State of emergency extended until January 11 in Latvia

Following an all-day meeting December 1, Latvia's government announced further emergency measures late Tuesday night as part of its anti- COVID-19 strategy.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņs said: "As we all know the situation with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in Latvia is very serious... We have taken various decisions."

The main things decided are:

  • State of emergency extended until 11 January
  • From December 3, everyone in Latvia must follow the “2+2” principle in their daily routine - two meters, two people. So a distance of two meters must be observed and meetings must be limited to two people. Therefore, private events such as house parties involving more than one household will not be allowed
  • Masks must be worn in all indoor situations in which there is more than one person, excepting your own home, but including your workplace
  • From December 7 school classes 5 and 6 will switch to distance learning
  • From January 4, all school pupils and their teachers will have to wear masks in class
  • In the retail sector, only grocery stores and pharmacies will be allowed to open at weekends and on holidays. Fuel stations will be able to open
  • Manicurists and pedicurists can resume their work subject to special sanitary protocols
  • The State Border Guard will have enhanced immigration measures in place to ascertain if arrivals have filled in the required covidpass.lv form
  • Public transport capacity will have a ceiling of 50% from December 7
  • Organized meetings, pickets and marches may take place, but a maximum of 25 people may attend, subject to epidemiological safety requirements including physical distance of two meters between participants
  • Until January 11, all museums, cultural sites, exhibitions and fairs (including Christmas markets), are suspended.
  • From December 3, shops and service points must provide 15 square meters of space per visitor. Information on the number of people allowed must be clearly visible at the entrance.

Kariņš also repeated his message that facemask usage, limiting personal contact, maintaining social distance and frequent hand washing were keys to overcoming COVID-19.

Earlier in the day, among a large number of other decisions, the government decided to support a proposal by the Ministry of Culture (KM) to reimburse 80% of the value of tickets to all organizers of public events for events canceled and reimbursed to ticket-holders during the COVID-19 emergency.

NOTE: An earlier version of this story said "border controls" would be introduced at state borders. In fact this is not the case. We apologise for the inaccuracy.

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