TALLINN - The Estonian government has formally approved amendments to a regulation, endorsed in principle on July 22, which reduce the maximum allowed number of participants in both indoor and outdoor events and activities where participants are not subject to infection safety control.
From Aug. 2, attendance at events and activities prior to which guests do not have to undergo an infection safety check, meaning an obligation to produce a certificate of vaccination, a certificate proving their recovery from the infection, or a certificate of negative test, will be capped at 500 participants for indoor events and at up to 1,500 participants for outdoor events, government spokespeople said.
Currently, up to 1,000 people are allowed to participate in such events and activities indoors and up to 5,000 outdoors.
To events and activities the organizer of which requires from all participants a certificate of a negative test, a certificate proving their recovery from the infection, or a certificate of the completion of a COVID-19 vaccination course current rules will continue to apply and their attendance will continue to be capped at 6,000 people indoors and at 12,000 outdoors.
The changes concern public meetings and events, including conferences, theater, concerts, cinema, entertainment services, religious services, museums and exhibitions. In addition, they concern sport, training, youth work, hobby activities, hobby education, further education and refresher training, the organization of sports competitions and sports and physical activity events, and also apply to saunas, spas, swimming pools and water parks for public use.
In shops and service outlets, and in indoor areas of food service companies, the current restrictions will continue to apply. This means that the positioning of people must take account of the need for dispersion and ensure that disinfection requirements are met. Wearing a mask is recommended in public indoor areas.
The limits have been set on the basis of an assessment by the Health Board. In its assessment, the Health Board took into account the estimated level of infection at the end of August, the vaccination rate of the population and the numbers of people who have recovered from COVID-19, as well as the fact that the proportion of the delta strain of the virus in Estonia now stands at over 90 percent, and the contagiousness of said strain is 60 percent higher than that of the alpha strain.
Major events facilitate the spread of the virus, and lowering the attendance caps for events is the next best instrument in terms of effectiveness after vaccination coverage of the population. Besides, it needs to be remembered that infection of people with the virus causing the COVID-19 illness has also occurred in Estonia at several sports and entertainment events.