Stenbock House, 19 February 2021 – At an online cabinet meeting today, the government confirmed the necessary measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which will take effect on Monday.
Between 1 and 7 March, the usual teaching in the study buildings of general education schools will continue only for students in grades 1–4. Students in other grades will not be taught on site and they may not be in the study buildings during this period.
Students can be in the study buildings if they need educational support services or, in the opinion of the teacher, counselling to achieve learning outcomes, participate in practical training, take examinations or tests, or participate in olympiads. There is also no restriction on general education schools where the majority of students receive enhanced support or special support or on the activities of people with disabilities.
Hobby education and activities, refresher training and refresher courses, and youth work and sports
Group activities or training in the form of hobby education and activities, refresher training and courses, and youth work and sports for children, young people, and adults are not permitted for at least the next two weeks. Activities or trainings are allowed alone or in pairs, for example with a personal trainer or training partner, ensuring that a distance of at least two metres is kept with other people. Doubles are also allowed in sports that fall under the definition of individual sports, such as tennis.
Indoors, it must be ensured that the occupancy of the room does not exceed 50 per cent and the total number of participants does not exceed 200. This means, for example, that a maximum of 200 people can play sports or engage in hobby education or activities in one large room, ensuring they keep at least two metres apart, either individually or in pairs, if the 50% occupancy requirement allows.
Outdoor sports, training, youth work, hobby activities, hobby education, refresher training, and refresher courses will continue to be subject to the current procedure, in accordance with which groups of up to 50 people are allowed together with the supervisor, who may not come in contact with other groups. As a new requirement, the government set a maximum number of participants: the total number of participants per group in the respective outdoor activities may not exceed 250.
The restrictions do not apply to children in the same kindergarten class who are together in the same group on a daily basis and to those students who are allowed to be in educational buildings and who study in the same class because they come into contact on a daily basis. In addition, the restrictions do not apply to professional sports activities and activities of people with disabilities.
Saunas, spas, swimming pools, and water parks
Visitors in public saunas, spas, swimming pools, and water parks are generally not allowed from Monday. The aim of the restriction is to reduce human contact, given that it is not possible to wear a mask and keep a distance of at least two metres in most of these activities. Account has also been taken of the fact that the popularity of spas and water parks increases during the school holidays, which, in turn, increases the risk of the coronavirus spreading.
From Monday onwards, visitors of these establishments may be in service halls, such as hair or manicure salons, as well as accommodation and catering establishments, provided that the rules generally laid down for these establishments are complied with. Thus, for example, the use of indoor swimming pools for individual swimming is permitted.
The restriction does not apply to professional sports activities taking place in the competitive system of sports governing bodies, including members and candidates of adult and youth Estonian national teams, first- and second-division teams, as well as to the activities of disabled people.
The 50% occupancy rule will apply from next week in catering establishments. This means that up to 50 per cent of the space provided for customers may be filled in the sales or service hall of a catering establishment. In addition, there must be a distance of at least two metres between the tables. The aim of the restriction is to ensure that people in different tables do not come into contact and that catering establishments are dispersed so that customers can stay there as safely as possible.
Other rules for catering establishments will not change: up to six people can be together in a catering establishment, keeping a distance of at least two metres with others. The requirement for up to six people to be together does not apply to families.
Public gatherings and services
Public gatherings and services with non-stationary seating are allowed indoors with a maximum occupancy of 50%. In this case, indoor gatherings can be attended by up to 200 people instead of the previous 250. Outdoor events are allowed for up to 250 people instead of the previous 500, but they must be dispersed.
The changes do not apply to events that take place in a room with stationary seating, such as a cinema, theatre, or concert hall.
The same rules, i.e. the requirement of 50% occupancy and the limit of 200 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events, also apply at the places and times when entertainment services are provided. In outdoor conditions, the entertainment service includes various organised activities, such as an organised bog trip or going to a barrel sauna, during which the people must also be dispersed.
The government introduced additional measures because the coronavirus is spreading all over Estonia and the number of infections is very high. In the last week, the number of infections of coronavirus increased by 21.2 per cent and the number of hospitalisations with coronavirus also increased by 12 per cent. The aim of the additional measures is to reduce human contact more effectively than before, to prevent larger gatherings of people, and thus to stop the spread of the virus.
The order is published in Riigi Teataja and on the website kriis.ee.