TALLINN - Mayor of Tallinn Mihhail Kolvart has sent a letter to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, asking the head of government to consider introducing relaxations to valid coronavirus related restrictions from May 2, instead of May 3, to enable believers to celebrate Russian Orthodox Easter in line with traditions.
The mayor voiced appreciation of the work of the government in combating the COVID-19 virus and the gradual easing of restrictions.
"We are in favor of it that outdoor activities are permitted first, which is safer than gathering indoors," Kolvart said in the letter, adding that caution is still required despite the more positive dynamics in infection figures.
"In addition to physical health, the coronavirus epidemic that has lasted for more than a year has affected people's mental health, which is why many people are tired emotionally and mentally," the mayor said.
He observed that the relaxations already endorsed by the government enable many activities supporting mental health, such as engaging in sports indoors, visiting indoor museums and exhibitions while adhering to the 2+2 rule and the 25 percent capacity requirement. Also, starting from May 3, public meetings and religious services are permitted outdoors with a maximum attendance of 150 people.
The mayor is asking the government to give consideration to bringing the date of the relaxation of restrictions one day forward to enable Orthodox believers to observe Easter, one of the most important religious holidays of the year, on May 2.
According to statistics, slightly less than 30 percent of residents in Estonia adhere to some faith at least to some degree, and for 16 percent of residents this is the Orthodox faith, the mayor noted.
"Religion and religious services provide mental and spiritual support to many people. At the same time, it would be a symbolic sign of caring and understanding for all members of the society, because every resident of Estonia needs hope and joy at the present time," the letter to the prime minister says.
"Only recently a debate took place in the Riigikogu and in the society on declaring Easter Monday a national holiday. I support this idea and it should be discussed on a broad basis," Kolvart added.