TALLINN - The pending requirement for the service sector to check their clients' vaccination status, which waiting for the government's nod, will be mandatory for businesses, and the government is expected to unveil rules on the use of the coronavirus certificate within Estonia at the end of this week, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology Andres Sutt said on a podcast of Postimees.
According to Sutt, the rules for using the vaccination passport were in place by June.
"From June 14, the passport was valid for supervised events where there was no upper limit. Some business operators took advantage of this possibility. As an example, I can name the opening concert of the Estonian National Symphony Orchestra. After that, however, the infection rate in Estonia declined and restrictions no longer needed to be applied to this extent. Now, at the beginning of the third wave, it is clear that the only viable way to control the virus is vaccination," the Reform Party minister said.
The government is about to discuss on Thursday the next steps concerning the use of the COVID-19 vaccination certificate within the country.
"If the infection rate increases, we need to create an environment where it is possible to continue our normal life using the certificate. There is no reason for us to shut down society any more, as we were forced to do in the spring. We can all vaccinate. The use of the coronavirus passport may turn out to be an effective measure," said Sutt.
"Business operators also need time to prepare, as well as everyone else. Infection is on the rise now and us having to create distinctions is a matter of just one month. I recently went to Austria, and the restaurants there ask patrons for a coronavirus passport before they can get served. The certificate issued by Estonia worked great there. Everything works, people do not feel discomfort and society has embraced it," Sutt told Postimees.
The rules related to the coronavirus passport must be the same for everyone, the minister said.
"I can't imagine that we will make a rule that is optional. If we agree to allow service to persons who can produce a certificate, it will apply equally to all. Yes, exceptions can be made. For example, if it's a small place that can accommodate ten people, then it can be considered. In the big picture, and the experience of other countries shows this, a uniform rule is clearly understandable, observable, and society will go along with it," said Sutt.