Latvia plans exemptions for vaccinated people

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The risk of getting Covid-19 for vaccinated people and those who have had the virus is low enough to allow them exemptions from some safety rules. These proposals prepared by the Ministry of Health, together with other ministries, will be decided by the Cabinet on Thursday, May 27.

What changes are intended for vaccinated people and former Covid-19 patients?

Health Ministry (VM) offers to allow the individual provision of all kinds of beauty services, sports rentals and photo services, as well as personal business services related to entertainment and well-being, starting June 1, if the service provider has been vaccinated. This means that only the service provider and one customer or one household are in the room. In this case, customers do not have to be vaccinated.

As of June 15, people who have vaccinated against or overcome Covid-19 are expected to be able to participate in public events, visit cafes, cinema, theaters, concerts, clubs and receive other similar services without wearing face masks and ignoring a 2-meter distance. In order to provide such services, all staff must also be vaccinated or overcome Covid-19.

Similarly, people who will be vaccinated against or overcome Covid-19 could visit sports clubs as of June 15, both by training individually and by attending group classes. The room should not contain unvaccinated people or people who have not had Covid-19 in the last half-year.

What should be taken into account by vaccinated parents?

In order to allow event visits to families with children who are not currently being vaccinated, exceptions to family events are planned. In such cases, the child will need a negative Covid-19 test over the past 48 hours or a negative Covid-19 antigen test carried out in the last 6 hours.

On the other hand, the event will have to meet certain requirements, such as personalized seating positions, all face masks and a 2-meter distance from others. The duration of the measure and the number of people allowed will also be determined.

Accordingly, there will be up to 300 people in such events with the presence of children and the event will take up to four hours, while up to 500 people will be allowed to gather outdoors and the duration of the event will not be limited. Such requirements are made because children will not be protected from Covid-19, and children can, even without symptoms, pass the virus on to others, for example by returning home to grandparents who are the largest risk group.

The government has yet to decide on the planned changes.

What are the exceptions right now?

Currently people who have been vaccinated or had Covid-19 may gather in groups up to 20 in the workplace and during collective rehearsals or sports classes without wearing face masks and not observing distance. They also do not have to perform Covid-19 routine screening tests at work.

If there has been contact with Covid-19, home quarantine may be avoided (Covid-19 test should be performed within a week). Self-isolation does not have to be observed when returning to Latvia from the European Union or the European Economic Area State or the Swiss Confederation, as well as the United Kingdom.

How to check the fact of vaccination or illness?

As of June 1, it will be possible to obtain, electronically, a digital certificate at the website attesting to the fact of vaccination or having had Covid-19.

Consequently, service providers will also be able to verify the status through a special application with a QR code reader.

As from 15 June, the domestic system for verifying will be part of the common European digital green certificate system.

Who will be able to take advantage of the changes introduced?

The planned changes will apply to vaccinated people two weeks after completion of the full vaccination course or three weeks after receiving the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine (after 90 days the second dose should be given), as well as to people who have had Covid-19 during the last half-year.

However, in order to avoid self-isolation, the person should also receive a second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine and wait for two weeks from that moment.

If a person does not have the possibility to obtain a certificate electronically, it will be issued in paper form by a medical treatment institution or one of the centers of the single State and local government customer service network.

All these changes have yet to be decided by the government, which is planned to be done May 27.

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