Policy responses for Estonia - HSRM


Policy responses for Estonia

6. Measures in other sectors

6.1 Measures in other sectors

Many MEASURES IN OTHER SECTORS beyond the immediate scope of the health system are being taken to prevent further spread of the virus. This section contains information on many of these areas, including border and travel restrictions and economic and fiscal measures, among others.

● Borders

Based on an agreement of the Prime Ministers of the Baltic states on 6 May, the free movement of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian residents and people legally residing in these countries will resume on 15 May. As of that date, the temporary border control and surveillance at the border between Estonia and Latvia will cease, and people from Latvia and Lithuania will no longer have to stay at home for 14 days when arriving to Estonia, unless they have arrived from outside the Baltic States.
At the same time, people crossing the border must continue to comply with the orders issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the requirement to wear a mask, and the 2+2 rule.

The Finnish government decided to open up its borders for labor migration from 14 May, meaning Estonian citizens working in Finland will be able to commute between the two countries again, after several weeks of closed borders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Self-quarantining for 14 days is still a requirement of the Finnish government, however, it is imposed on a voluntary basis and permits workers to travel between their residence and workplace in Finland.

As a response to Finnish government decision, Estonia announced it will ease restrictions on border crossings with Finland starting from 14 May. Currently, people who live in Estonia but work in Finland can only travel to Estonia once a week without having to observe the 14-day self-isolation requirement, but as of 14 May, they can travel between Estonia and Finland more frequently.

The quarantine period will also not be mandatory for anyone coming from Finland to Estonia to study or for urgent family reasons. People arriving in Estonia are recommended to avoid leaving their homes unnecessarily for a two-week period, except when travelling between work and home, or for an essential purpose. Voluntary testing for the coronavirus will be carried out in ships traveling between Estonia and Finland between May 14-19. The aim of testing is to reduce the possible spread of the virus to Estonia.

On 15 May 2020, the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania gathered in Riga to sign a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding on lifting travel restrictions between the three countries for land, rail, air and maritime transport and cooperation thereof during the COVID-19 crisis. This memorandum accompanies the decision initially taken by the three Baltic states’ Prime Ministers on 6 May 2020 to reciprocally open the borders on 15 May 2020 to restore the movement for the three countries’ citizens and legal residents.
Source https://vm.ee/et/uudised/joint-statement-estonian-latvian-and-lithuanian-foreign-ministers-occasion-marking

Other restrictions on crossing the border and quarantine made by government include:
● The restrictions on crossing the Estonian state border and 14-day quarantine requirement for persons who had previously been subject to this requirement has been extended.
● Latvian or Lithuanian citizens, holders of residence permits, or persons with a right of residence in these countries who have no symptoms of the disease, may enter Estonia without an obligation for quarantine.
● Finnish citizens, holders of residence permits or persons with a right of residence in Finland, who have no symptoms of the disease, who come to Estonia to work, study or for unavoidable family reasons such as meeting with their close relatives, attending a funeral or a wedding, or need to visit due to a case of illness, can also enter Estonia.
● A foreign national without any symptoms of the disease, travelling to their home country is also allowed to transit through Estonia.
● People without symptoms of the disease, who previously had the right to enter Estonia without an obligation to stay in quarantine, may continue to do so. For example, people transporting goods and raw materials, persons involved in the international transit of cargo and passengers, persons involved in the technical work of a company operating in Estonia, health care providers, diplomats, people arriving within the framework of international military cooperation, etc.
● Cruise ships between Tallinn and Stockholm remain continuously suspended and Tallinn-Stockholm cruises will not take place. The prohibition of excursions for tourism remains in force on the Tallinn-Stockholm shipping route.
Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/special-notice-government-approved-list-restrictions-and-easing-restrictions-force-after-end

As of 25 May, Poland has reopened its national borders to transit passengers, which means that people seeking to return to Estonia no longer need to search for alternative routes to do so. Entry to Poland will be granted to passengers from EU member states, parties to the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement and citizens of Switzerland, their spouses and their children who need to travel through Polish territory in order to reach their permanent or registered place of residence.
Source: https://news.err.ee/1093655/poland-reopens-borders-to-passenger-transit-to-estonia

From 1 June, people arriving from an EU member state, the Schengen Area, or the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are allowed to cross the Estonian state border. A person may enter the Republic of Estonia if they have no symptoms of illness and have stayed in those countries for the last 14 days.

Upon arrival in Estonia, a person must be in quarantine for 14 days if they have arrived from a country where the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been more than 15 in the last 14 days. Persons coming from a country with a smaller rate of infected persons are not required to quarantine. The list of countries with the corresponding epidemiological data is reviewed once a week.
Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/travelling-and-border-crossing 

● Mobility (transport)

The Government Emergency Committee has decided to ease the restriction on movement starting from May 4th between bigger islands (including Saaremaa, Muhu, Hiiumaa etc) and the mainland. The restrictions apply for people who have their permanent or secondary residence address on any of the islands according to the population register.

On 18 May, all restrictions will be lifted with free movement between islands and mainland.

A stepwise approach is needed to prevent a new virus outbreak. If an outbreak occurs, the decision will be revised accordingly.
The government also decided to ease restrictions on trade and the service sector in Saaremaa starting from May 5th. The 2+2 rule must still be observed.

The gradual lift of restrictions was supported by the Scientific Advisory Board advising the Government and by the Health Board.

An earlier decision about easing the restrictions between the larger islands of Estonia and the mainland was revised by the Government Emergency Committee. As a result, the restriction on freedom of movement was lifted on 8 May, instead of 18 May as originally planned, since the risk of spreading the coronavirus due to movement between the islands and the mainland has decreased considerably. Now, people can travel freely between the islands and the mainland of Estonia, and from one island to another, regardless of their place of residence. The general 2+2 rule remains in force.
Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/special-notice-tomorrow-movement-restrictions-between-islands-and-mainland-estonia-will-be

Traffic at the Tallinn Airport will become more active starting from 13 May, when two additional  destinations will be added to the current three destinations to fly from Tallinn. In the beginning of June, air traffic should expand even further.

On 14 May, the government appointed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications to be responsible for determining restrictions on airlines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus to Estonia. The ministry will cooperate with the Ministry of Social Affairs, and will have the right to decide on the allocation of air traffic permits according to the public health situation and the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia and other countries.

On 17 May, the minister signed an order that states from 18 May, no flights are allowed from Estonia to countries with a high-level of infection risk, such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Turkey, Belarus and Russia. The restriction will apply from the 18th of May to the 7th of June.

The epidemiological situation in different countries is revised on a daily basis by the ministry. The respective changes on whether to open or restrict the opening of routes will be done according to the spread of the coronavirus in the destination country.

As of 18 May, the routes to Germany, Poland, Norway, Austria, Latvia and Lithuania are likely open without restriction. However, the opening also depends on the country's own rules which should be taken into account when planning travel.

The municipal police of Tallinn (mupo) will restore ticket control on public transport services in the capital city from 1 June. During the emergency situation, mupo made ticket controllers available for its patrol service. As mupo had many additional tasks concerning the emergency situation – monitoring  compliance with the 2+2 requirements, checking on playgrounds and catering establishments – the additional workforce proved to be very helpful. As the restrictions are eased, ticket controllers can return to their regular job.
Source https://news.err.ee/1091701/ticket-control-on-tallinn-public-transport-to-be-restored-from-june-1

The bus line Lux Express is resuming services between Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius from 22 May as the three Baltic States opened their land borders to each other on 15 May, creating the so-called Baltic bubble.
The bus company provides hand sanitizers in its front and middle bus doors, disinfects its buses after each trip, and surgical masks are provided upon request by asking the driver. Travelers can also purchase an extra seat cheaper than the regular price, if they wish to keep a space next to them. No hot drinks, water, snacks, pillows, blankets and headphones are sold or provided as a further precautionary measure.

The government decided to extend the restriction on opening airline routes from Estonia to countries with a high-risk number of daily new cases of coronavirus until the end of August. During the past weeks, there has been a spike in daily new cases of coronavirus in many foreign countries which is the reason to prolong the restriction until the end of August, which also better allows the airlines to plan their next steps. The decision is based on the infection rate of destination countries which must be 25 or fewer cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last 14 days to open the route.  The opening of routes also depends on the rules of the destination country itself. As of 24 July, it is not possible to fly directly from Estonia to Luxembourg, Romania, Bulgaria, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Croatia and Russia as the government has prohibited flights to these destinations. The restriction is valid from 18 May to 31 August, during which the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, in cooperation with the Estonian Health Board, will assess the further necessity of the restriction.
Source: https://mkm.ee/en/news/restriction-opening-airlines-estonia-will-be-extended-until-end-august

Maritime traffic between Tallinn and Stockholm has been suspended since mid-March 2020. Starting 26 August, an Estonian shipping company will begin operating between Tallinn and Stockholm in a limited capacity for mainly cargo transport, but passengers with vehicles will also be allowed on board. The company plans to provide one return trip on the Tallinn-Stockholm route per week. Up to 75 percent passenger capacity is allowed on the vessel, with only passengers traveling with a vehicle allowed on board. Strict hygiene requirements are set on ships and all passengers must confirm that they do not have symptoms.

As of 7 August, people arriving from Sweden to Estonia are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Source: https://news.err.ee/1121731/tallink-to-restart-limited-operation-on-tallinn-stockholm-route-in-august.

On 27 August, the Government decided to allow foreign delegations invited by local authorities to participate in official meetings to enter Estonia under a simplified procedure, if they take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The heads, members and accompanying persons of foreign delegations – who are exhibiting no symptoms of illness and who arrive in Estonia for official meetings or visits at the invitation of the Estonian authorities – will be granted unrestricted freedom of movement in Estonia. The change ensures the continuation of foreign relations that are so important for promoting Estonia’s interests.

At the same time, the organisers of official meetings are obliged to implement the measures in force in Estonia to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and, if necessary, to limit the size of delegations.
In addition, the government decided to harmonise the rules that apply when arriving in Estonia for an unavoidable family reason. Starting on 1 September, in urgent cases, people who have taken at least one coronavirus test upon arriving in Estonia, which has come back negative, may participate in urgent family events. An urgent family event may be, for example, a birth, funeral or other reasonable and unavoidable health event, such as visiting a person who has fallen ill. When participating in unavoidable family events, all necessary measures must be taken to prevent the spread of the disease and contact with other people must be avoided as much as possible.
Source: https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/government-permits-delegations-necessary-estonias-foreign-relations-enter-country-simplified

On 28 August, the Government decided to extend the restriction on routes departing from Estonia and arriving to Estonia from countries at high risk of coronavirus in the autumn and to create exemptions for Warsaw, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Riga, Helsinki and London regardless the infection rate in these countries during last 14 days. The exemptions are needed to maintain good connections with the economic hubs for Estonia to assure essential flights.

The need to maintain the restriction will be decided by the government on an ongoing basis in accordance with the epidemiological situation. The general rule is that the infection rate in other countries must be 25 or less per 100 000 inhabitants in the last 14 days to open the direct line. The epidemiological situation in the countries of destination is revised by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications in cooperation with the Health Board every Friday afternoon and will open or restrict the opening of routes according to the spread of the virus.
Soure: https://mkm.ee/et/uudised/eestist-lennuliinide-avamise-piirang-jatkub-ka-parast-augusti-loppu-ning-kuuele-linnale  (in Estonian)

After Estonia's reported COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people for the preceding 14 days exceeded Latvia's ceiling of 16 on Friday 12 September, Latvia burst the Baltic bubble and imposed restrictions, meaning those arriving in Latvia from Estonia must quarantine for two weeks. On the same day, Estonia raised its rate at which quarantining requirements kick in from 16 to 25 per 100,000, with Finland mulling doing the same, but Latvia says it will not be following suit. This means that Baltic bubble that had allowed individuals to move freely within the three-country Baltic region amid the coronavirus pandemic ceases to exist. Authorities report that Latvia's travel restriction will not be accompanied by any change in normal police or border guard work, with no special raids or checks. Vehicle checks and spot checks can occur, but full border controls will not be installed.

Source: https://news.err.ee/1134350/latvia-coronavirus-limits-won-t-radically-change-border-patrol-duties 

Starting from 11 September, Tallinn resumed the measure to prevent the spread of the virus in public transportation. According to this, the front doors of the buses will remain closed at the stops and a separate safety area is created around the driver's cab, which the passengers will not be able to access.  The buses will continue to be disinfected twice a day with focus on contact surfaces of handrails, seats and validators. The staff involved received extensive training early spring when during the emergency situation. All measures implemented have been approved by the Health Board.

https://www.tallinnlt.ee/uudised/pressiteated-ja-uudised/?newsUrl=tallinna-uhistranspordis-ennetatakse-nakkusohtu (in Estonian)

On Friday 9 October, the Estonian Government eased the travel restrictions for those arriving in Estonia. The change was primarily made to maintain ease of movement for people from Estonia's nearest EU neighbors, and to simplify weekly recalculations. The change reflects the rate of COVID-19 cases of the country of origin in relation to Estonia's current rate, rather than a restriction set in stone regardless of the rate in Estonia. The move also aligns with the EU's desire to denote any countries with a COVID-19 rate below 25 per 100,000 as on the "green" list, and not requiring quarantine.
The previous ceiling in Estonia had been 16 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the last 14 days, which meant that the list of countries whose arrivals in Estonia needed to quarantine continued to grow each week. The new regulations would remove about a half dozen EU/EEA countries on last week's quarantine list.

The new rules for those arriving in Estonia from EU/EEA countries will be:
- From countries/states with a 14-day COVID-19 rate of under 25 per 100,000 inhabitants: No quarantine requirement.
- From countries with a rate of 25-49 per 100,000: No quarantine requirement if the rate is no more than 1.1 that of Estonia at that time; must quarantine if the rate is higher than x1.1 of Estonia's.
- From countries with a rate of 50 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000: Must quarantine regardless of Estonia's rate.

Residents of the border town of Valga (Estonia) can still cross the Latvian border into the adjacent town of Valka (Latvia), provided they stay within the town's municipality, without needing to quarantine, regardless of the reported COVID-19 rate. A reciprocal measure is in place for residents of Valka wishing to go to Valga and reflects the close commercial, cultural and social ties in the two towns.
Source: https://news.err.ee/1145162/quarantine-restrictions-eased-use-more-flexible-multiplier 

Based on the European Commission decision about not limiting air traffic while European Union member states are setting coronavirus restrictions, the Estonian Government will lift flight restrictions tied to a country's COVID-19 case rate from January 1 2021.

On 14 January 2021, the Government updated the measures regarding entry to Estonia and self-isolation. First, the infection rate limit beyond which self-isolation on arrival in Estonia is mandatory was raised from 50 to 150. Second, the testing procedures changed for passengers from high-risk countries before and after their arrival in Estonia.Anyone not wishing to self-isolate for 10 days after their arrival in Estonia can take a PCR test abroad no earlier than 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia. While in Estonia, a second test can be taken no earlier than on the sixth day after the first test. The mandatory 10-day self-isolation does not apply if both tests come back negative.

Anyone who has not taken a test up to 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia can take one immediately after their arrival and the second test no earlier than six days after their first test. The 10-day isolation period can end earlier if both tests are negative. The period of self-isolation is only reduced if the passenger presents a PCR test for determining RNA count and can prove they have taken the test and the result is negative. A transcript of test results must be in the Latin or Slavic alphabet in Estonian, Russian or English and it must state the location and time of the test, who took the test and their details, as well as the method (PCR) and result of the test.

Source: https://vm.ee/en/news/updated-information-about-restrictions-movement-passengers-arriving-estonia-between-15-and-24 

According to Government decision starting from 1 February 2021, the 10-day self-isolation and COVID-19 testing are not mandatory for individuals who: (1) have suffered from COVID-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured, and (2) have undergone COVID-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion. Respective certificates are required for approval.

Source: https://vm.ee/en/news/updated-information-about-restrictions-movement-passengers-arriving-estonia-between-1-and-7 

According to a Government decision, the people travelling from Lithuania, Latvia, or Finland will be subject to the same rules that apply to travel from other European countries. Previously, the restriction on the freedom of movement did not apply to asymptomatic people who had been on the territory of Finland, Latvia or Lithuania in the past 10 days and had arrived in Estonia directly from these countries regardless of the infection rate. This means that starting from 5 April 2021, the restriction on the freedom of movement applies to people arriving from above mentioned countries if the infection rate in these countries exceeds 150. The restriction on the freedom of movement can be shortened by taking two tests based on the previously set rules. The restriction on the freedom of movement and testing is not mandatory for individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or who have completed a vaccination programme.
Source: https://vm.ee/en/news/updated-information-about-restrictions-movement-passengers-arriving-estonia-between-5-and-11 

The director of the Health Board signed a regulation that specifies the conditions for  filling out a form for travelers arriving in Estonia. The aim of the declaration is to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and inform people of their rights and obligations.

The analysis of cross-border travel and testing is necessary to discover any possible mutations of the coronavirus and their origin. Specified declarations will improve the trustworthiness and quality of data.
On arrival, the traveler must provide the Health Board with personal data and contacts, including for any children travelling with them. Among other things, the country of departure must also be noted, along with the date of arrival and countries where they have travelled through, including stopovers and transfers.

The short form can be filled online in English, Russian or Estonian by both Estonian citizens and non-citizens within 24 hours of arrival. It is still possible to fill in the form by hand on arrival as well.

People with medical certificates about vaccinations or having had COVID-19 do not have to fill in the declaration. If the traveler refuses to fill in the form, they can be fined.

The regulation will enter into force on 5 April 2021 and will last until the end of the period of restrictions until April 25 (as of 5 April) at least.

Source: https://news.err.ee/1608165826/health-board-specifies-passenger-travel-declaration-conditions 

On the 8th of December, the government decided that the crisis measures for enterprises operated by KredEX, Enterprise Estonia, and the Rural Development Foundation will be continued in 2021. Compared to the spring of 2020, the measures will be more flexible and favourable for enterprises.

Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/majanduse-toetamise-kriisimeetmeid-saab-kasutada-ka-jargmisel-aastal

On the 30th of December, the government approved crisis measures totaling more than 30 million euros, focusing on the two regions (Harjumaa and Ida-Virumaa) that were most affected by lock-down measures since November 2020. The measures are aimed at tourism, accommodation, catering, but also culture, sports and education workers.

1) About 16 million euros will be directed to support employers in the two regions through the Unemployment Insurance Fund. Compensation will be paid to employers whose activities have been seriously disrupted due to extensive restrictions in force between 28 December and 17 January. According to the submitted plan, compensation will be paid to the employer for the employees whose place of employment is in Harju or Ida-Viru county according to the employment register as of 22 December. Labor costs will be reimbursed on the basis of the employer's wage costs in November. Companies receiving compensation may not fire their employees within one month of receiving the aid. Compensation for labor costs is intended for accommodation and catering companies, sports facilities, hobbies and in-service training, and cultural organizations. Compensation will be paid only to companies that do not have a tax debt to the state or have been deferred as of 22 December. The maximum rate of compensation for labor costs per employer is 180,000 euros. The support will be paid to employers once and it is possible to apply for the support during February 2021 through the e-unemployment fund.

2) More than 0.8 million euros will be allocated to support self-employed persons in Harju County and Ida-Virumaa.

3) The support directed to the tourism sector through Enterprise Estonia is almost 10 million euros. Crisis support in the tourism sector is directed at supporting accommodation companies, catering companies operating in the Old Town of Tallinn, operators of Estonian handicraft and souvenir shops, and travel companies (travel agencies and tour operators). The amount of support per company is a maximum of 60,000 to 180,000 euros, depending on the company's field of activity, loss of turnover and/or labor taxes. The grants will be opened in the first quarter of 2021 after the approval of the grant regulation and receipt of a state aid permit from the European Commission. Of this 10 million, about half is left over funds from the spring aid measures.

4) 3.85 million euros will be allocated to support cultural enterprises, mostly in Harju County and Ida-Viru County.

5) 2.3 million euros will be allocated to support entrepreneurs in the field of education and youth activities in Harju County and Ida-Viru County.

Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/valitsus-kinnitas-covid-19-teise-laine-kahjude-toetusmeetmed

On 28 January 2021, the Government extended the payment of salary support in Ida-Viru County and Harju County also for the period 17-31 January. The support will be paid for the restrictions in force for the period 28.12.2020 - 31.01.2021. The amount is set at half of a month's salary costs and 1.5 times the minimum wage for the self-employed. The predicted cost of the extension is EUR 8 million, of which EUR 7.6 million will be covered by unemployment insurance funds and EUR 0.4 million (the cost of the self-employed support measure) is allocated from the government reserve.

On 9 March 2021, the government relaxed the conditions for support to the tourism sector (see above) by extending it to self-employed people and non-profit institutions.

Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/uudised/valitsus-toetas-turismisektori-toetuse-tingimuste-leevendamist

On 5 March 2021, the government adopted amendments to the “Employment Program 2021-2023”, which provides compensation of labour costs for March to the companies that have suffered the most from the restrictions. Companies can apply for wage support if their turnover or income has decreased by at least 50 percent in March 2021 compared to the average monthly turnover in the period December 2019 to February 2020. The support is paid only for employees who cannot work or whose salary has been reduced. The Unemployment Insurance Fund reimburses the employer 60 percent of the employee's previous average salary, but not more than 1,000 euros per month (gross). The employer is required to pay a gross remuneration of at least 200 euros to the employee who receives the additional salary support from his or her own resources. The company may not lay off the aided employees before 31 May 2021.


On 4 March 2021, the government approved the general regulation of COVID-19 support, which is a prerequisite for the use of the state supplementary budget funds of 2020 to compensate for COVID-19 restrictions in 2021. The government also decided to transfer unused funds from last year's supplementary budget to this year. The support measures implemented through both the Rural Development Foundation and the KredEx Foundation will continue, and support for the reconstruction of apartment buildings will also continue.

Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/uudised/valitsus-votab-majanduskahjude-leevendamiseks-kasutusse-2020-lisaeelarve-vahendid 

Measures in other sectors are updated regularly and published via different communication channels since the emergency situation was declared by the government on 13 March.

• Borders

Starting from 17 March, everyone crossing the border was required to complete the health declaration, but the government cancelled this order on 18 March. At border crossing points, a person may also be asked for information about the country of dispatch, country of transit, destination, e-mail, telephone, residence or place of residence in Estonia.

Persons crossing the border must stay at home for 14 days by indicating on the consent page his/her address. The person also signs that they are aware of an emergency situation in Estonia, a movement restriction and that it undertakes to be present within 14 days in the place of residence or permanent residence.

On 5 March, thermal cameras were put to operation at the Tallinn Airport to measure the temperature of arriving passengers and stop the spread of coronavirus. Thermal cameras are used to identify potentially infected persons and provide them health advice. The cameras at Tallinn Airport were purchased and are being maintained by the airport itself. The cameras cost the airport an estimated EUR 30,000. Afterwards, it was decided that all passengers arriving at the Port of Tallinn without a vehicle are also subject to thermal camera monitoring. The decision to install thermal imaging cameras at the Port of Tallinn, Tallinn Airport as well as land border crossing points was not made by the Health Board. Health experts have indicated that monitoring people's body temperatures at border checkpoints is an ineffective means of preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

As of 16 April, The Latvian government has legalized the border-crossing rules of its neighbours during the crisis. To date, Latvia had not taken a formal position on closing its internal borders of the European Union during the crisis. The Latvian government's decision means that Estonians (and also Lithuanians) working in Latvia, and Latvians working in neighbouring countries, no longer have to quarantine for two weeks when crossing the Latvian border. However, this does not apply to non-working border crossings. In order to be able to work across borders, the person must have documentation proving that the person actually has a job in Latvia.
Source https://www.err.ee/1079002/lati-lubab-eestlastel-ja-leedukatel-ule-piiri-tool-kaia

• Mobility (transport)

The Government Emergency Committee agreed to restrict people's movement starting from 25 March by preventing more than two people to be together in a public space (please see section 1.2 Physical distancing for more details).
The police will increase the number of police patrols in public spaces in order to support the emergency situation. When people do not follow the restrictions, the police will talk to the people and explain why it is important to protect one's own and others' health by fulfilling the government's restrictions. However, in principle they can impose fines up to EUR 2000.

The aim of the police is not to punish, but to do everything in order to prevent the virus from spreading. In the event of repeated noncompliance or if a person shows by behavior that he/she does not understand the seriousness of the restrictions, the police can issue a precept to the person and impose a penalty payment for non-compliance.

Source: https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/emergency-situation/restrictions-on-movement

As of late March, the restrictions on movement will become stricter for people in Saaremaa and Muhu, two island municipalities in the Baltic Sea. The people living on these islands have to stay at home except to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the doctor, or a few other exceptions. Traveling to work is only allowed if remote work is not possible. Parents are allowed to take children to and from kindergarten, and pet owners can take pets to and from the veterinarian. If needed, it is allowed to go to take care of the elderly, the disabled and those in need of help, but personal protective equipment must be used in these cases. It is also possible to go to the post office or a parcel terminal.

People are allowed to go outside in their gardens or property, to do forestry or farm work at home, and to fish. Outside of their homes, individuals can go for a walk or a workout with family or one other person. When outside, a person must have an ID document with them and follow a general 2+2 rule. This means that only 2 people can be in a public space together and they must keep a 2 metre distance from others.

Law enforcement officials will monitor the implementation of the emergency situation measures through spot checks of people outside. If a person does not adhere to the measures enacted, the police will issue a warning for the first offense and a fine of up to 2000 EUR for subsequent offenses. The necessity of the measures will be re-evaluated every two weeks.

On March 29th, the government decided in agreement with the President, the Ministry of Defence and the Defence League that up to 40 members of the Defence League will assist the police to check the implementation of the emergency measures to protect the health and life of residents of Saaremaa and Muhu municipalities.

As of 27 March, only three companies are flying to/from Tallinn in addition to charter flights arranged by Ministry of Foreign Affairs for repatriation. However, the situation may change rapidly.

As of 1 April, most regular flights have been suspended, and only a few special flights organised by European Union member states remain. Passengers on these special flights must purchase these tickets directly from the airline.

Cruise ships between Tallinn and Stockholm are suspended. Passenger transport between Finland and Estonia is running with a limited number of departures (as of 27 March). Maritime freight transport is not restricted.

On 7 April, the Finnish government announced that it would extend the measures introduced to contain the spread of the coronavirus until 13 May. Finland also updated information on travel options, which includes a recommendation for ferry companies to suspend ticket sales for regular passengers on the Tallinn-Helsinki route between 11 April and 13 May. Passengers who wish to transit through Finland from more distant destinations to return to Estonia are still allowed to do so.

Estonian citizens with a registered right of residence in Finland can still enter the country; however, from Saturday 11 April, the Tallink Group will no longer take on passengers travelling by foot or with cars to Finland from Estonia and Sweden, although passengers will still be allowed to board in Finland to go to Estonia and Sweden. Finnair will be flying between Tallinn and Helsinki as necessary.

Travel is allowed for people providing essential services, such as healthcare professionals, rescue workers, people providing care for the elderly and hauliers. Anyone travelling for essential work must present a permanent contract of employment at the border, proving that they are travelling for essential work. The Finnish Border Guard will determine whether entry to the country is essential. The requirement to self-isolate for 14 days is still in force.
Source: https://vm.ee/en/news/special-travel-information-announcement-finland-updated-its-ferry-traffic-recommendations 

Travelling between the Estonian mainland and bigger islands is not allowed. The restrictions do not apply in certain cases including vital services, people living on islands, medical staff, people participating in funeral of close relatives etc.

Source: https://www.politsei.ee/en/instructions/emergency-situation/movement-between-the-larger-islands-and-the-mainland

Road borders are closed for foreigners. Bus and coach services are restricted except for Estonian nationals. Road freight transport is not restricted.

International rail passenger transport from Russia to Estonia and from Latvia to Estonian border station Valga is suspended. Rail passenger traffic has been reduced. Internal and international rail freight traffic will continue as planned.

Public transportation
In general, public transport will continue as planned. Some measures have been applied, e.g. passengers are not allowed to enter or exit the front door of buses and trolley buses, and a special sanitary zone has been created to protect the drivers.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Estonia’s foreign representations continue to work with travel and transport companies and other countries to find and inform Estonians of ways to return to the country.

Information about country’s official travel advice is available and regularly updated on a webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Source: https://vm.ee/en/news/travel-and-consular-information-related-crisis-measures-6-april

Update 8 April:
The opportunities for returning to Estonia from abroad are extremely limited. Most regular flights have been cancelled; EU member states have organised a few remaining special charter flights for which passengers must register and purchase a ticket.
Approximately 3,000 Estonians have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for help in returning to Estonia during the corona crisis, and most of them have also arrived home. As of 6 April, there are still 35 more people in need of help, who are being assisted personally by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. These people are located in 19 different countries, with larger groups in New Zealand and South Africa.

A limited number of flights offered by Finnair, Lufthansa and Belavia fly to/from Tallinn. However, the flight schedules are subject to change depending on the situation in Estonia and abroad.
As of 17 April, there are 17 people who need transportation to Estonia. 75 have decided to stay abroad, including in Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Egypt. 

The Government Emergency Committee has decided to ease the restriction on movement starting from May 4th between bigger islands (including Saaremaa, Muhu, Hiiumaa etc) and the mainland. The restrictions apply for people who have their permanent or secondary residence address on any of the islands according to the population register.

On 18 May, all restrictions will be lifted with free movement between islands and mainland.

A stepwise approach is needed to prevent a new virus outbreak. If an outbreak occurs, the decision will be revised accordingly.
The government also decided to ease restrictions on trade and the service sector in Saaremaa starting from May 5th. The 2+2 rule must still be observed.

The gradual lift of restrictions was supported by the Scientific Advisory Board advising the Government and by the Health Board.

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).


• Economy

On 19 March 2020, the government approved a crisis package of EUR 2 billion (around 7% of GDP). The package must be approved with the supplementary budget, which expected at the beginning of April.

The package includes support for companies in the form of: a) loan collaterals (EUR 1 billion) for bank loans; b) business loans (EUR 500 million) to overcome liquidity problems; c) investment loans (EUR 50 million). Rural companies have special schemes for loan guarantees (EUR 50 million), business loans (EUR 100 million) or land capital financing (EUR 50 million). Self-employed workers are subject to an advance social tax support measure. The interest on tax debts are suspended for two months (March and April) and tax debt can be rescheduled at lower interest rates. The direct costs of cultural and sporting events cancelled due to coronavirus in March-April are compensated up to EUR 3 million.

The package is financed by government loans from the European Investment Bank (EUR 750 million) and the sale of short-term bonds (EUR 200 million). In addition, payments into the compulsory funded pension scheme will be temporarily suspended.

Sources: https://www.valitsus.ee/en/news/emergency-situation-government-supports-estonian-workers-and-economy-least-eur-2-billion; https://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/valitsuskabinet-toetas-sa-kredexi-ettevotete-toetamise-meetmete-paindlikumaks-muutmist; https://www.rahandusministeerium.ee/et/uudised/pohjamaade-investeerimispank-annab-eestile-750-miljonit-eurot-laenu; https://www.emta.ee/et/eriolukord

On 20 March 2020, the government introduced a new "Temporary subsidy program" to compensate for the drop in labour earnings. Temporary subsidies will be paid by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund to employers that comply with at least two of the following terms: a) the employer must have suffered at least a 30% decline in turnover or revenue for the month they wish to be subsidized for, as compared to the same month last year; b) the employer is not able to provide at least 30 percent of their employees with work; c) the employer has cut the wages of at least 30% of employees by at least 30% or down to the minimum wage. The employee must have an employment contract with the employer. Both private and state organizations are eligible for the subsidies, independent of the size of the organization. The amount of the subsidy will be 70% of the average monthly wage of the employee, to a maximum of EUR 1000 and minimum of EUR 150 per month to the employee (plus taxes and social contributions). Any employee’s wage can be subsidized for up to two months between March and May 2020. The application for the subsidy will start in April. The government foresees that the total cost of the subsidies will be around EUR 250 million.

Sources: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/120032020002, https://www.tootukassa.ee/content/tootasu-huvitis

The government has also decided that from 13 March 2020 until the end of the emergency situation, the EHIF will pay for the first three days of sickness leave, which was previously not compensated (for more details please see Section 4). The government has allocated additional EUR 7 million for the EHIF to fund these payments, which will begin in May after the legislation is approved.

Source: https://www.haigekassa.ee/uudised/haigekassa-hakkab-eriolukorras-tasuma-esimeste-haiguspaevade-eest

On 15 April, the parliament adopted the Supplementary State Budget and accompanying changes in various acts. This which formally approved the crisis package decided by the government on 19 March 2020 The government has decided to take out loans to finance the crisis package. According to the Ministry of Finance, the debt burden of the Estonian general government sector could reach 22% of GDP after the crisis (currently 8%). The main component of the package is support for companies in the form of loans or loan guarantees, but it also includes many minor tax and support decisions. The government also decided to reduce excise taxes on diesel, natural gas and electricity. The Estonian Health Insurance Fund received EUR 213.2 million to cover the additional costs of the health care sector (for more details, please see Section 4.1 - Health Financing). The health care sector may also benefit from the temporary income tax exemptions for those who make donations to hospitals, welfare institutions and state and local government agencies. Moreover, goods sold or donated by companies to hospitals, care facilities and state and local government agencies, which are designed to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and to combat the effects and consequences, have a 0% VAT tax rate.
The temporary subsidy program by the Unemployment Insurance Fund to compensate for the drop in labour earnings has been also used by private health care providers who lost their revenues due to suspension of health care provision. As of 12 April, 126 health or social care providers have received the subsidy to partially cover labour earnings of 966 employees.

On 24 April, the government approved the measures related to the state supplementary budget for 2020, which address the principles for distributing funds, target groups, scope of measures and general procedures. The approved support measures will be implemented after the adoption of ministerial regulations.
Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/valitsuse-liikmed-kiitsid-heaks-covid-19-lisaeelarvega-seotud-kriisimeetmed

In response to the spread of the coronavirus in Europe, Estonian start-up support Accelerate Estonia launched an online hackathon (March 13-15) with Garage48 to help the country emerge from the coronavirus crisis. Several new solutions were developed, some examples:
• Zelos, a platform for connecting vulnerable, at-risk people with volunteers via a call centre and task dispatch app to prevent further isolation and loneliness.
• Vanemuine, medical volunteer management database aims to make it easier to find people with suitable medical competencies based on their location and call them to action.
• Share Force One, a workforce sharing platform connecting B2B sides for temporary workforce exchange as some companies are in need of additional workers and others are facing the reality of not being able to offer jobs anymore.

On April 27, the government approved ministerial regulations necessary to implement support measures as part of the supplementary budget. The government had to approve regulations at the ministerial level to avoid duplication of support measures and to ensure their compliance with the general conditions of support measures approved by the government and valid from 28 April.

On 21 May 2020, the government decided to support the proposal by the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund of 13 May to extend the "Temporary subsidy program" for one month to compensate for the decrease in labour earnings persisting in June.  However, employers have to comply with more stringent conditions to be eligible for the subsidy in the month of June. First, the employer must have suffered at least a 50% decline in turnover or revenue compared to June 2019. Second, one of the following conditions must be fulfilled:
a) the employer is not able to provide at least 50 percent of their employees with work;
b) the employer has cut the wages of at least 30% of employees by at least 50% or down to the minimum wage.
The employee must have had an employment contract with the employer valid on 1 March 2020. The amount of the subsidy will be 50% of the average monthly gross wage of the employee, to a maximum of EUR 800. The employer’s minimum obligation remains the same - gross wage EUR 150 per month (plus employer’s social contributions). The government foresees that the additional cost of the subsidies will be around EUR 50-70 million.
Source: https://www.valitsus.ee/et/uudised/valitsus-toetas-tootasu-huvitise-meetme-pikendamist-juuni-lopuni

Enterprise Estonia, a national foundation that aims to develop the Estonian economy and is financed by the government, opened applications for grants on 11 May. Enterprise Estonia will support tourism companies with EUR 25 million in grant funding, and micro and small enterprises with EUR 10 million.

Source: https://www.eas.ee/enterprise-estonia-starts-accepting-applications-for-partial-compensation-for-damage-to-the-tourism-sector-and-small-enterprises-on-11-may/?lang=en

KredEx, a foundation under the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications whose aim is to provide loans, venture capital, credit insurance, and state-backed guarantees, started to support enterprises in April, after the adoption of the Supplementary State Budget. By mid-May, the Kredex has decided to give 41 direct loans of EUR 122 million. KredEx has granted extraordinary guarantees on EUR 19 million and given loan payment holidays on 167 contracts.

Source: https://kredex.ee/et/uudised/aprilli-algusest-tanaseni-ettevotjad-kredexi-toel-saanud-61-miljonit-eurot-laenu

On 29 September 2020, the government approved the draft state budget for 2021 and the state budget strategy for 2021-2024. According to forecasts of the Ministry of Finance, extensive crisis support measures and a decline in tax revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis will lead to a budget deficit of 6.7 percent of GDP. The government foresees that the deficit will decline to 2.5 percent of GDP by 2024. Estonia plans to finance the budget deficit caused by the crisis and the recovery measures through bond issues and loans. The Fiscal Council, an independent advisory body charged with assessing Estonian fiscal policy, recommends that the government recover structural fiscal balance by 2024. According to the Fiscal Council, the improvement in the fiscal position planned in the state budget strategy 2021-2024 is not sufficient, because it is based partly on measures that are only starting to be decided.


On 1 October, the government decided to direct 5.8 million euros of crisis aid to the tourism sector. These funds were an unused part of the spring package because of the strict qualification criteria for these funds, which allocated35 million euros to the tourism sector and small businesses. The representatives of the tourism sector were critical towards the government’s decision, as they expected at least 23 million euros as a direct monetary support and additional support for voucher schemes, re-training programmes, and business model developments.