Ignoring government position, Saeima permits catering services outdoors from May 7 in accordance with epidemiological safety requirements

  • 2021-04-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Today, in the final reading, the Saeima passed amendments which from May 7 allow public catering companies to provide their services outdoors in accordance with the epidemiological safety requirements set by the government.

The Saeima made such a decision without taking into account the agreement previously reached in the government - not to review any restrictions until 11 May.

From May 7, public catering service providers will be allowed to provide public catering services outdoors in compliance with the epidemiological safety requirements for public catering services set by the Cabinet of Ministers.

However, depending on the epidemiological situation, the Cabinet of Ministers will be able to decide to suspend the provision of these services for a certain period of time.

The government may still have to decide what these epidemiological safety requirements will be. Previously, such requirements provided for a limited number of people at a single table, spacing between tables and limited working hours.

This regulation, previously prepared by the Ministry of Economics, stipulates that by allowing the provision of an organized public catering service outdoors, up to four people could be served at one table, at the same time a distance of at least two meters between the tables will have to be observed.

As reported, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) is concerned about the "individual path" chosen by the Saeima in resolving the epidemiological situation regarding Covid-19.

At the opening of the government sitting on Thursday, Karins commented on the proposals discussed in the Saeima today regarding the relaxation of restrictions in certain areas, for example, to allow restaurants to open outdoor terraces. According to the Prime Minister, this matter has not been agreed with the Cabinet of Ministers.

"If the Saeima thinks that it is better to ignore epidemiologists, then this is a different matter and it puts our country in shaky waters," the Prime Minister said.

He pointed out that the Saeima "lives its life, in its information space" regarding the epidemiological situation and the risks associated with it. "I watched this debate with some worry, because with different actions we can cause unexpected consequences," Karins added.

Also, in the opinion of the Prime Minister, the Saeima "is beginning to go its own way". "I don't know what this means legally, I will find out more," said Karins, expressing uncertainty about how the cooperation between Saeima and the government in resolving the Covid-19 crisis will be "regulated".