On Friday, 10 July, in a rapid response to the increase in the spread of the Covid-19 infection, the Cabinet of Ministers decided, during an emergency meeting, to partially renew certain restrictions in order to protect the public from a rapid spread of the infection. The government's decision is that of restricting the flow of visitors in public catering establishments.
At the emergency meeting on 10 July, the government amended Cabinet Regulation No. 360 "Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection" by restoring certain restrictions that had been in force after the end of the state of emergency until 31 August.
Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš remarks: "The virus has given us a serious signal, showing that it is still circulating in Latvia and even more so in the rest of the world. With the recent increase in the morbidity rates in our country, the government is rapidly responding by increasing certain restrictions in order to prevent the wider spread of Covid-19 in a timely manner and, consequently, the need to renew more stringent measures. The responsible involvement of every member of society remains as important as ever in this fight. We must not lose vigilance and we must continue to wash our hands, observe physical distancing rules, avoid crowding, and use the “Apturi Covid” app.”
By assessing the new Covid-19 cases, it has been concluded that there have been three outbreaks this week, all of which have one thing in common - they occurred in public places, such as bars, restaurants, and similar entertainment venues. Consequently, the Ministry of Health suggested to the government to consider increasing certain restrictions in public catering establishments.
The decision of the Cabinet of Ministers stipulates that from 11 July, the previously established working hour restriction for public catering establishments will be renewed, meaning that they may start working no earlier than at 06.30 and must close no later than at 24.00. In order to reduce possible crowding, the condition regarding the number of people at one table has also been restored, meaning that no more than 4 persons are allowed to be at one indoor table and no more than 8 persons at an outdoor one.
Catering establishments must still provide a distance of two metres between tables, as well as an area of at least 3 metres squared of public indoor space per visitor. Catering service providers must also, in a visible place, at least at the entrance, display information on the number of visitors allowed on the premises. This information will also serve as a reference point for the municipal police, allowing them to check that the number of people on the premises complies with the regulations.
At the same time, from 11 July, cultural, sports, entertainment, and religious establishments will be allowed to start working half an hour earlier and thus open their doors to visitors from 6.00 a.m. In turn, the restriction for the end of working hours remains unchanged, instructing to close before 24.00, except for open-air cinema events, which may take place until 2.00 a.m.
The previously set gathering restrictions remain in place. Until 31 July, no more than 100 persons may gather in indoor premises with an area of up to 1000 m2 and no more than 500 persons in larger premises indoors. In turn, no more than 1000 persons may gather outdoors.
Taking the fact that a significant part of Covid-19 cases is related to foreign trips into account, it remains critical to seriously consider the need to leave Latvia. Moreover, after arriving in Latvia from countries where the total number of new Covid-19 cases in the last 14 days is 16 or more, strict self-isolation must be observed.
The responsible actions of every member of society, in accordance with the principles of precaution and safety, are crucial in limiting the spread of Covid-19. Wherever possible, a distance of two metres must be kept and crowded places must be avoided. Particular attention should be paid to proper hand hygiene, room ventilation, and cleaning of common areas and objects.
It is recommended to use mouth and nose coverings in places where it is not possible to keep a two metre distance from others, including on public transport. It is mandatory to use a mouth and nose covering when traveling by public transport to a place of self-isolation after returning from abroad. The use of a mouth and nose covering is also mandatory, if it is requested by private or public service providers or event organisers.
All of the inhabitants are encouraged to get tested for Covid-19 for free, even if they show no symptoms. Testing points are open on weekdays from 8:00 to 20:00, on Saturdays from 9:00 to 15:00, and on Sundays from 9:00 to 12:00. It is possible to arrive to the testing point by private transport, on foot, or by bicycle. Before going to a testing point, it is mandatory to make an appointment by calling 8303.
All of the government decisions, current restrictions, and other information related to the spread of Covid-19 in Latvia, as well as frequently asked questions and answers are available on the www.covid19.gov.lv website or by calling 8345.
The latest amendments to Cabinet of Ministers Regulation No. 360 of 9 June, “Epidemiological Safety Measures for the Containment of the Spread of COVID-19 Infection”, can be viewed here in more detail: http://www.mk.gov.lv/lv/aktualitates/epidemiologiskas-drosibas-pasakumi-covid-19-infekcijas-izplatibas-ierobezosanai-speka
For reference, the epidemiological indicators substantiating the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers:on 07.07.2020 and 08.07.2020 the number of new positive cases reached seven on both days, making a total of 14. Moreover, 13 new cases were confirmed on 09.07.2020 and another 11 on 10.07.2020. In total, 38 new cases were confirmed in the last four days and 41 cases in the last week as of 10.07.2020, the 14-day cumulative Covid-19 morbidity rate in Latvia is 2.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which marks an increase from 06.07.2020 (0.8 cases per 100,000 inhabitants) the proportion of primary positive Covid-19 tests is 0.08% 16% of Covid-19 cases were related to infections that occurred abroad rather than in Latvia (in comparison to 46% on 06.07.2020) on 10.07.2020, there are 3 patients being treated in inpatient facilities in Latvia with a confirmed Covid-19 infection
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