Strategy of the government for the next stage of Covid-19 restrictions: strict domestic health measures and gradual easing of restrictions
On Thursday, 7 May, the Cabinet of Ministers prolonged the emergency situation until 9 June, at the same time adopting the decision regarding gradual cancellation or easing of certain restrictions. Strict adherence to all physical distancing and epidemiological safety measures on a daily basis in all areas will continue to be a prerequisite for reducing these restrictions.
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš: “The government's strategy for the next Covid-19 restriction stage will be based on strict public health safety measures and a gradual easing of restrictions. We will move step by step so that restrictions are minimal while at the same time the virus will not spread anymore.”
The decision is adopted based on the criteria approved by the government on the basic principles and criteria which determine when the easing of measures introduced during the Covid-19 crisis is possible. The epidemiological situation in Latvia, the ability of the responsible authorities to detect the infection and find contact persons, the capacity of health care institutions, and the situation abroad will be assessed with an eye for the cancellation of restrictions. The criteria will be measured over a four-week period; the cancelled restrictions may be enhanced or eased depending on the fulfilment of the criteria.
As of 12 May restrictions will be eased in the areas of education, sports, various events and gatherings, transportation, and tourism.
Education and sports
In the area of education, all types of learning processes will continue to take place remotely; children’s camps will currently not be organized.
Considering the provisions of epidemiological safety, pre-schools, together with local governments, will have to decide how to organize learning of 5- and 6-year-old children - in person or remotely.
Taking into account the determined physical distancing and epidemiological safety measures, face-to-face consultations will be permitted in order to get prepared for state examinations or professional qualification examinations. Although compulsory examinations for students of grade 9 are cancelled, face-to-face consultations will be allowed for them.
The decision on the course of the study process in military educational institutions will be made by the Minister of Defence, while the decision for educational institutions of the system of internal affairs will be made by the Minister of the Interior.
It will also be possible to organize non-contact sports trainings or classes in person, observing the following conditions:
- no more than 25 people may gather in one training group at the same time;
- indoor training time - three hours, outdoors - an unlimited period of time;
- the class shall be led by a certified coach;
- a mutual distance of two meters has to be observed;
- the areas of different training groups should not physically overlap;
- children under the age of seven do not participate in training;
- instructions of the manager of the sports venue and the coach should be followed;
- other physical distancing and epidemiological safety measures which will be developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Health have to be observed.
Events and gatherings
If it is possible to ensure a distance of two meters and other safety rules set by epidemiologists, indoor and outdoor gatherings of up to 25 persons will be allowed for public and private events, as well as meetings, processions, and pickets. In addition, organized religious activities will also be allowed. In private events at home, the area of the apartment should be taken into account in order not to exceed the proper number of persons, corresponding with the instructions of epidemiologists.
At events where visitors can participate while remaining inside their vehicles, the determined restriction regarding the number of persons will not be applied.
Duration of the course of events outdoors will not be limited; however, the duration of indoor events cannot exceed three hours. The organizer has to ensure compliance with restrictions and the availability of disinfectants.
The working hours of culture, entertainment, sports, and other recreation places will be extended from 7:00 to 24:00.
Public and private sports events, organized in accordance with the Law on Safety of Public Entertainment and Festivity Events, will not be permitted.
The Minister of Environmental Protection and Regional Development will approve measures to ensure social and physical distancing, which must be observed when organizing meetings, processions, and pickets.
In turn, the Minister of Culture will have the right to regulate the procedure according to which the requirements of physical distancing and disinfection should be observed in the activities of cultural institutions such as libraries, museums, and other places.
This is to remind you that in case of failure to observe a distance of two meters, still no more than two persons or persons living in the same household; a parent and his or her minor children, if they do not live in one household; or persons who perform work or official duties may gather at the same time in public indoor premises or outdoors
From now on, all stores will be open in shopping centres during weekends and holidays. The restriction that only grocery stores, press outlets, pharmacies, vaccination offices, optical stores, animal feed stores, dry-cleaner’s, hygiene and household goods stores, and construction and gardening goods stores may operate in shopping centres is cancelled.
The Ministry of Transport will have to prepare measures approved by the Minister of Transport to ensure the epidemiologically safe use of public transport, including providing for an obligation to wear a mouth and nose mask while on public transport.
After 12 May it is permitted to organize tourism services for travelling only in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. 14 days of self-isolation at the place of residence will apply neither to citizens and permanent residents of Latvia, nor to foreigners who have not visited countries other than Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia during the last 14 days.