Estonia easing restrictions on border crossing with Latvia, Lithuania, Finland

  • 2020-05-09
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - The Estonian government on Friday decided that in the second half of next week the restrictions on border crossing between Estonia and Finland will be relaxed and the free movement of residents of and those legally staying in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will be restored.

Prime Minister Juri Ratas in his capacity as the head of the emergency situation in Estonia signed an order with which, from May 14, the restriction that people arriving in Estonia from Finland had to remain in isolation for 14 days after crossing the border will be eased. While until now, people living in Estonia but working in Finland could arrive in Estonia without this requirement up to once a week, then from next Thursday, they will be able to move more often between Estonia and Finland.

In addition to people working in Finland, the requirement of isolation after border crossing for those who come from Finland to Estonia to work or study here will disappear. Also, people who come to Estonia for an unavoidable family reason, especially to meet a close relative but also for events such as funerals or weddings, will not have to stay home.

Although the isolation requirement will disappear, those arriving in Estonia are still advised to refrain from leaving home for two weeks, except for going home and work or for other unavoidable reasons.

In addition, additional requirements will apply to ships and ports -- on May 14-19, voluntary testing for coronavirus on ships sailing between Finland and Estonia will be carried out. The aim is to reduce the possible spread of the virus to Estonia. Organizational issues for conducting testing will be developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The amendment to the government decree also maintains the possibility to carry out random border checks at the Finnish border in order to identify the person crossing the border and the purpose of their journey.

The free movement of residents of and those legally staying in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will resume in a week, on May 15. Starting then, border control and guarding of the state border temporarily reestablished on the Estonian-Latvian border will end, and those arriving in Estonia from Latvia and Lithuania will no longer have to stay at home for 14 days, except for those arriving from outside the Baltic states. The opening of borders and the conditions for the free movement of people legally residing in the Baltic states will be specified in the near future by a joint agreement between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

At the same time, those crossing the border must still comply with orders to prevent coronavirus, such as the mask requirement or the 2+2 rule, which allows up to two people to move together and keep a distance of at least two meters with others. As arrangements may vary from country to country, the relevant information will be made separately available to people crossing the border.

In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, temporary restrictions on entry into Estonia have been in force since March 16.