Emergency situation

2+2 rule and the requirement to wear a mask

Government of the Republic of Estonia approved on November 24 additional restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

An obligation to wear a mask or to cover one's nose and mouth is introduced in public indoor spaces, including public transport and service points. This obligation does not apply to children under the age of 12 or if wearing a mask is not possible for health reasons, special needs, the nature of work or activity, or other important reasons.

A public indoor space is a space intended for public use that can be entered by anyone, regardless of the pre-registration requirement. A public transport vehicle is also considered a public indoor space.

The so-called 2+2 rule must be followed everywhere in public indoor spaces, which means that up to two people can move together but keep a distance of two metres from other people.

Among other places, this applies, for example, in a bank office, museum, exhibitions, hairdressing and beauty salons, but also in water centres, swimming pools, and saunas. The restriction does not apply to families or when it cannot be reasonably ensured; for example, in public transport vehicles with many passengers. There, in addition to keeping the maximum possible distance, a mask must be worn.

Easing of restrictions in Harju County and Ida-Viru County that will become effective from 18 January

Hobby activities and hobby education, refresher training and continuing education, youth work, sporting and training will be allowed indoors as individual activities. Outdoors, all the listed activities continue to be permitted for groups of up to ten people.

At museums and exhibition facilities, it is allowed to move around while following the 2+2 rule, and the capacity of the premises must remain below 50 per cent of the maximum. Outdoors, the size of the visitor group may still be up to 10 people.

From 18 January, the prohibition to reside at the sales or service area of a catering establishment for on-site spending of time will be relieved. The premises of restaurants, cafes and other catering establishments may be open to customers for on-site recreation between 6:00 to 19:00. The limit of up to 25 per cent of the maximum capacity must be taken into account, meaning that customers must be spread out on the premises, and the 2+2 rule must be adhered to when moving around on the premises; this rule is not applicable to families. No restrictions will be established on the time for take-away sales.

These existing restrictions will remain in effect until 1 February:

It is forbidden to be present at establishments providing entertainment services.

Saunas, spas, water parks and swimming pools must remain closed for visitors, except for the purpose of individual sports.

Public meetings and events, including conferences, theatre plays, concerts and movie screenings, are forbidden indoors. Outdoors, public events and meetings can be attended in groups of up to ten people, and no contact is allowed with other groups. A public outdoor event must end by 22:00.

The 50 per cent capacity requirement will remain in effect for church and religious services, as will the obligation to wear a mask, and movement must take place observing the 2+2 rule, which is not applicable to families.

How does the police monitor compliance with the 2+2 rule and the requirement to wear a mask?

The police provides assistance to the Health Board in ensuring compliance with the imposed restrictions and shall reorganise its regular work so that public indoor spaces are also checked on a random basis.

When police officers notice that people are not wearing a mask when coming into contact with others, for instance in shopping centres or service offices, the officers inform them of why it is important to wear a mask. If the police officers have reason to believe that there is a deliberate breach of the requirement to wear a mask, they will inform the Health Board.

Does the police impose fines for not wearing a mask?

In the framework of today's cooperation, the police do not take actions or fine violations Rather, the information received is sent to the Health Board, which will then commence misdemeanour proceedings or impose a penalty payment, if necessary.

Does the 2+2 rule also apply to the employees of the Police and Border Guard Board? How are those activities carried out that require the presence of more than two people? For instance, when it is necessary to apply coercion or conduct questioning sessions?

Police officers performing official duties do not have to comply with the 2+2 rule. In addition, police officers use personal protective equipment.