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Street with catering and entertainment establishments in Estonia

Estonia tightens corona restrictions further

Estonia tightens corona restrictions further

Restaurants and entertainment venues will have to close earlier; shops must be full at maximum 50 percent

New limits on the opening hours and occupancy rates of catering and entertainment establishments, shops and public events in Estonia will come into effect on Saturday, December 5. The additional restrictions come on top of the curbs announced last week which aim to ease the burden on the healthcare system amid rising coronavirus cases (470 diagnosed in the past 24 hours).

From tomorrow, catering and entertainment establishments, as well as public events venues with no fixed seating will have to close at 10 pm instead of midnight. In addition to adhering to the 2 + 2 rule, mask-wearing and use of disinfectants, they will have to limit the number of people inside to 50 percent of their capacity.

Private parties at these facilities may not be held after 10 pm. Performances at theatres, cinemas and concert halls with stationary seating, however, can continue beyond 10 pm.

The 50 percent occupancy limit will also apply to stores (with no more than 250 customers admitted inside at one time). Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, who went into self-isolation today after contacting a coronavirus carrier, accounted for this restriction arguing that the 2+2 rule is seldom observed inside stores.

No lockdown planned, but more stringent measures possible

The new set of restrictions is softer than those proposed by the scientific council which advises the Estonian government in managing the pandemic. No sector has been entirely closed so far and, consequently, no support measures have come into play.

Anyway, bars and restaurants will be hit hardest, as they already operate far below their capacity. So far the government is steering clear of a full lockdown but, as social affairs minister Tanel Kiik told ETV, new and more stringent regulations cannot be ruled out between now and Christmas.

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