Health, safety and the practicalities of holding an event in today’s circumstances are naturally top concerns for conference organisers. Below is a list of answers to the questions we’re most frequently asked on the subject. Please bear in mind that the situation is fluid, particularly with regard to travel regulations, so we strongly recommend checking the included links for the latest information.
How prevalent is COVID-19 in Estonia?
The virus is well under control. Though the country hasn’t come off unscathed, swift introduction of measures in early March coupled with a low population density have helped keep the numbers relatively low. In fact, the OECD Sustainable Development Report 2020 ranks Estonia among the world’s top countries for epidemic control. You can also rest assured that Estonia’s medical care system provides world-class care. For the most up-to-date news and daily statistics on Covid-19 in the country, visit the Estonian Health Board’s website.
Who is being tested?
Generally only those who are symptomatic and have had a doctor indicate that testing is needed. A wider testing option is eavailable on September 1st – arrivals from COVID-19 high-risk countries in Estonia at both Tallinn Aiport and Tallinn ferry port can take an optional coronavirus test. Returning negative on a test, which is free to Estonian residents, means the 14-day quarantine period is eased, and fully lifted if a second test returns negative.
Are face masks mandatory?
No, wearing face masks is not required anywhere in Estonia. This may seem odd to foreign visitors already accustomed to wearing masks, but as mentioned earlier, the risk of infection in the country is relatively low.
What other safety measures are in place?
Hand sanitisers have been placed at the entrances to indoor public spaces such as shops, restaurants, museums, hotel lobbies, etc.. Many such institutions also require visitors to practice social distancing. Additionally, most hotels have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety procedures.
What’s open to visitors?
All restaurants, shops, museums, spas and attractions are open and welcoming visitors.
Travelling to Estonia
Who can travel to Estonia without self- quarantining?
Estonia reopened its borders on June 1, and visitors from a wide range of European countries – as well as a number of non-EU countries – are allowed to enter. There are however some rules regarding who has to self-isolate upon arrival. As the situation is constantly changing, the list of regulations and countries affected is updated each week.
Detailed information about countries and self-isolation requirements is available on the Foreign Ministry website.
From September 1st, arrivals from COVID-19 high-risk countries in Estonia at both Tallinn Aiport and Tallinn ferry port can take an optional coronavirus test. Returning negative on a test, which is free to Estonian residents, means the 14-day quarantine period is eased, and fully lifted if a second test returns negative. See more information on the testing at Tallinn Airport and Port of Tallinn here
Are there any restrictions for group travel in Estonia?
There is no specific ban on travelling for groups.
What restrictions and measures are in place at Tallinn Airport?
There is no requirement to wear a mask in the airport, however some airlines require them for passengers when on board. Visitors to the airport are requested to sanitise their hands and practice social distancing. Hand sanitation stations have been made available throughout the airport. Surfaces are frequently cleaned and UV light purification systems are in operation in the ventilation systems. More information is available on the airport’s website.
What are the pax limits for events right now?
Indoor events of up to 1,500 participants are allowed. If seats are numbered and can be traced to individual people, then it is allowed to use venues at full capacity. If seats are not numbered, then the maximum is 50 % of the usual venue/hall capacity.
For outdoor events, the maximum is 2,000 pax.
Have there been any live conferences in Estonia recently?
Yes, there have been several in fact. The number of live conferences particularly began picking up in August after organisers, venues and government officials became more proactive in collaborating to overcome obstacles and find solutions.
Are there special COVID-related requirements for holding events (e.g. health checks, measuring temperature, mandatory tests)?
There are no requirements other than arranging for social distancing, which means leaving plenty of room for each participant. Conference hotels are helping out by providing larger rooms than usual for the group size. For organisers, an important step is to ensure that there won’t be any crowded areas such as gatherings in front of a stage, entrance queues, buffet queues, etc.
Beyond what’s required, many event organisers are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of their participants. There are several options available, including providing masks and encouraging delegates to use them when indoors, asking ticketholders to fill out voluntary health questionnaires prior to arrival, providing outdoor eating and meeting spaces when possible, having a doctor on hand to answer people’s questions and using contactless solutions for procedures like registering and ticketing.
Venues themselves are required to provide hand sanitisers at entrances and carry out surface cleaning.
If you have any additional questions or concerns, please get in touch with us here at the ECB. Our team is always ready to help.