus remains high in Estonia, despite the restrictions established so far. Also, increasingly more people who have fallen ill with COVID-19 require hospital treatment, and the death rate caused by the illness has risen. The higher burden on the healthcare system caused by the coronavirus already significantly affects access to health care in case of other health concerns,” said Prime Minister Jüri Ratas. “Since the virus is widely spreading in public areas in Estonia, from where, people carry it to their homes and families, the Government had to further restrict crowded opportunities of spending free time. The almost daily reports of people losing their lives to the coronavirus are not just mere statistics. These are Estonian people, who are our mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, daughters and sons, our loved ones and people close to us. We are obligated to do make every effort to protect them and to hinder and control the spread of this virus that has such serious consequences.”

The restrictions that will become effective on 5 December:

Up to 50% capacity in sales areas and public areas of stores and service areas of service providers

There may be no more people than the 50% capacity of a given space in indoor sales areas and public spaces of stores and service areas of service providers. At that, people must also adhere to the 2+2 rule, i.e., only up to two people may travel together, and they must keep a two-metre distance from other people.

Restriction on visiting catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events between 22:00 to 6:00

Catering and entertainment establishments and locations for holding public events where a stationary seat is not ensured to event visitors, must keep their doors closed to visitors from 22:00 to 6:00. Selling food for customers to take away or enabling a courier or transport service for purchasing food will still be allowed for catering establishments. Organising private parties is also forbidden in all these locations. Requirements on public events and sporting and recreational sports events will also be harmonised.

As at 3 December, there were 218 COVID-19 patients requiring hospital treatment. Already as at 30 November, bed occupancy was critically high in three hospitals: Ida-Viru Central Hospital, West Tallinn Central Hospital and Narva Hospital. The number of patients over the age of 60 is also growing constantly. The average age of hospitalised people is 68.5 years; the proportion of people aged 60 or older in hospitals is 73.3%.  Also, in the Ida Viru County welfare system, more infected people have been added from the nursing home outbreaks; for example, as at 2 December 2020, there are 15 customers in the Kohtla-Järve nursing home who have a higher likelihood of requiring hospital treatment. In addition, the average length of stay in hospitals has increased on the account of the more severely ill.

The Government Communication Unit is publishing the order and its explanatory memorandum on the website.