You are here

The government is amending the COVID-19 movement restriction regulations

18. August 2020 - 0:00

Tallinn, Stenbock House, 18 August 2020 – The government has decided to amend the movement restrictions issued to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Among other things, the isolation requirements for travel from countries with a high infection rate will change, as will the capacity constraints for indoor culture and public events and conferences, and the disinfection requirements in public places will be harmonised.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas stated that after the emergency situation, the state is ready to react flexibly and locally to the spread of the coronavirus in order not to close the whole society. ‘The main challenge is to learn to live with a virus that threatens human health, which still means responsible and healthy behaviour for oneself and others,’ he said.

‘In order for everyday life not to stop in the new circumstances, we must all protect the health of ourselves and those around us. As a country, we try to create a framework in which, through the diligent behaviour of each person and the efforts of event organisers, people can resume their normal lives by following the rules. This means that we would be able to visit theatres, cinemas, concerts, conferences, and public events. School life must also continue as closely as we are used to.’


Amendment in the government’s order in connection with major events

The government provides for the possibility to establish exceptions for the organisation of sports competitions and events and public events by its decision. The exception is intended for major events that exceed the current limit for the number of outdoor and indoor participants, i.e. 1,500 indoor and 2,000 outdoor participants. The Health Board may impose restrictions on the freedom of movement of participants in such events, and other additional measures may be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

The government can decide to make such a distinction in the overriding public or national interest. In order to organise this event, the local government must know of it, and the organiser of the event must have discussed with the Health Board how the risks of the spread of the virus are managed.


Amendment in the government’s order in connection with travel-related self-isolation and work

From 1 September, in the event of a negative COVID-19 test result, it will be possible to go to work after coming from countries at risk if this is absolutely necessary and a negative virus test is given immediately upon arrival in the country. Until the result of the test is known, the person must be in complete self-isolation. In case of a negative test result, the person must stay in self-isolation for the first seven days, i.e. they can go to work and, for example, a shop, but must avoid unnecessary contacts. A second test must be performed no earlier than 7 days after the result of the first test, and if it is negative, normal life can be resumed. This means that a person will not be subjected to 14-day self-isolation after two negative tests, which applies to all those coming from high-risk countries who do not take the test.

This does not apply to people who have come to work and study from a third country on the EU’s single list.

The 14-day restriction on travel-related freedom of movement still does not apply to existing exemptions, such as for foreign diplomats, vital service providers, staff involved in passenger and freight transport, and so on.  Foreigners whose arrival in Estonia is related to maintenance of equipment of a company operating here or to other essential work necessary to ensure the operation of the company must now take the test to work when crossing the state border.


Amendment to the government’s order in connection with cultural and public events – 50% limit

Indoors, the 50% occupancy limit does not apply to theatre performances, concerts and cinema screenings, conferences, and public meetings and events, provided that stationary seating is provided for the whole audience. The exception to the 50% limit does not apply to events where temporary seats are used.


Schools

Today, the government decided to remove the restrictions on educational institutions, which will be replaced in the new school year by recommendations issued in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Pursuant to the decision, the indoor occupancy limit of up to 50% and the restrictions on the number of people no longer apply in basic schools, upper secondary schools, vocational schools, and high schools, but also in refresher training institutions, hobby schools, open youth centres, youth camps, and student work camps. The restrictions also do not apply to the provision of hobby activities and hobby education, as well as to the organisation of trainings for drivers of a power-driven vehicle, drivers of a motor vehicle, and drivers of motor vehicles transporting hazardous load.

The restrictions set out in the government order will be replaced by guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, which will reach schools on Wednesday in cooperation with the Health Board.

Today, the Government Communication Unit also sends the texts of the orders and explanatory notes to possessors of media. All changes that do not concern travel-related self-isolation will take effect tomorrow. The exemption for people coming from a country at risk regarding the performance of unavoidable duties after a negative test will take effect on 1 September.