Estonia: Prime Minister Jüri Ratas discussed the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus with trade companies over video bridge

NordenBladet — Prime Minister Jüri Ratas met with the representatives of trade companies over video bridge yesterday to discuss the situation before Christmas and the compliance with the rules established in the shopping centres and stores to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Ratas emphasised that the efforts of both trade companies and customers are vitally important in order to cope with the second wave of the coronavirus together. ‘The spread of the coronavirus is critically high in Estonia. Therefore, before Christmas, as well as at the end of the year and at the beginning of the new year, we all – including traders, sellers, security staff, and shopper – need to be extra vigilant when visiting stores and follow the easiest but much needed rules to stop the virus from spreading further. We have to wear a mask, keep distance, wash hands, and also use the HOIA mobile app,’ the Prime Minister said. ‘We all want to be healthy and refrain from passing the infection among family on to the closest ones during the Christmas holidays. It is up to the behaviour of every Estonian resident whether we are able to seize control of the spread of the virus and whether our medical system can withstand the crisis,’ Ratas said.

According to the Prime Minister, close cooperation between the Government, authorities, and businesses is necessary to enforce the established necessary restrictions. While imposing such restrictions, the Government’s aim has been to prevent the spread of the virus, and at the same time to allow companies to continue operating, which is important for traders, employees, and buyers during the holidays.

The heads of the trade companies spoke about the measures taken in shopping centres and stores to prevent the virus from spreading, the number of visits to the stores, and the compliance with the rules by the customers. For example, it was highlighted that more and more visitors are wearing masks, and some traders have also distributed masks to visitors, if necessary. Entrepreneurs noted that they would continue to inform their visitors about the rules and draw the attention of shoppers and security staff to the need to wear a mask or keep their distance, if relevant. It is also planned to increase supervision over compliance with the rules by both entrepreneurs themselves and the Police and Border Guard Board during the holidays.

The occupancy rates of stores and shopping centres must not exceed 50 percent. People have to maintain a distance of two metres in stores, shopping centres, and points of service, and a maximum of two people may move around together. In addition, it is necessary to disinfect hands and wear a mask or cover one’s nose and mouth indoors, and avoid visiting the stores when feeling ill. It is recommended to make the Christmas purchases early, using online stores or courier services, if possible. When visiting the store, one should choose a time where there are as few other buyers as possible and it is wise to use the contactless payment option for purchasing.

The meeting was attended by the heads of Ülemiste Centre, Kaubamaja Group, Selver, Prisma, COOP Keskühistu, Kristiine, and Rocca al Mare centres, Viru Keskus, Maxima, Rimi, K-Rauta, Bauhof, and Decora, as well as the CEO of the Estonian Traders Association, Nele Peil. Also, Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik, Minister of Foreign Trade and Information Technology Raul Siem, Director General of the Health Board Üllar Lanno, Head of the Research Council Irja Lutsar, as well as the representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, and the Police and Border Guard Board were present at the meeting.

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