Stenbock House, March 9, 2021 – At an e-meeting, the Government approved the order regarding the restrictions that go into force from Thursday. The restrictions will be in force for at least a month, so from March 11 until April 11. The goal of the restrictions is to reduce contacts between people, to get the spread of the coronavirus under control in Estonia, and ensure Estonia’s health care system’s ability to function.
The 2+2 rule will be in force in public outdoor spaces as well
Starting from March 11, no more than two people can move around in a public outdoor space together, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others. The restriction does not extend to families moving around together or situations where it cannot be reasonably adhered to. The 2+2 rule must be followed everywhere in public spaces, on streets, playgrounds, in parks and parking lots, but also when moving around in nature, for instance when you meet other people on a bog hike. The 2+2 has already been in force in all public indoor spaces.
Starting from March 11, students in grades 1 to 4 must also start distance learning, and contact learning is not permitted for those that are preparing to take the final exams of basic school or state exams. As an exception, it is still foreseen that in emergency cases, primary school students may continue to spend time in school buildings and participate in activities organised there.
Taking into account the restrictions enacted to stop the spread of the coronavirus, spending time in school buildings is allowed to a student who needs educational support services, consultations in order to achieve learning results, is participating in practical learning, or taking exams or tests. Going forward, carrying out preparatory work for the Olympiads is not allowed as a contact activity until at least April 11.
The Government strongly recommends not taking children to kindergarten or child care if there isn’t an urgent need. The Ministry of Education and Research will issue the institutions guidelines on how to organise their work as safely as possible, reiterating the main preventive measures and principles of work organisation.
Indoor and outdoor sports, training, youth work, hobby activities, informal education, and refresher training
Starting from March 11, it is prohibited to carry out any of the abovementioned activities in public indoor spaces.
Indoor training activities may continue only for professional athletes in a competition system of a sports federation, members and candidates of Estonian national adult and youth teams and athletes of the teams in the highest national divisions. Members of the second national division teams are not allowed to train indoors.
The restriction continues to not apply to the activities of people with special needs and rehabilitation.
Outdoor informal education, hobby activities, refresher training, youth work, sports and training are allowed only if the 2+2 rule is followed. This means that no more than two people (counting the instructor) can move around and practice sports together, keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from other people. The restriction does not apply to families moving around together.
The restrictions on practicing sports outdoors also do not extend to professional athletes, and members and candidates of the national team. Neither do the restrictions extend to the activities related to the military defence and internal security of the state, people with special needs and rehabilitation activities.
Sports competitions, and sports and exercise events
Starting from March 11, it is only allowed to carry out indoor sports competitions if the participants are professional athletes taking part in the competition system of a sports federation and members and candidates of Estonian national adult and youth teams and athletes of the teams in the highest national divisions. Competitions in the second national divisions are prohibited.
No more than 50 people may participate in sports competitions and sports and exercise events indoors, and no more than 100 people outdoors.
The restriction on exercise events continues to not extend to the activities of people with special needs and rehabilitation. The restrictions also do not extend to activities related to the military defence and internal security of the state.
Saunas, spas, pools, water parks and swimming facilities
Saunas, spas, pools, water parks and swimming facilities intended for public use must be closed until April 11.
The restriction does not extend to the members and candidates of Estonian national adult and youth teams, athletes of the highest national divisions, people with special needs, rehabilitation activities, training people who are connected to the military defence and internal security of the state.
People who do not have washing facilities at home may use the sauna as a service organised by the local municipality.
Indoor and outdoor public meetings, events, worship services; culture; entertainment
All public indoor spaces must remain closed for visitors until April 11. This pertains to theatres, cinemas, museums, exhibition venues, conferences, but also children’s playrooms, bowling and pool halls, night clubs, casinos etc. The organisations that are able to continue working within the organisation may do so if the requirements aiming to stop the spread of the coronavirus are followed. This, for instance, pertains to rehearsals at performing arts institutions or research at museums.
The restrictions do not cover conferences, concerts or theatre performances that are broadcasted online and where the only participants are the performers and the necessary personnel.
It is prohibited to organise privately ordered events in all public indoor spaces.
The churches may remain open only for individual prayer; public worship services and other religious services are not allowed. It is still allowed to carry out funeral services but the recommendation is to do it only in a small circle of close ones and, if possible, the 2+2 rule needs to be followed and masks worn. It is recommended to not organise a funeral reception at home, except for members of the household.
Going forward, it is only allowed to be at outdoor areas of museums and outdoor meetings, public worship services and other public religious services. The prohibition on being in these places or participating in events that take place there between the hours of 21.00 and 06.00 will remain in force.
At outdoor areas of museums it must be seen to that the occupancy does not exceed 25% and the 2+2 movement restriction must be adhered to. It is still allowed to carry out outdoor public meetings and public religious services but no more than 10 people may participate in them.
Starting from March 11 it is prohibited to eat and drink onsite at the sales or service areas of a catering establishment. It will only be allowed to sell food for takeaway. When selling food for takeaway, it must be ensured that the occupancy of the room does not exceed 25%, the obligation to wear a mask and the 2+2 rule are followed. It is not allowed to provide the service on outdoor terraces.
The restriction also applies to catering at hotels and other accommodation providers. It is allowed to sell food to go to the customers or, for instance, offer catering through room service.
Starting from March 11, only stores selling essential goods may remain open – this means grocery stores, pharmacies, stores selling aid equipment and medical devices, the sales points of the representations of telecommunications enterprises, optics stores, pet stores, and filling stations. It is not allowed to offer onsite catering at the filling station cafes.
The maximum 25% occupancy requirement, the 2+2 rule and the obligation to wear a mask must be taken into account in stores that are allowed to remain open and in the public areas of shopping centres.
All other stores must remain closed. It is only allowed to trade if the customer does not need to enter the indoor sales space of the enterprise in order to receive the goods. The goods may only be issued at the store’s outdoor sales or issuing area, and at a roofed parking area of a shopping centre by creating an issuing point there. The customers receiving their goods outside of the indoor sales space of the store must be spread out, by, for instance, marking down 2 metre distances in the line to the issuing point. It is recommended to use delivery service or e-trade.
The public areas of shopping centres, allowing access to, for instance, the grocery store, remain open. Access must also be ensured to the service providers and parcel terminals that are located in the shopping centre.
Enterprises that provide services may continue their activities but the occupancy limit will become stricter starting from March 11. The occupancy requirement will be reduced to 25% from the previous 50%. All rules aiming to stop the spread of the coronavirus must be followed: the 2+2 rule, the obligation to wear a mask, following the disinfection requirements in accordance with the guidelines of the Health Board.
The service providers that may continue their activities are, for instance, post offices, bank offices, libraries, beauty and hair salons, shoe and watch repair shops, car repair shops, tire change points etc. The mobile phone stores that offer mobile phone and computer repair services are also service providers.
In addition to the restrictions, the government very strongly recommends that organising private parties be avoided and contacts with other people be reduced to a minimum. If a meeting is urgent, no more than six people should participate at it at once.
The Government Communications Unit will publish the order and its explanatory memorandum on the web page kriis.ee