TALLINN - Starting from Sunday, houses of worship across Estonia can be open and church services and other public religious services are permitted again, provided that the 2+2 rule is observed.
Population Minister Riina Solman said in her remarks published through spokespeople that she is glad that the government supported her proposal to relax restrictions for the religious community of Estonia.
"Permitting public church services is among the first measures relaxing the restrictions of the emergency situation. I consider this extremely appropriate considering the present situation and I am glad that the state is taking the needs of believers into consideration," the minister said.
Solman said that the Estonian Council of Churches and leaders of confessions have been good cooperation partners for the government and have law-abidingly adhered to the restrictions.
"At once after the emergency situation was declared, we introduced changes with the leaders of all confessions within 24 hours to avoid the spread of the infection via churches and congregations. Despite the emergency situation, pastoral care and other social care services were continued using personal protective equipment. In addition, the performance of all essential rites, such as funeral services and diaconal work, continued," she added.
There are 595 religious associations, meaning churches, congregations, associations of congregations, and convents and monasteries in Estonia.