1.2 Physical distancing
From October 2020, due to increasing number of cases, physical distancing and other measures to prevent transmission have been reintroduced.
Due to rising cases in Raseiniai municipality in the early autumn, the government announced local quarantine regime from 9th until 23rd October, which was later extended until 6th November. Movement restrictions. The quarantine regime in the municipal area limits the number of passengers enabling physical distancing on long-distance, suburban and urban scheduled passenger transport, together with more frequent transport disinfection. All residents are recommended to limit unnecessary movement. Public places. It is possible to be in groups of up to 2 people, unless they are family members. It is necessary to observe a distance of at least 2 meters between people or groups of people and avoid direct physical contact. Remote work. State and municipal institutions as well as enterprises managed by public authorities should organize work and client service remotely where possible. The private sector is recommended to work remotely where possible. Events. Cultural, leisure, entertainment, sports events are prohibited, except for professional sport, both indoors and outdoors. Religious services are recommended not to go ahead. Entertainment. Reduced opening hours for catering, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues. Hours for casinos and slot machines are only restricted to 8:00 to 24:00 when catering is provided in the premises. Retail. Shops, kiosks and other points of sale must have at least 10 sq. m. the trading area per purchaser.
From 25th October, the government enacted the 3-tier level restrictions for municipalities, according to epidemiological indicators - yellow, green and red. (85) The green zone (<25 new cases over 14 days per 100,000 population and <4% testing positivity rate over 7 days) means that the risk of coronavirus is low. The yellow zone (25-50 new cases per 100,000 and 4% or more positivity rate; OR 25-150 new cases per 100,000 and <4% positivity rate) means that the municipalities should be prepared and responsibly follow the authorities’ recommendations. The red zone (>50 new cases per 100,000 population, >4% positivity rate and the share of new cases not linked to known outbreaks is >30%; OR >150 new cases per 100,000 population) – means that municipalities will have to follow the recommendations as well as consider of local quarantine that involves tighter measures for events, education, face coverings and social distancing rules.(85) In the first week from the introduction, 13 municipalities fell into the red zone with quarantine lasting initially for 2 weeks (86), with further 8 municipalities being transferred to red zone the week after. The decisions on the announcement of quarantine in specific municipalities is made on Wednesdays. (87) Covid-19 surveillance is intensified in the Red Zone municipalities through testing staff of medical and social care institutions as well as hospitalised patients. (88)
From 2020 7th November 00:00 the Government announced second national quarantine until 29th of 2020 November 24:00, which was later extended. (89) Visits to and service in cultural, leisure and entertainment venues are prohibited, except for libraries. Work in state and municipal institutions is organized remotely or partially remotely, except in cases when the relevant functions must be performed at the workplace. The private sector is recommended to work following same measures as in the public sector. (90) All cultural, entertainment and sporting events in open and closed public places are prohibited, with the exception of professional sports competitions (without spectators); physical activity sessions can be provided on individual basis by a physical activity or sports specialist. Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 10 participants, excluding close family members and persons providing ritual services. Catering establishments (restaurants, cafes, bars, etc) cannot serve clients on premises, but can provide takeaway or delivery food. Sales and service outlets, as well as shops, supermarkets, markets, etc can operate ensuring 10 square meters of retail space per visitor (or one customer at a time). Gathering of groups of more than five people, excluding family members, is prohibited in public places and a distance of at least two meters from other people or groups of people must be maintained. Local and inter-city transport will only be possible with a seat, keeping a distance of at least one meter.
Children in pre-school and primary school attend kindergartens and schools as usual, and pupils in grades 5-12, as well as pupils in vocational schools, and university students can study remotely or in a mixed way; municipalities and educational establishments can decide which method to choose. (91)
Medical facilities will be required to manage patient and visitor flows (93) (also see section 3.3).
On 18th November the Government Resolution has specified the restrictions on leisure, sports, and entertainment services by banning the provision of services of leisure, sports facilities, sports clubs, entertainment, recreation, swimming pools, saunas (except for public baths for personal hygiene), night clubs, cinemas, etc. Visit or rentals of leisure facilities for private events has also been prohibited. Exemption continues to apply to high-performance sports training and one-to-one physical activity sessions provided by sports specialist, subject to safety measures on hygiene, face coverings and physical distancing. (93)
On 25th November, the government extended the quarantine regime in Lithuania until December the midnight of 17th December. The Cabinet of Ministers also approved the proposal of the MOH from 10th of December to allow visits to museums and galleries for groups of up to 2 people. Excursions will also be allowed for a maximum of 2 people, excluding family members.
From 2nd of December the Government introduced stricter quarantine conditions - reducing the number of people allowed to gather in public places from five to two, and prohibiting the trade of non-fixed retailers in supermarkets or shopping malls, with some exceptions (e.g. for foodstuffs). (95)
With number of cases still of the rise, the Government extended the quarantine regime until 31 December 2020 24:00 and imposed further restrictions. From Wednesday 9th of December the following will apply: (100)
- Governmental and municipal institutions as well as enterprises that they manage in the private sector to work remotely, except for where the relevant functions/tasks must be performed at the workplace, in which case safety measures (client flows, hygiene, distancing) must be ensured.
- All pupils in secondary and high school (years 5-12) study remotely until the start of the winder break. For pre-school settings is was recommended that only children whose parents are not able to Pre-school and pre-school education programmes recommend that only children whose parents are not able to work remotely can attend.
- Private gatherings of more than 2 families or more than 10 people in public and private spaces have been banned. It was also forbidden to let or sub-let premises for private events.
- Government recommended celebration of Christmas only with residents of the same household, limiting social contacts, wearing masks and avoiding physical contact.
- MOH has updated its recommendations on how to safely organise sports activities, e.g. by organisation of sport events outdoors, ensuring safe distancing rules (2 meters outdoors and 30sq m per person indoors – an gradual increase from 5 and then 10 sq m previously). Sports organisers must ensure that visitors who have signs of acute upper respiratory tract infection are excluded from the activities. The health of both visitors and professionals must also be monitored regularly.
On 14th December, quarantine has been extended until 31 January at 24:00 with another round of tighter restrictions. (101) Movement between municipalities has been restricted from 16 December 2020 at 00:00 to 3 January 2020 at 24:00 for the festive period. The exception has been made for people who travel to another municipalities where a member of their family has a property.
A ban on mixing between households indoors has been introduced for the first time. Exceptions are for emergency cases requiring aid, care for people who are ill or needing assistance. In public places up to 2 persons from different households or group of members of one family and/or one household are allowed. Private events in public and private venues may only take place if they involve not more than one family or one household. Letting and sub-letting or lending of any premises for private events, celebrations or other gatherings has been prohibited.
Retail services are only allowed for stores selling essential products. Non-essential retail, indoor leisure activities cannot operate. The essential businesses must ensure a trading area of 15 m2 per visitor or allowing maximum of one person. Face-to-face services have been prohibited. This includes beauty or other services requiring contact of more than 15 minutes between client and the service provider. Gyms have been closed, only professional sport activities are allowed to operate.
Kindergartens remain open but are recommended for attendance only for children whose parents/carers cannot work remotely. All school education (primary to high school) is done remotely, except for special education schools and some special needs programmes.
On 23rd of December the government decided to temporarily halt driving lessons. Professional training and exams for the maritime and aviation sectors will be conducted on a regular basis, following safety requirements. (102)
On 28th December MOH has updated recommendations on the organization of work in courts of law during quarantine, stating that physical hearings can only be held in exceptional cases where they cannot be postponed.
During the festive period (16th December - 3rd January), local movement (between municipalities) was restricted, particularly during Christmas and New Year, with restrictions being enforced by police. Over that time, more than 20,000 vehicles were stopped from crossing, with 600 fines issued.(103) On 3rd January, restriction on movements between municipalities was extended until 31st January 2021. (104)
The Government decided to extend the duration of the quarantine regime until 28 February. Restrictions on movement between municipalities remain in place, as individuals can leave municipality only for essential reasons, such as work or health care, as well as visiting single persons from their social bubble. (105)
On 10th February 2020, the Government approved a plan to change the gradual restrictions on the applicable quarantine regime from 15th February. Quarantine restrictions will be relaxed at both municipal and national levels, taking into account the changed epidemiological situation in the country. The restrictions will be freed up on the basis of 2 indicators: a) the number of new cases per 100 000 inhabitants over 14 days, and b) the proportion of positive tests from all tests performed within 7 days. (106)
Shops, kiosks and pavilions (except those on markets) that meet the following conditions may operate, including:
• the total sales area does not exceed 300 m2;
• entrance from outside or separate entrance for customers;
• no more than one buyer is served at any one time or at least 20 m2 per buyer;
• It is possible to sell non-food items outdoors;
Individual services* (including beauty) are permitted in a one-to-one service, provided that:
• a service area of 10 m2 per recipient of service is ensured when contact of less than 15 minutes is required;
• a service area of 20 m2 per recipient of service is ensured when contact is required for more than 15 minutes;
• no more than one recipient of the service is served at any one time when the area of the premises where the service is provided is less than 20 m2.
Individual sports activities with a trainer have been allowed outside.
On 24th February the government has decided to extend the quarantine until March 31. The restriction of movement between the country's municipalities has been extended until March 15, however from 25th February the regional movement across municipalities adjacent to 6 largest cities will be allowed. (107)
From 6th March it is permitted to provide sports, leisure and entertainment services in open spaces for a maximum of 5 persons at a time, except for members of two families and / or two households. (108)
From 10th March 2021 all driver’s license exams can go ahead, subject to testing examiners and compliance with other safety requirements. (109) Driving schools can also go ahead in providing driver practice training. (110)
The Ministry of Justice states that from 6th March 2021 short-term (up to 1 hour) contactless meetings with inmates can be resumed. (111)
Specialists of the National Center for Public Health inspect up to 600 businesses each week (mostly beauty salons and non-food outlets) in the end of February and beginning of March 2021, identifying 13-15 violations. (112)
From 15 March 2021 all shops with direct street access, as well as museums and galleries can reopen. They are required to ensure that maximum number of visitors does not exceed one person per 20 m sq, and 2 meters distance must be maintained, with the exception of members of the same family. (113) (114)
From 16th March, existing movement restrictions was extended in 16 municipalities with 14-day incidence rates higher than 200 per 100,000 population until April 1.(115) In other municipalities with lower rates movement restrictions have been lifted.
On 27th March national quarantine was extended until 30th April, with tougher measures enacted over Easter:
From 27 March 2021 00:00 until 6 April 24:00 In Lithuania, the movement of persons between municipalities, for both public and private transport, is restricted, except in cases where (116):
- to a municipality of place of residence;
- to a municipality other than the place of residence due to death of close relative;
- for work when the place of work is in another municipality;
- to or from international passenger routes, airports, seaports, bus stations;
- to receive health care;
- in urgent cases where it is necessary to provide assistance/care for a sick or vulnerable person;
- to/from municipalities adjacent to major cities;
- for other urgent/essential matters.
This restriction does not apply to persons who are members of the same family or of one household going to a municipality other than the one in which they reside, where they own real estate owned by one of the members of the family or household.
Not more than 2 people or members of one family/household are allowed to travel in private transport. In public open spaces, a maximum of 5 persons or groups of two families/households are allowed.
Public order over Easter weekend is controlled by more than 3,300 officers joined by members of civil security services.
From 12th April reading rooms of libraries and state archives can resume activities and physically serve visitors. (118)
The quarantine has been extended until 31st May 2021, 24:00, but some quarantine measures have been relaxed: (120)
Main changes from April 19:
• From 19th April, face-to-face teaching is possible for up to 10 final year high-school students. During final school exams, a up to 10 people ensuring 2 meters distance, or 11 to 50 people, ensuring 2m distance and space of 10 m2 per person is needed for the premises.
• From 3rd May, education for the final year high-school students can be carried out in a mixed manner, ensuring safety measures.
• From 24th of May one group up to 25 children may participate in non-formal education activities outdoors and up to 10 children indoors, ensuring area of 10 sq m per child. When organizing children's camps, limits are up to 15 children per group and an area of 5 m² per child. (124)
• From 22nd April, outdoor spaces of restaurants, cafes and bars can be opened from 7 am to 9 for food and drinks, ensuring that no more than 2 people or one family occupy one table
• From 19th April, all stores, except those located in markets, are allowed to operate, ensuring compliance with the safety measures. Stores which are allowed to open from 19 April, have to remain closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
• From 3rd May, markets and other public trading venues can reopen, ensuring compliance with requirements for trading space per visitor
Sports and leisure
• From 19th April, theaters and cinemas may open, ensuring a maximum occupancy of 30% of all seats. Professional sport competitions can have spectators, ensuring up to 30% of seat occupancy indoors, and a total number of spectators not exceeding 150 (excluding athletes, organizers and other persons participating in the competition). The limit of 150 spectators has also been set for attendance of sport venues outside. (119)
• From 26th April, swimming pools can operate for children’s classes, one group at a time. Swimming pool and sauna services may be provided in hotels, limiting attendance to no more than one person/family.
• From 26th April, sports clubs may open, providing a service area of 20 m2 per person (including service providers); indoor group exercises can be performed with the participation of up to 5 people (excluding service providers).
• From 24th of May swimming pools open for public, with restrictions (e.g. maximum of 50 clients, ensuring 20 sq. m of service area per person, distancing and hygiene requirements) (123).
Social gatherings and visits
• From 22nd April, face to face contact for up to 10 persons who recovered from COVID in the last 180 days or had been fully vaccinated, including for gatherings in public and private spaces indoors and outdoors.
• Froom 22nd April, persons who were vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 in the past 180 days can visit patients in health and social care.
• From 22nd April, rental and use of premises for accommodation and leisure services is permitted, ensuring the limits on number of people and space.
• From 10 May 2021, amateur art groups can resume activities in in cultural centers in municipalities with 14-day COVID-19 incidence rate <200 cases of 100,000 populations. (120)
Freedom pass / EU Digital Green Pass
From 24th May 2021 the Government implements Freedom Pass that allows people to attend events (up to 500 people), social gatherings, leisure activities, bars and restaurants, for people outside social bubble stay in the same hotel rooms, visit prison inmates, perform professional activities (122).
The pass can be obtained through the electronic government services gateway or website www.gpasas.lt , in a form of QR code that can be shown on a smartphone or printed out. Those eligible for Freedom Pass are (121):
- People who have been vaccinated (1 week after 2nd mRNA vaccine dose, or 4 weeks after Janssen, or between 4-12 weeks after the 1st AZ dose or straight after 2nd AZ dose.
- People tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 180 days but post isolation.
- People tested negative for COVID-19 (PCR or antigen test) in the past 24 hours.
- Children under 16 years old.
Freedom pass allows to attend outdoor events for up to 2,000 people, with provision for allowing up to 300 people who do not have Freedom pass. (125)
Lithuanian Freedom pass is made for internal use, and operate in a similar way as the EU Digital Green Certificate. (126)
From 15th of April, the first phase of quarantine exit measures has started. In the first instance, allowing non-food stores with separate direct access from the outside and capable of regulating the flow of customers to open. MOH reminds people to avoid outlets, and senior residents to remain avoid leaving home unless absolutely necessary, or when food or medicine cannot be provided by relatives or volunteers. (29, 30) Holding events in open spaces, where spectators remain inside their cars with windows closed are also now allowed. Participation in such events is still not recommended for people at risk. (31)
Starting 17th April, registration for exams for motorcycling license is allowed. From April 20 the registration will be open for exams for driving categories of goods vehicles - C, CE. Exams can start to take place from 22nd (motorcycles) and 23rd (good vehicles) April. For the time being, the exams will be held in 6 major Lithuanian cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys and Alytus.(32) On 30th April it was announced that it is permitted to organize practical training in the driving of seafarers and vehicles of categories A1, A2 and A. From 4th of May, it is allowed to take examinations of vehicle theory and practice and to conduct practical training in aviation. (33) In addition, from 11 May theoretical and practical driving instruction in all types of vehicles, ensuring adequate hygiene conditions, are allowed.
From 22nd April, seedlings, seeds and fertilizers can be sold in outdoor markets.(34)
From 23rd April, shops will no longer be required to have an entrance from the outside, so retailers located in supermarkets can now reopened. (36)
The second phase of quarantine exit starts from the week of 27th April.(37,38) From that day, hairdressers and nail salons (39), outdoor cafes (40), libraries, museums will be able to provide their services, subject to restricted client flow requirements. (41) Training for some sports is allowed in indoor and open sports spaces for all athletes, provided that a distance of at least 10 meters between the athletes is maintained and at least 10 square meters per athlete. (42) Requirements have been adopted for the organization of activities on golf and outdoor tennis courts, outdoor shooting ranges, karting rinks and water parks. (43) Residents are also allowed to visit educational trails, parks, open-air zoos and botanical gardens, provided that a distance of at least 2 m between persons and / or groups of persons is ensured. Some kindergartens reopened partially for children of parents who cannot work remotely.
On 29th of April a decision was issued on international flights (44): international flight operators and carriers have been are advised to leave a spare seat between passengers in the cabin and to ensure that passengers over the age of 6 wear face masks or face shields throughout the flight. Ground handling services at international airports are required to take the temperature of each passenger at the entrance to the airport and to assess for the onset of acute symptoms of upper respiratory illness (fever, runny nose, cough, difficulty breathing). If a passenger develops symptoms of acute upper respiratory illness, they must be prevented from flying. Passengers in mandatory isolation and signs of acute upper respiratory disease will not be able to fly.(45)
From 30th April, it is allowed to visit places of „leisure activities“. Activities can take place only in places that meet the established physical distancing requirements, such as limited flow of visitors, 10 m distance between groups of persons, obligatory face coverings and maximum of 2 people (with the exception of families). At the entrance visitors must be provided with information on the need to observe personal hygiene. In addition, local administrations are obliged to provide information at the entrance to open spaces where leisure activities take place that attendance is not recommended for people at higher risk. Visitors in queues at checkouts must keep a distance of 2 meters from each other and non-cash payments and online ticket sales are encouraged. (46) To ensure the safe operation of the archives during quarantine, the time of visitors in the archive reading rooms will be limited to one hour. (47)
From 11th May libraries can allow visitors to use reading rooms, computers and the Internet.(48) Children from multiple families can play on the same playgrounds (previously only one family at a time could use a playground).(49) Also, Lithuanian Railways resume local train journeys.(50) Hospitality services in resort towns can start to operate with restrictions.
From 12th May, civil registry offices start to gradually return to normal service provision. When registering a marriage, more than five people can attend the ceremony, but only if distancing and other safety measures can be ensured. (51) Also, existing restrictions on the handling of human bodies and the organization of funerals have been relaxed. There is no longer a restriction on participation of only the closest family members and limit the number of participants to 10 for funerals - the number of participants is now not limited, but general prevention measures (distance of 2m and hygiene measures) must be observed. (52) Also as of 12th May, MoH still recommends that, where possible, all personal celebrations (e.g. christenings, weddings, anniversaries) to be postponed. If this is not possible, the organizers and guests must follow distancing and hygiene requirements, and limit the number of participants. (53, 54)
From 13th May, Lufthansa will resume regular flights to Vilnius from Frankfurt am Main (Germany). No other routes are currently authorized.(55)
From 15th of May, it is be possible visit beaches in groups of up to five people, with the face covering while there no longer is a requirement. (67)
From 18th May municipality services can resume with face to face provisions, subject to distancing and hygiene requirements. Municipalities themselves need to decide on the details of service provision and need for PPE. It is recommended that the private sector follow the same guidelines as those working in the public sector.
Also from 18th May more beauty service providers (e.g. solariums, tattoo salons) can resume work (hairdressers and nail salons have already been opened). However, health clinics providing beauty services should remain closed. Individual training in gyms is also now allowed. Group sports training can be done under professional instructor guidance for up to 10 people, maintaining at least 10 square meters per person and a distance of at least 10 meters between groups of people.
With the easing of quarantine conditions, from 18th of May other open-air activities can be attended (educational trails, parks, zoos, botanical gardens, observation towers) by groups of up to 5 people, excluding families, and subject to 5 sq.m. per group with a distance of at least 2 m between groups:. Also, visitors can come to the mentioned objects in groups of no more than 5 people, except for families. (56-58) Guidelines on how to safely conduct filming were announced also on the 18th May. The main recommendations are that only healthy people can participate in the filming, it is suggested to limit physical contact as much as possible, maintain distances and use personal protective equipment.(70)
From 18th May, cafes, restaurants, bars and other indoor entertainment venues can start re-opening for groups of up to five people (excluding families) per table. They can operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and will be required to take established measures to ensure the safety of both visitors and staff. (61) It is stipulated that the distance between tables must be at least 2 meters with no partitions, or 1m if there are partitions of at least 90 centimetres wide and 140 centimetres high. From 18th May, administrations of gambling houses and casinos are obliged to limit the working hours of gambling places from 8 am to 10 pm, ensure distancing indoors requirement and wearing of face coverings.(64)
From 18th May, a maximum of 30 people will be able to take part in the events taking place in the open spaces, and the organizers will have to ensure that each participant has at least 10 sq. m area and a distance of at least 2 m between them. Event organizers will continue to be required to take care of the hygiene of the participants by hanging or placing a hand sanitizer at the entrance or in clearly visible places. People with acute signs of upper respiratory illness should not be admitted to events. Attendance at events is not recommended for people at risk. Event organizers should also check staff for COVID-19 symptoms and provide them with face protection and ensure hand hygiene. As far as possible, the organizers must organize the work in such a way that as many employees as possible are at a safe distance from each other and the participants of the event (more than 2 meters, less than 15 minutes) or do not come into contact with each other at all. (62)
From 18th May religious services can resume, subject to restrictions on the number of people, hygiene requirements, and wearing of face coverings. (72)
From 18th of May, non-formal educational activities for children, or, more generally, educational activities, can resume starting with groups of no more than 15 people, and ensuring that those symptomatic do not attend. (63)(71)
From 18th May, MOH together with the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, has developed requirements for temporary residence, group living, community care homes, families and other outpatient social services providing accommodation. Also, developed requirements for the organization of activities of children, day care and employment of people with disabilities, social service centers and other non-residential social care institutions without accommodation. They outline how to organize activities to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus infection (COVID-19). (65, 66)
On 20th of May, the government approved a plan to increase the number of attendees for cultural events. The Ministries of Health and Culture have been instructed to take the provisions of this plan into account when submitting proposals to the Government to relax the requirements of the quarantine regime. According to the plan, the number of attendees can be increased gradually on 1st June (to up to 100 people indoors and up to 300 outdoors), and on 16th June (up to 150 indoors and up to 500 outdoors). From 1st July, up to 200 spectators could participate indoors and up to 700 outdoors; from 16th July – up to 250 people indoors and up to 900 outdoors. For events taking place from 1 August, the number of participants would be limited to 300 indoors; from 16 August – up to 350 indoors; the number of attendees of outdoors events should not exceed 900 until the end of the summer. At the same time, from 1st June 1, occupancy of enclosed spaces should not exceed 30%, and from 1 July - not more than 50%. Distance of at least 1 meter between people must be maintained in enclosed and open spaces. The plan will be reviewed at least every two weeks.(73)
From 22nd of May libraries are allowed to provide books and periodicals. Disposable or personal visitor headphones should be used for audio guides, and frequently touched devices and equipment such as 3D glasses, tablets, computers, audio guides, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected after each visitor's use. The use of non-disinfectable equipment and tools is prohibited. (74)
For the duration of the quarantine, information on safe distances, contacts, personal hygiene requirements, use of PPE, etc. must be provided at the entrance to the beaches and in other areas of public use (i.e., changing rooms, cabins, toilets). It is recommended to encourage visitors to pay for non-cash goods and / or services on the beach. In the toilets, changing rooms and cabins, adequate hand hygiene and / or disinfection must be provided. Beach workers must be instructed to avoid direct contact with other people, except in case of rescue, to maintain a safe distance (at least 2 meters) and adhere to personal hygiene recommendations. Employers must ensure that only staff without symptoms of an infectious diseases work on the beach and that their health is monitored regularly. (75)
Pupils will be gradually allowed to return to schools from 25th May, staring from primary school, grades 1-4, and with remaining grades returning a week later (from 30th of May). The final decision on whether schools will work remotely or on a regular basis will be made by municipal and school leaders. From 25th of May schools will also be able to provide face-to-face tutoring for those sitting final exams, allow for vocational training and higher education, which cannot be organized remotely. From 25th of May, special schools and special classes of all general education schools will be able to open their doors. Non-formal adult education activities, where distance learning is not possible, will be available in the usual way from 30 May.(59)
On 27th of May it was stated that face masks, respirators or other protective equipment must be worn indoors, and in open spaces only in marketplaces and other public places of trade, events, excursions, public transport boarding areas, public transport and other gathering places. Protective equipment should not be worn when eating and drinking in public catering establishments, exercising, visiting a swimming pool or sauna. (76)
From 28th of May airline Wizzair will resume flights from Vilnius to Dortmund, and both from Vilnius and Kaunas to Einhoven. AirBaltic will launch flights from Vilnius to Berlin and Amsterdam. (77)
From 30th of May professional sports competitions will be possible. Also from 30th of May in both open and closed spaces it will be possible to organize events with the participation of no more than 30 people, ensuring at least 5 sq. m. area per person and a distance of at least 2 meters between persons. (60)
From 1st of June restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and other places of entertainment, casinos and slot machines, bingo halls will be open from 8 am to 11 pm. (76)
From 1st of June Ministry of Foreign Affairs has withdrawn the top warning "not to go abroad" for some European Union countries such as Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. There is also a warning not to go to Belgium, the United Kingdom, Sweden and Portugal. (78) The Foreign Office is calling for the abandonment of unnecessary travel to Ireland, Spain and Malta, where the incidence of COVID-19 remains above 15 cases per 100,000 population in the last 14 days.
On 1-15 of June cultural, entertainment, sports or other events will still be able to be organized and held only in open spaces, when you do not get out of the car during the event or when up to 300 spectators attend the event. A distance of at least 1 meter must be ensured between spectators, except for family members. Up to 100 participants can participate in events taking place in an enclosed space, with a distance of 2 meters between them (excluding family members) and space is filled to no more than 30 percent.
From 16th of June up to 500 participants in open spaces and up to 150 participants are be allowed in closed spaces for cultural, entertainment, sporting or other events. (76)
As of today, 17th of June, all catering establishments - cafes, restaurants and others - can work for more than 23 hours, and it is no longer mandatory for staff to wear face coverings, but it is recommended. Other requirements to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain. This means that the business will have to limit flows, ensure distances and take other preventive measures. (80, 81)
The number of people who can take part in the events will gradually increase every two weeks. From June 17 to 30, events may be organized and held in open spaces with up to 700 spectators and/or participants, and in closed spaces, with up to 150 (excluding performers, athletes, high-performance sports and physical activity specialists, high-performance sports and physical activity instructors, judges, anti-doping officers, organizers, and support staff).
On July 1-16, up to 1,000 participants will be able to attend events held in open spaces, and up to 200 participants, in closed spaces.
From 18th of June public attending sports events will not be required distance if they are wearing face coverings. (82)
From 22nd of June day-care centres for the elderly can operate, and visitors can be admitted to care homes.(83)
At the end of February residents of Lithuania were recommend not to visit places of mass gathering (1) and keep safe distance (at least 2 meters and up to 15 minutes). Where this recommendation was hard to accomplish (i.e., public transport), hand hygiene practice together with more frequent disinfestation of vehicles was emphasized.
On 10th of March, the State Emergency Operations Centre recommended that all employers organize employees' work through telecommunications (2) measures in order to avoid close contact between people. On 13th March it was recommend to regulate human flows in the supermarkets (respecting physical distancing), as well as advice to use Internet for shopping to minimise contacts and avoid queues was issued.
In education, on 13-16th March there was a recommendation, and from 16th until 27th March a requirement for the compulsory suspensions of the process of education,(3) training and study in all educational institutions, i.e. universities, colleges and schools, as well as day and employment centers, kindergartens, and non-formal education institutions. Municipalities have to organize care for children where this is not possible at home (e.g. when working from home for carers in not possible).
Between 14th and 27th March, nightclubs, bars and other nightlife venues were mandated to only stay open if they limit the flow of people, ensuring that there is at least one meter of space between people. In addition, such institutions were required to close by 10 pm the latest during these two weeks.(4)
On 17th of March it was recommended to postpone all personal celebrations (christening, weddings, anniversaries, etc.) and, if this was not possible, to follow the hygiene recommendations responsibly.(5) Use of catering establishments for celebrations was prohibited. On 19th of March, people in parks and other public spaces were obligated to walk in small groups of no more than five people, and playgrounds could only be used by one family at a time.(6) On 25th of March, obstetrics and gynecology specialists encouraged pregnant women and women preparing to give birth during quarantine to follow all the recommendations; ban on hospital visits and men's participation in childbirth was also issued.(7) On 26th of March, restrictions on cultural reserves, parks and other public areas require public to visit in groups of up to 2 people (excluding members of the same family), to maintain safe contact (greater than 2 meters and less than 15 minutes of contact), and follow hygiene requirements.
From 16th March 00:00 Lithuanian authorities announced the quarantine regime (i.e. national lock down) (12, 13) that initially was planned until 30 March, but was expended on 25th March until 13th April. Later, on 8th of April the government has decided to extend the quarantine for another two weeks, until April 27, which was then also prolonged until midnight of 11th of May. (14, 15) On 6th of May quarantine regime extended until 31 May 00:00h. (16) On 27th of May the government decided to extend the quarantine regime until June 16 at 24:00, but to relax the quarantine conditions, taking into account the epidemiological situation in the country. (76) On 10th of June Government decided to lift the quarantine as of 16 June 24:00; however, the national state of emergency has been kept in force due to the threat of the spread of COVID-19. The Government has also retained (has not withdrawn) the declared third (full readiness) level of civil protection system.
During the quarantine regime, the right of persons to leave and enter Lithuania has been restricted. Cultural, leisure, entertainment, sports facilities beauty services and many other face-to-face service have been prohibited. No events and gatherings can be held in open and enclosed spaces. Health services, sanatoriums, recreation centers, except for individual rehabilitation services related to treatment are not available. Activities of catering establishments, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues are banned, except where food can be taken away or otherwise delivered to residents. Further restrictions were added on 2nd of April (18), with all commercial passenger flights and ferries (except one route with Kiel) stopping from 4th April. On 2nd April further restrictions were added: crews working for Lithuanian companies engaged in international commercial freight transport must avoid close contact (maintain a distance of at least two meters) with persons with respiratory symptoms of the disease (cough, sneezing).(9) A national unified telephone helpline 1809 was established for people experiencing difficulties in quarantine (see also section 3.3). (20) See below the section on transition measures, as quarantine regime has been gradually easing down from 15th April.
Since 10th of April an obligation to wear medical masks in public places was issued.(35)
In order to manage the risk of the spread of COVID-19, employers were advised to continue to allow workers to work from home, where possible. In cases where teleworking is not possible, it is advisable to consider resuming work in stages, and it is recommended that those at risk do not work in physical workplaces, i.e. people over 60 years of age with chronic diseases. Workstations should be arranged at a distance of at least 2 meters between workstations or be separated by partitions. In order to ensure that as few employees as possible work in the same room, it is recommended to install workplaces in the meeting room, canteen, and other previously unused premises of the institution.(10)
To minimize movement and avoid gatherings during the Easter holidays, from April 10th. 8 p.m. until April 13. 8 p.m. people’s travel to cities and towns outside their municipality of residence has been restricted. (17). Over the weekend (18-19th of April), there were about 600 police crews patrolling the country to ensure the quarantine. (19)
Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Nemenčinė, Vilnius district, access to and from this town has been restricted since 16th April, initially for one week. In order to prevent further spread of the infection, enhanced measures have been planned - to monitor compliance with the quarantine regime, to inspect the nursing, care and other institutions in the city and its vicinity. (21-24). On 18th of April MOH reiterated that residents are prohibited from entering and leaving the town without permits. (25, 26). On 21st of April it was announced that not only adult residents of the town, but also people commuting there for work are to be tested for COVID-19.(27) Between April 18 and April 24th, over 2700 people living or working in Nemenčinė have been tested, and 44 cases of COVID-19 have been found. On 28th April, authorities state that the situation in Nemenčinė is under control.(28)