RIGA - We can be sure about the upcoming summer season and festivals - there will be no restrictions there, Culture Minister Nauris Puntulis (National Alliance) said in an interview with TV3 channel Thursday.
The minister said that there are still questions about a transition period between March 1 and April 1, but that it already clear that already in this period restrictions on the size of gatherings will be lifted. Puntulis indicated that the restrictions on the size of gatherings is one of the main hindrances in the culture sector, affecting event organizers, artists and also their audiences.
"As for the summer season and festivals, we can be absolutely sure - there will no restrictions there, all basic restrictions will be lifted already from April 1," the culture minister promised.
He also noted that it is not quite correct to compare restrictions that have been introduced in different countries based only on the epidemiological situation, because the capacity of each country's health system must also be taken into consideration.
"The Health Ministry's proposals include some elements that have been introduced in Lithuania and Estonia, but copy-paste definitely cannot applied here and each country must make its own choices and work out its own policy," the minister said.
As reported, Health Minister Daniels Pavluts (Development/For) has called on the government coalition to agree on a plan for lifting Covid-19 restrictions in three stages, LETA was told at the Health Ministry. The plan includes allowing currently suspended businesses to restart operations and scrapping Covid-19 certificates in shopping centers from March 1.
The health minister noted that safety measures are already being eased in schools where the epidemiological situation has been stabilizing. As of February 14, students and teachers will not be required to quarantine after coming into contact with an infected person, and testing requirements are being eased for preschools from February 16.
At the same time, comprehensive testing will continue in schools for the safety of students and teachers, the minister said.
Pavlits also proposes allowing currently suspended businesses like nightclubs and attractions reopen on March 1, to lift restrictions on working hours and floor space requirements for services providers, cancel ventilation, distancing and remote-working requirements, leaving them as recommendatory. The minister also proposes lifting the requirement for Covid-19 certificates in retail trade, leaving in place the requirement to ensure at least 15 square meters per client.
According to the health minister's proposals, the maximum number of people allowed to attend organized events would be set at 500 to 3,000, without requiring registration of participants. As for private events, 10 to 50 people would be allowed to gather indoors and 20 to 100 people outdoors. No limits would be set for group activities in sports and education.
In tourism, people with Covid-19 certificates or negative Covid-19 tests would be allowed to enter Latvia without self-isolation.
At the same time, the minister proposes a continued use of medical facemasks or FFP2 respirators in indoor settings, as well as Covid-19 certificates in high-risk settings like larger gatherings where distancing and mask wearing cannot be controlled.
If the situation in hospitals is stable and the number of new hospital admissions does not exceed 25 Covid-19 patients per day, all other restrictions could be lifted from April 1, the Health Ministry informed.