- Latest Updates:
- 12/04/2021: Update on (Re)introduction of measures: Physical distancing by Andres Vork, Kaija Kasekamp, Kristiina Kahur, Kristina Köhler , Marge Reinap, Triin Habicht
- 17/11/2020: Update on Transition measures: physical distancing by Andres Vork, Kaija Kasekamp, Kristiina Kahur, Marge Reinap, Triin Habicht
- 11/11/2020: Update on Initial response: Physical distancing by Andres Vork, Kaija Kasekamp, Kristiina Kahur, Marge Reinap, Triin Habicht
1.2 Physical distancing
From the 25th of September, alcohol sales in restaurants, bars, nightclubs etc. are restricted all over the country, with prohibited sales from midnight until 10 a.m.
On public transport, in the service halls and public areas of commercial enterprises and at conferences, concerts, theatres, and cinemas, a mask must be worn or the nose and mouth must otherwise be covered. Carriers, enterprises, and event organisers are responsible for monitoring compliance with this requirement. People with certain medical indications (for example, asthmatics or the deaf) and children under the age of 12 do not have to wear a mask. Other justified situations are also possible (for example, if there are no other passengers in the vehicle).
The government reintroduced a 2 + 2 rule in lobbies and public areas of commercial enterprises. According to this rule, no more than two people may be together and people must keep a distance of at least two meters from others, except for families or in cases where this cannot be reasonably guaranteed.
In catering and entertainment establishments, the minimum distance rule of two meters should be observed between the groups of people, with a maximum allowed size of 10 people per group. This restriction does not apply to members of the same family, nor does it apply to, for example, hobby education and children’s playrooms.
Effective from 16 November, all catering and entertainment establishments will close from midnight until 6 a.m. This restriction does not apply to take-away services. The rules will take effect on 16 November.
New measures were put in place starting from 24th of November, including:
In the entire country:
· The so-called 2+2 rule will be re-established in shops and common areas of shopping centers, such as corridors and the atrium. Pursuant to the order, no more than two people may move together and a distance of at least two meters must be kept with others. The restriction does not apply to families or in situations where this cannot be reasonably ensured. The restriction does not apply to employees of service providers, such as pharmacies, banks, beauty salons, shoemakers, etc.
· The government imposed a less restrictive measure on the freedom of movement in the sales and service halls of catering establishments and in entertainment and cultural establishments, such as theatres, cinemas, concerts, nightclubs, etc. In these locations, groups of up to 10 people are allowed and a distance of at least two meters must be kept with others (the 10 + 2 rule).
· The restriction applies in all places except for seating areas. In other words, it does not apply when you are sitting in your seat in a theatre or cinema. The restriction does not apply to the local staff. There is also an exception for families, which means that people in the same family can move together regardless of the size of the family.
· The service provider must ensure that customers are able to meet the requirements and that groups of people can maintain distance from one another. Catering establishments offering on-site dining must ensure that customers are able to meet the requirement of keeping a distance of two meters, for example, by placing tables at a sufficient distance.
· Events with fixed seats will continue to be exempt from the 50 per cent occupancy limit, but they cannot exceed the limit of 750 participants. Starting from the 28th of November, the maximum number of participants in public events will be reduced. Up to 400 people can take part in an indoors public event with stationary seating, otherwise, up to 250 people are allowed. For outdoor events, the maximum number of participants is 500.
· In addition, the government has decided that catering and entertainment establishments must close their doors to visitors from midnight to 6 a.m. from Monday, 16 November. Take-away food sales and purchases are allowed.
· Cultural institutions with stationary seats, such as theatres, cinemas, and concert halls, may keep their doors open to customers past midnight.
· The Government extended the restriction on the night-time sale of alcohol until 26 January.
· Mask use: There is an obligation to wear a mask or to cover one’s nose and mouth in public indoor spaces. Obligation to wear a mask or cover one’s nose and mouth indoors, including on public transport and at service points, during hobby education and activities, as well as refresher training and refresher courses.
People for whom it is medically contraindicated, as well as children under the age of 12, do not need to cover their nose and mouth or wear a mask if sufficient distance is ensured and in other justified cases.
· Sport- 50 per cent occupancy limit, maximum 250 people for participants.
· Work places: The strict recommendation to telework, if possible, remains valid.
Special RESTRICTIONS IN HARJU COUNTY AND IDA VIRU COUNTY:
Public events and meetings, culture and entertainment, churches
The 50% occupancy limit will apply to cultural institutions, which means halls with stationary seating, such as theatres, cinemas, concert venues as well as churches, and to public events (including conferences), public meetings, and entertainment activities (excluding children’s playrooms). The obligation to wear a mask or to cover one’s nose and mouth will apply everywhere in these places.The dispersed seating model and maximum number of participants is the same as the country-wide restrictions described above.
Hobby education and activities and indoor refresher training and refresher courses
A group limit of 10 people is set and the people must be dispersed, with the same mask-wearing regulations as described above.Indoor sports activities
Group training can be performed in groups of up to 10 people. For example, this applies to indoor fitness classes and other similar training activities. The restriction does not apply to professional and semi-professional sports under the auspices of sports governing bodies, including youth sports and extracurricular sports activities.
During peak hours, more buses will be added to the schedule, and masks must be worn or one’s nose and mouth must be covered.
Upper secondary schools
The Health Board will issue an order to local governments on central organization of distance learning in Harju and Ida-Viru counties; the Ministry of Education and Research will issue the order to state educational institutions.
New restrictions in Ida Viru country starting from December 12 to January 3 (extended in Ida-Viru county until 17 January 2021) and also in place in Harju county from 28 December until 17 January
Entertainment and accommodation facilities, museums, and exhibitions must be closed to customers and visitors. The restriction on accommodation services does not apply to people directly involved in resolving the emergency situation, such as doctors and nurses who have gone to work in Ida-Viru County from other parts of Estonia.
All sports facilities must be closed to customers, including sports clubs, saunas, spas, swimming pools, water centres, and swimming pools. 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 national teams and big league teams, activities related to the country's military defence and internal security, and people with special needs.
All sales and service halls of catering companies must be closed to customers. Food takeaway and related courier service will be allowed.
Both outdoor and indoor public meetings and events, including conferences, theatre performances, concerts, and cinema screenings are not allowed.
Churches and other religious venues may remain open under the current requirements.
It is prohibited to conduct youth work, hobby activities and education, refresher training, and refresher courses. These activities may only be continued as individual activities or at a distance. The restriction does not apply to activities related to the country's military defence and internal security, as well as to people with special needs.
Exercise and training in public indoor areas are not allowed. Contactless individual activities and training are allowed outdoors, either alone or with a trainer. 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 national teams and big league teams, activities related to the country's military defence and internal security, and people with special needs.
New country-wide (except Ida Viru, see above) restrictions starting from December 14
Outdoor and indoor sports
Only contactless individual activities and training or activities done with e-solutions with a trainer are allowed indoors. The 2 + 2 rule applies and a mask must be worn. The obligation to wear a mask does not apply to children under the age of 12 or if it is not possible to wear a mask due to health reasons or the nature of work and activity. Shared items must be disinfected after each use.
Outdoor sports are allowed in groups of up to 10, plus a trainer.
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 national teams and big league teams, activities related to the country's military defence and internal security, and people with special needs.
Sports and exercise events are not allowed until 3 January 2021 (inclusive).
Until January 3 (inclusive), sports competitions are allowed only for big league teams participating in the competitive system of sports governing bodies, professional athletes, and members and candidates of the Estonian national adult and youth team. Spectators are not allowed.
The 2 + 2 rule applies, but not to the competitors during the competition. A mask must be worn indoors. The above exceptions apply to wearing a mask. The organiser of the competition must provide disinfectants.
Youth work, hobby activities and education, refresher training and refresher courses
Youth work, refresher training, and refresher courses are only allowed at a distance or in contactless individual activities and training, which may be done with a supervisor. The 2 + 2 rule applies. A mask must be worn indoors, subject to the above exceptions. Shared items must be disinfected after each use.
Up to 10 people can take part in outdoor hobby education and hobby activities, plus a supervisor or coach.
The restriction does not apply to activities related to the country's military defence and internal security, as well as to people with special needs. These restrictions do not apply to the Astangu Vocational Rehabilitation Centre.
Until 31 December 2020, the study buildings of general education schools, vocational education institutions, institutions of professional higher education, and universities will be closed. In exceptional cases, distance learning may be conducted at the decision of the school. Personal consultations, olympiads, internships, and examinations and tests may also be carried out exceptionally and at the discretion of the school (compliance must be ensured with the following requirements: 2 + 2 rule, wearing masks indoors with the above exceptions, availability of disinfectants).
Contact teaching can take place for students with special educational needs.
Kindergartens and childcare institutions will remain open.
The restrictions do not apply to institutions and schools for children with special needs.
The restrictions in schools were extended until 10 January. In schools where school break ends before 10 January, grades 1-4 can learn in the school buildings, while other grades will remain in remote learning.
Starting from 11 January, in-person learning will continue in schools except for Harju and Ida-Viru counties, where 1-4, 9 and 12th grades will start learning in school buildings and other grades will remain in remote learning.
New restrictions were put in place from the 22nd of February 2021 and they will last till the 28th of March 2021. These new restrictions will take effect from 1 March 2021 i.e. after the end of the school break in public schools.
Based on the proposal of the Scientific Council the government decided that for one week after the end of the school holidays there will be no on-site teaching in schools starting from the 5th grade and older classes. Thus, students may not be in the school buildings from 1–28 March.
This does not apply to grade 1–4 students or if students need educational support services or, in the opinion of the teacher, counselling.Exceptions are also made to participate in practical training, take examinations or tests, or participate in Olympiads.
Hobby education and activities, refresher training and refresher courses, and youth work and sports
Group activities in the form of hobby education and activities, refresher training and courses, youth work and sports for children, young people, and adults are not permitted until the 28th of March. Originally, room capacity was set at 50% but this changed to 25% as of the 3rd of March. For outdoor activities, the maximum group size is 50 and starting from 3rd of March, 10 people in a group.
Hobby education and activities, refresher training and courses, youth work and sports activities can be organised for up to 250 people, provided that the requirement for people to disperse is complied with. The same applies to outdoor sports competitions. Starting from 3rd of March up to the 28th of March only athletes are permitted to do group sports.
Public gatherings and services
Public gatherings and services with non-stationary seating are allowed indoors at a maximum occupancy of 50%. Indoor events (religious events, meetings, conferences, theater, concerts, cinema etc) are allowed for a maximum of 200 people.Outdoor events are allowed for up to 250 people, but they must be dispersed. Starting from 3rd of March up to the 28th of March public gatherings and services are totally forbidden.
The same rules above, also apply at the places and times when entertainment services are provided. The requirements apply to the provision of entertainment services in both public and non-public places. Starting from 3rd of March till 28th of March they are forbidden.
Starting from 3rd up to 28th of March it is also forbidden to be in any entertainment places like casinos, nightclubs, bowling, children playrooms, museums, exhibitions etc. Outdoor entertainment is allowed (religious events, meetings, museums etc) with a maximum of 10 people in groups. No events can be organized between 9 in the evening until 6 in the morning.
The 50% occupancy rule will apply from 22 March 2021 in catering establishments. In addition, the government considers it necessary to implement targeted monitoring of compliance with the requirements in force in catering establishments. Starting from 3rd of March, caterers can open for clients until 6 in the evening and later only for take away.
Saunas, swimming pools, spas, and water parks
Only sports activities are allowed in public saunas, spas, swimming pools, and water parks until the 28th of March, provided that the rules applicable to sports activities are followed. This restriction does not apply to professional sports activities taking place in the competitive system of sports governing bodies, including to members and candidates of adult and youth Estonian national teams and big league teams, as well as to disabled people.
The Government decided to extend the nationwide restriction on the night-time sale of alcohol until 31 March (inclusive). The restriction means that the sale of alcohol is prohibited between 22:00 and 10:00 in all locations that sell alcohol for on-site consumption, such as restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The restriction on the sale of alcohol is not applicable on board an aircraft used for international passenger transport, in the security area of an international airport, and at a point of sale located behind the check-in gates at the waiting area of an international port’s travel terminal. The restriction is also not applicable for minibars and during breakfast for guests staying overnight at accommodation establishments.
New restrictions will apply to the whole territory of Estonia and will enter into force from Thursday, 11 March until 11 April 2021:
The 2+2 rule will have to be followed outside as well:
In order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the 2+2 movement restriction will apply in public outdoor spaces, which means that up to two people may move around together, keeping a distance of 2 metres from others. The restriction does not apply to families and in situations where it cannot be observed.
The Government is very strongly recommending that children are not taken to the kindergarten or child care unless it is urgently necessary. The Ministry of Education and Research is issuing guidelines on how to organise work in a pre-school child care facility as safely as possible.
Starting from 11 March 2021, students in grades 1 to 4 are not allowed to be in the school buildings, and those preparing for the basic school final exams and state exams will not be allowed to have contact learning. 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 for students who need educational support services, consultations in order to achieve learning results as well as participants in practical learning, taking exams or tests.
Sports, training, youth work, hobby activities, informal education and refresher training:
Starting from 11 March 2021, all indoor activities in the listed sectors are prohibited. The restriction does not extend to people with special needs or rehabilitation activities.
All outdoor hobby and informal education activities, refresher training, youth work, sports and training are only allowed if the 2+2 movement restriction is adhered to. This means that no more than 2 people can move around and do sports together (including an instructor), keeping a distance of at least 2 metres from others. The restrictions do not apply to the activities of people with special needs, including the provision of social and occupational rehabilitation services.
The restrictions on doing sports indoors and outdoors also do not extend to professional athletes, members of the national team, or candidates of the national team. Sports competitions of the second national league will be prohibited. No more than 50 people may participate in sports competitions and sports and exercise events indoors, and no more than 100 people outdoors. These restrictions do not extend to the activities related to the military defence and internal security of the state.
Public events, culture, entertainment, spas, pools, saunas:
Starting from 11 March 2021, it is also prohibited to carry out outdoor public events, and to go to places where entertainment services are provided, whether the venues have permanent or temporary seating. Spas, pools, saunas and swimming facilities must also close.
Only outdoor public meetings and public worship services can be held, and the number of participants are limited to 10 people. It is allowed to be at outdoor exhibition spaces of museums while following the 2+2 rule and it must be calculated that the occupancy of an area with an enclosed space is no more than 25%.
Catering establishments will only be allowed to sell food for takeaway.
Stores and shopping centres:
Starting from 11 March 2021, the stores must close. The restriction does not apply to grocery stores, pharmacies, stores that sell aid equipment and medical devices, the sales points of telecommunications enterprises, optical stores, pet stores and filling stations. It is not allowed to eat and drink on site at a gas station cafe.
The stores that will remain open have to take into account the requirement that the occupancy of their space cannot exceed 25%, and the 2+2 movement restriction.
In other cases, the only allowed forms of selling are the so-called selling from a window, where the goods will be issued to the customer without the customer entering an indoor sales space, drive-in type of selling and selling in outdoor spaces. The store keeper must ensure that the customers do not come into contact with each other.
Enterprises providing services may continue their activities but the occupancy requirement will become more stringent – the previous 50% maximum occupancy will be reduced to 25%. All rules intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus must be followed: the 2+2 rule, mask wearing, adhering to the disinfection requirements in accordance with the guidelines of the Health Board.
On 30 March 2021, the government extended the coronavirus restrictions on shops, schools and restaurants until 25 April. They were due to expire on 11 April.
The retail sale of alcoholic beverages (prohibited from 10:00 pm to 10:00 am) was extended to 30th of April 2021.
All children taking the state exams in April can take a pre exam PCR saliva tests. In coordination with the Health Board, students are tested 72-48 hours before the exam, so that the test results will be available in time (usually processed within 24 hours). Testing is optional. Examiners can collect samples either at schools or, if necessary, at selected testing points.
The government began to announce transition measures for physical distancing starting from 19 May, and further clarified the eased restrictions on 21 May.
In public places and indoor premises, the so-called 2+2 rule remains in force, which means that up to two people may be together, keeping a distance of 2-metres from other people. The rule does not apply to families or people living together, but applies for all activities both outdoors and indoors aside from at home.
Sales and service premises
In sales and service premises, catering establishments and public shopping spaces, the owner of the establishment must ensure compliance with the 2+2 rule. When entering and exiting the sales and service premises, both employees and customers must be provided with the possibility of using disinfectants.
Until July 1, catering establishments premises cannot be open after 22:00, except for take-away purchases. After July 1, catering establishments can be open without restrictions. On 21 May, this was updated so that from 1 June, restaurants and bars may be open for visitors after 22:00 as long as the 2+2 rule is observed and disinfectants are made available. From the same date, catering establishments may also sell alcohol after 10 p.m.
Certain entertainment facilities remain closed
After the end of the emergency situation, nightclubs, casinos and slot machine arcades, hookah bars, and adult clubs will remain closed. On 21 May, this was updated so that from 1 June, casinos and arcades can reopen, but establishments must comply with the 50 per cent capacity requirement and no more than 50 visitors are allowed on the premises. In addition, disinfectants must be available for staff and visitors.
Leisure and entertainment services
As of June 1, certain entertainment establishments may open, such as bowling alleys, billiard halls, and playrooms for children. The service provider must ensure that the establishment follows the 50 percent capacity requirements on the premises, provides disinfectants, and observes rules regarding the provision of disinfection in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board. The rules for recreational sports apply to bowling and billiards.
Saunas, spas, swimming pools, water parks
Saunas, spas, swimming pools, and water parks can open as of June 1. Compliance with the 2+2 rule, the requirement for dispersion of people, the requirement for 50 percent capacity, and the requirement for disinfection must be guaranteed according to the instructions of the Health Board. The rules on sports are applicable for swimming exercises.
Public religious services and other religious rites are allowed if the 2+2 rule is complied with and the provision of disinfectants is guaranteed.
Public meetings may be held only if the 2+2 rule is followed.
Public meetings may be held indoors if the 50 percent capacity rule is observed. As of May 18, up to 10 persons may participate, as of June 1, 50 persons, and as of July 1, 500 persons.
Public meetings may be held outdoors if the organiser ensures no more than 100 persons attend as of May 18, and no more than 1000 persons from July 1. The 2+2 rule must be observed.
Originally, all public events were prohibited until 30 June. On 21 May, this was updated so that public events such as film screenings, theatre performances, fairs, festivals, conferences, and concerts, are allowed from 1 June both indoors and outdoors. However, the organiser must ensure compliance with the 2+2 rule and the 50 per cent capacity requirement, and no more than 50 persons may take part in the event. Public events held outdoors may not be attended by more than 100 persons.
As an exception, public events are allowed where visitors can stay in their cars, such as drive-in cinemas and concerts. Originally this was applied to open air public events but the government lifted this restriction on 21 May so that suitable indoor spaces (e.g., large halls) could be used for drive-in cinemas and concerts. The organiser of the event must ensure that the 2+2 rule is observed, the participants must not leave the car without an unavoidable reason and the distance between parked cars must remain sufficient. If necessary, the organiser of the event must ensure the provision of disinfectants on the spot.
After July 1, no more than 500 people can participate in any indoor event, even if the space would allow a 50 percent capacity higher than 500 people. The number of participants in the outdoor event may be up to 1000 persons.
Education in lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools, vocational education institutions and higher education institutions (except in research and development institutions of universities and research institutions), as well as in continuous education institutions, informal education and hobby activities, and the activities of open youth centres must follow the 2+2 rule; students may work in groups of no more than 10 students (except for exams); during exams, the students must be dispersed in the exam room; the movement of groups of students must be dispersed, and all communal items must be disinfected after use.
As of June 1, informal education and hobby activities must be organised in such a way that the 2+2 requirement is observed, no more than 50 percent of the indoor capacity may be used, and the number of participants outdoors cannot exceed 100 people. An informal education or hobby activity related to sports is described separately below.
As of June 12, it is possible to organise youth camps and student camps if the 2+2 rule is observed, with no more than 300 participants and one group can have up to 20 people. The organiser must ensure that disinfectants are available.
In driving schools, and other premises, training must take into account that only one instructor and one student may be in the car, and the disinfectants are provided in the vehicle. The organiser of the training must clean all of the surfaces touched by students after each lesson.
It is allowed to engage in sports, to train and hold sports and exercise events if the 2+2 rule is observed and the number of participants does not exceed 10 persons, and the organiser has ensured the availability of disinfectants. For indoor events, the space must not exceed 50 percent capacity. Until June 1, the number of participants may not exceed 100 persons and the organiser must ensure that disinfectants are available. This restriction does not apply to sports teams if the requirements of the international competition regulation are followed, for trainings of Estonian national teams, and championship league trainings.
Sports competitions without spectators can be held outdoors with no more than 100 participants. The provision of disinfectants must be guaranteed.
From 1 July, sports competitions can be held with spectators, provided that the 2+2 rule is observed, the organisers comply with the 50 percent capacity requirement, and no more than 500 persons take part of the event. For outdoor sports competitions, up to 1,000 participants are allowed if the rules are followed. The total number of participants includes both competitors and spectators.
Museums and exhibition institutions
When visiting museums and exhibition institutions, the 2+2 rule must be observed. For group tours, there may be a maximum of ten visitors in the group until 1 June, with ensured availability of disinfectants. The surfaces frequently touched by visitors must be cleaned frequently. If possible, the organiser should offer digital information materials instead of physical materials. Creative workshops will not be organised using commonly used tools or, if organised, they will be disinfected after each user.
The restriction on the sale of alcohol will be lifted on 1 June
From 1 June, the retail sale of alcohol will be allowed as before the emergency situation.
From 19 June, the government has decided to replace the 2+2 rule with a requirement to disperse people. This means that people must maintain a safe distance between one another, but the state no longer requires compliance with the 2+2 rule.
Dispersion requirements will replace the 2+2 rule in public spaces, such as stores, service points and public spaces at shopping centres as well as at gambling locations. Dispersion must also be ensured at public events, public meetings and religious services.
The requirement will apply to public saunas, spas, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys, pool halls and children's playrooms, primary schools, high schools, vocational schools and institutes of higher education, training centres, hobby schools and recreational activities and public youth centre activities. It will also be in place at children's and student camps, sports and museum and exhibition visits.
The government also decided to lift the restrictions on driving schools where only the instructor and one student could be in the car at one time.
Fines will also no longer be imposed for not following the rule.
However, the 2+2 rule may still be applied at select locations. As of 1 July, nightclubs, hookah bars and adult entertainment clubs may also reopen if operators ensure the appropriate dispersion of customers, a 50 percent capacity, a maximum of 100 participants and disinfection requirements.
Since August 18, the government abolished restrictions applied to educational establishments. The restrictions have been replaced by recommendations for preventing the spread of the coronavirus in the new school year that were issued by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Health Board.
As a result of the decision, the up to 50 per cent maximum capacity requirement indoors is no longer applicable in primary schools, upper secondary schools, vocational educational institutions and higher education institutions. The restriction also no longer applies in continuing education institutions, hobby schools, open youth centers, youth camps and student work camps. Restrictions are also no longer applicable to conducting recreational activities and hobby education, and to organising driver training for a power-driven vehicle, motor vehicle, or vehicle carrying a hazardous load.
The restrictions established with the regulation of the government have been replaced by guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, provided in cooperation with the Health Board.
Since August 1, the government lifted the restriction on the number of visitors (previously set at a limit of 100 people) to casinos, slot machine halls, nightclubs, hookah bars, adult clubs, outdoor recreational activities and hobby education, outdoor sports sessions and training, and sports events. However, service providers must continue to ensure the dispersion of people and meet the 50% occupancy and disinfection requirement.
Since August 20, the 50% occupancy limit does not apply to theatre performances, concerts and film screenings, conferences, and public meetings and events, provided that stationary seating is provided for the whole audience. If temporary seats our used, the exception to the 50% limit does not apply.
Estonia has implemented an overall ban on public events and gatherings. This includes a suspension of all activities related to cultural events and entertainment (museums, cinemas, theatres, concerts, shows, conferences, sports events, bowling and billiard halls, hookah cafés, casinos, adult clubs etc). Sports halls, sports clubs, gyms, spas, swimming pools, water centres, day centres, and children's play rooms must remain closed. Hotels and other accommodation providers must close also their gyms, swimming pools, saunas and spas. The restriction does not apply to the provision of social and health care services such as food aid, social welfare services, medical and rehabilitation services.
All schools (from primary level up to universities) have been closed since 16 March (until 1 May), with regular studies substituted by e-learning. Extracurricular activities are not allowed. Research and development activities will continue at universities and research institutions.
Operation and organization of kindergartens and daycare centres is decided by local governments or other kindergarten operators. The local governments must guarantee childcare if parents need to go to work.
Nursing homes, hospitals and detention facilities no longer allow visitors. An accompanying person is not allowed to participate in child birth.
Since 25 March, new distance requirements only allow up to two people to be together in public spaces. This restriction does not apply to families living and moving around together or to people performing public duties. A distance of at least 2 metres between people should be kept in public places (outdoor playgrounds, sports grounds, beaches, promenades, health and hiking trails, shops and other outdoor public places). These requirements are referred to as the “2+2” rule in Estonia.
Since 27 March, shopping centres are closed, with the exception of grocery stores, pharmacies, telecommunication outlets, bank offices, parcel stations, stores selling or renting disability aids and medical devices, and eateries selling food as take-away. Other shops can remain open if they are able to ensure a 2 metres distance between people. Disinfectants must be provided at the entrances and exits of all shops that remain open. Retail sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited from 10:00 pm to 10:00 am.
Restaurants and bars should be closed at 10:00 pm in the evening, and can only offer take-away and home delivery after that time.
People are strongly advised to stay home.
Sources: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/koroonaviirus/, https://www.kriis.ee/et
Update 5 April:
On 3 April, Estonia introduced additional restrictions in nursing homes, with the aim of protecting nursing home residents. People receiving 24-hour nursing or care services are not allowed to leave the area of the facility until the end of the emergency situation. Only a person without symptoms may go home from a nursing home, with the understanding that they cannot return to the nursing home until the end of the emergency situation. The nursing home must ensure that a person infected with COVID-19, and other persons who have been in close contact with the infected person, will be isolated. Any contact with other persons aside from care providers and medical personnel is prohibited. COVID-19 has been detected in 19 nursing homes as of 3 April.
Starting from 4 April, additional rules were introduced for all open stores and service providers. According to the 2 + 2 rule, stores should preferably be visited alone or in pairs, while keeping a distance of at least 2 meters from other customers. As an important change, shopkeepers have to calculate how many customers can be in their store at one time according to the area of the room in order to comply with the 2 + 2 rule. Shops, post offices, pharmacies and service providers must also ensure that people waiting behind the door follow the 2 + 2 rule and that there are no queues where people stand together more closely.
In order to prevent the further spread of the virus, stores or service providers must supply disinfectants. Otherwise, customers are not allowed to enter or stay in the store. The regulation also changes the requirement for where to place the disinfectant from the entrance of the shop to the location where the disinfectant is most needed. Customers must be clearly informed where the disinfectant is located, otherwise the customer must not enter the shop.
In order to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, prison guards in Estonia switched to a 24/5 schedule on 4 April, where they will work five days in a row and will spend their time off after work staying on site at the prison. Experts have recommended such work arrangements in both prisons and nursing homes to prevent at risk populations from becoming infected. To accommodate the new working arrangement, prisons will be divided into two areas depending on whether they require contact with prisoners. Prison officials will work in prisoners' living quarters for five consecutive days, while work will be continued as usual in administrative buildings, external surveillance as well as open prisons. Due to their duties, only medical staff will be permitted to move around in prison facilities.
There are currently around 300 people with HIV and 700 people with hepatitis C serving time in Estonian prisons, in addition to many others with pre-existing conditions where contracting the coronavirus could prove fatal. As prisoners in critical condition would have to be treated in the intensive care units of civilian hospitals, which may need to admit rapidly increasing numbers of civilian patients in the near future, the ministry has highlighted the importance of preventing prison inmates from becoming infected so as not to further burden the health system.
In order to prevent the spread of the virus, inmates are not permitted to have visitors during the emergency situation. Group work and walks are also cancelled, and prisoners are to remain in their living quarters.