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.

Nationwide restrictions starting from March 6th

From 6 March, customers may be in sales or service halls of catering establishments only on business days from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The occupancy of the room may not exceed 25 per cent. On weekends, catering establishments must be closed to customers for eating and drinking on site. Take-away food sale is allowed at any time.

The restriction on opening hours also applies to catering in hotels and other accommodation establishments. This means that outside the permitted opening hours, guests can only be offered catering with room service or by take-away food sale.

A mask must be worn when moving in the sales or service hall of a catering establishment. The 2 + 2 rule must be followed, i.e. up to two people can be and move around together and they must keep a distance of at least two metres from other people. The restriction does not apply to families. If the catering establishment also offers the service on an outdoor terrace, the same opening hours restrictions apply there, but instead of the 2 + 2 rule, the requirement of dispersal of customers must be observed.

Shopping centres

From 6 March, both individual shops and shops in shopping centres must be closed on weekends. On Saturdays and Sundays, goods may be sold and delivered to the customer in an outdoor sales or delivery area of the store, where the dispersal of people must be ensured.

The restriction on opening hours does not apply to grocery stores, petrol stations, pharmacies, eyewear stores, as well as stores selling medical devices and aids, points of sale of telecommunications companies, and pet stores, regardless of the location of the store.

A stricter 25 per cent capacity restriction will apply in the sales hall of the store and in the public space of shopping centres instead of the previous 50 per cent.

Restrictions on service companies were not changed.

All restrictions can be found on kriis.ee

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.