Estonia confirms lifting of border restrictions

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The Estonian government has confirmed that next week it will remove border restrictions for Latvian residents, restoring free movement.

"The Government of the Republic decided that the restrictions for border crossings between Estonia and Finland will be eased as of the second half of next week, and that free movement of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian residents and people legally residing in these countries will resume," said an official statement.

"With the order of the person in charge of the emergency situation, Prime Minister Jüri Ratas, the restriction will ease as of May 14. The restrictions in place required the people coming from Finland to Estonia to remain in self-isolation for 14 days after crossing the border. People who lived in Estonia but worked in Finland could only travel to Estonia once a week without having to observe the 14-day self-isolation requirement, but as of next Thursday, they can travel between Estonia and Finland more frequently," the statement said

The 14 day self-isolation requirement does not apply to Latvian and Lithuanian residents.

"The free movement of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian residents and people legally residing in these countries will resume within a week, on May 15th. As of that date, the temporary border control and surveillance of the state borders at the border between Estonia and Latvia will cease, and people from Latvia and Lithuania will no longer have to stay at home for 14 days when arriving to Estonia, unless they have arrived from outside the Baltic States. The opening of borders and the conditions associated with free movement of persons legally staying in the Baltic States will be specified in the joint agreement between Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the near future," the statement said.

At the same time, people crossing the border must continue to comply with the orders issued to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, such as the requirement to wear a mask, or the 2-by-2 rule, which allows up to two people to be in a public place together, maintaining a distance of at least two meters from everybody else. Since the orders may vary from country to country, the relevant information will be made available specifically to people crossing the state borders.

In order to limit the spread of coronavirus, temporary restrictions on entry into Estonia have been valid since 16 March.

As previously reported by LSM, the three Baltic states have agreed to create a single space as a first step towards the restoration of free movement in the European Union.

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