Estonia: Only essential stores, services to remain open from Thursday

  • 2021-03-11
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – Starting Thursday, extensive additional restrictions on staying in stores and catering establishments will apply throughout Estonia for at least one month, and only essential stores and services will remain open.

The purpose of the restrictions is to reduce contacts between people in order to control the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia and ensure the continuity of the Estonian healthcare system, spokespeople for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications said.

From Thursday, all other shops must be closed, only essential shops -- grocery stores, pharmacies, shops selling aids and medical devices, telecommunications branches, eyewear shops, pet shops and petrol stations, where it is not allowed to offer on-site catering -- can remain open. These stores may also be open in malls and as a shop-in-shop solution.

In shops that may remain open and in the public areas of shopping centers, the requirement of up to 25 percent occupancy, 2+2 movement restrictions and the obligation to wear a mask must be taken into account. The availability of disinfectants for employees and customers and compliance with the disinfection requirements in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board must be ensured.

All other stores must remain closed. Trading may only take place in such a way that the customer does not enter the company's sales hall to receive the goods. Goods may be sold and issued only in the outdoor sales or issuance area of the store and in the parking area under the roof of the shopping center, creating a so-called drive-in delivery point there. When delivering goods outside the sales area, customers must be dispersed, for example, two meters should be marked in the waiting line of the issue point. It is recommended to use couriers or e-commerce.

The public areas of the shopping center -- corridors and other similar spaces through which there is access to, for example, a grocery store -- remain open. Access to the service provider and parcel machines located on the general premises of the shopping center must also be ensured.

Business owners, employees, couriers and service providers are allowed to go to the stores in the shopping center closed due to the restrictions, which means that they can make inventory, put together online store orders, clean up and so on.

Restrictions do not extend to outdoor markets. An outdoor market is also one with a roof above it. Indoors, such as at markets with small enclosed sales booths, only food is allowed to be sold. The sale of other items is also allowed on open counters outdoors.

From Thursday, eating and drinking on site is prohibited in the sales or service hall of a catering establishment. Only food take-away is allowed. When selling food, care must be taken to ensure that the occupancy of the room does not exceed 25 percent, the obligation to wear a mask applies and the 2+2 rule must be followed. Service provision is not allowed on outdoor terraces.

The restriction also applies to catering in hotels and other accommodation establishments. Customers may be sold food or provided meals, for example, by way of room service.

Service companies may continue to operate, but from Thursday, the space occupancy restriction will become stricter. The occupancy of the room must not exceed 25 percent. All rules for controlling the spread of coronavirus must be followed: the 2+2 rule, mask wearing, compliance with disinfection requirements in accordance with the instructions of the Health Board.

Post offices, bank branches, libraries, beauty and hairdressing salons, shoemakers and watchmakers, car repair shops, tire change points and so on may continue to operate as service providers. Service providers also include mobile phone stores offering phone and computer repairs and other technical repair services.