Holding Events and Visiting Estonia in the Time of COVID
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 OECD Sustainable Development Report 2020 ranks Estonia among the world’s top countries for epidemic control. 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 available 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 10-day quarantine period is eased, and fully lifted if a second test returns negative. Read more on testing on the Estonian Health Board’s web site.
Are face masks mandatory?
It is obligatory to wear a mask or cover one’s nose and mouth indoors, including on public transport and at service points, during hobby education and activities.
People for whom it is medically contraindicated, as well as children under the age of 12, do not need to cover their nose and mouth or wear a mask if sufficient distance is ensured and in other justified cases.
What other safety measures are in place?
The so-called 2 + 2 rule must be followed everywhere in public indoor spaces, which means that two people can move together but keep a distance of two metres from other people.This applies, for example, in bank branches, hairdressing and beauty salons, and elsewhere.
The current 10 + 2 rule will continue to apply in catering establishments and places where entertainment services are provided. The rule means that a group may include up to 10 people, but they have to keep a distance of two metres from others. These restrictions do not apply to families.
Hand sanitisers have been placed at the entrances to indoor public spaces such as shops, restaurants, museums, hotel lobbies, etc.. Additionally, most hotels have implemented enhanced cleaning and safety procedures.
What’s open to visitors?
Special restrictions in Tallinn area from 28 December to 17 January 2021: As of 28 December 2020 restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, sports centres, spas and swimming pools are closed in Tallinn, Harju and Ida-Viru county. Restaurants and cafes are allowed to operate takeaway services. Indoor areas at amusement parks, zoos and similar types of attractions, as well as at museums, theatres and cinemas are also closed to the public.
Shops, supermarkets, shopping centers, outdoor areas of zoos and amusement parks, etc. are open with the 50 percent capacity limit in force. Accommodation establishments may continue to provide accommodation services.
Elsewhere in Estonia – Restaurants, shops, museums, spas and attractions elsewhere in Estonia are open with the 50 percent capacity limit in force.
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.
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 10-day quarantine period is eased, and fully lifted if a second test returns negative. See more detailed information on high-risk countries, self-isolation and testing requirements for passengers can be read from the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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?
Visitors to the airport are requested to wear a mask, 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?
Special restrictions to Tallinn, Harju and Ida- Viru country:
As of 28 December it is not allowed to hold public meetings and events, including conferences, theatre performances, concerts, and indoor cinema viewings. Museums and exhibitions must also be closed to visitors. Accommodation establishments may continue to provide accommodation services.
Up to 10 people can take part in public events and meetings outdoors.
The restrictions are currently imposed until January 17th 2021.
Elsewhere in Estonia:
Up to 400 people can take part in an indoors public event with stationary seating, otherwise, up to 250 people are allowed. For outdoor events, the maximum number of participants is 500. The obligation to wear a mask or to cover one’s nose and mouth will apply everywhere in these places.
More detailed information can be found on Estonian Government’s kriis.ee website.
Are there special COVID-related requirements for holding events (e.g. health checks, measuring temperature, mandatory tests)?
There are no requirements other than wearing a mask, arranging for social distancing (2+2 & 10+2 rule), 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.
This project is (co-)funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Enterprise Estonia.