Most Covid-19 restrictions lifted in Latvia

April 1 brings significant changes to the epidemiological measures in force in Latvia to counter the spread of the coronavirus. 

Epidemiological data show that the incidence of Covid-19 in all age groups continues to decline and that the incidence rate in Latvia is currently slightly lower than the EU average. There is also a continuing decline in the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals and no restrictions on inpatient care.

Technically speaking, the state of medical emergency announced since October 7 last year will be lifted, following a decision by the meeting of the State Operational Medical Commission.

In practical terms it means several changes to the requirements in place as people go about their daily lives:

  • Travel: When entering Latvia from the European Union, European Economic Area countries and Great Britain, you will not need to present Covid-19 certificates or Covid-19 tests. The need to present a certificate or a negative Covid-19 test prior to entry will be maintained when entering from other third countries.

  • Masks: Medical masks or FFP2 respirators should continue to be used in medical and social care facilities after April 1, both for visitors and staff. Medical masks or FFP2 respirators without a valve should continue to be used in public transport, except for taxis and other commercial passenger transport. In other places, the use of masks is not required, though responsible employers and administrators have the right to insist on their use if they choose to do so.

  • Work: Persons who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 will be able to perform their duties in person. At the same time, the employer will retain the right to organize the performance of work duties in the company or institution only for persons with a valid Covid-19 vaccination or disease certificate. In medical facilities and prisons, employees who have direct contact with clients will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19. In educational establishments, staff who have direct contact with learners will need a Covid-19 vaccination or disease certificate before the end of this school year.

  • Quarantine: From April 1, only those working in medical and social care facilities will retain the need to undergo quarantine after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case, or perform Covid-19 testing prior to commencing work. Others will not have this safety measure, but will need to wear FFP2 respirators for a week after being identified as a contact person.

  • Testing: From April 1, state-funded antigen tests will be more widely used to detect Covid-19.. State-paid PCR tests will only be performed after a doctor's appointment in cases where there is an increased risk or the test result affects a course of treatment (seniors, before surgery or hospitalization, health and social care workers). Citizens remain free to take self-paid PCR tests. Screening tests to prevent large-scale outbreaks in a timely manner will continue in medical institutions, social care facilities, prisons and special education institutions.

You can read more about the latest epidemiological safety measures here (in Latvian). The main portal for Covid-related information remains: https://covid19.gov.lv/en, which is where the table below comes from, presenting the April 1 rule changes.

 

General safety measures - Everyone complies with the safety requirements of the specific place!
- Those infected with Covid-19 must comply with the isolation provisions!
- It is recommended to ventilate the premises, to ensure the availability of disinfectants.
Masks Medical masks or FFP2 respirators must be used:
- In medical institutions,
- In social care institutions,
- On public transport.
Children under 7 years of age and persons with obvious movement and mental health problems may not wear masks or respirators in the areas listed above.
Children under the age of 18 can use cloth face masks on public transport.
Service providers and employers have the right to determine the need to use medical masks or FFP2 respirators when assessing risks.
Work

- Persons without a vaccination or recovery certificate can perform the work on-site.
- The following persons must have a primary vaccination or recovery certificate:
    - Employees of medical institutions in direct contact with patients,
    - Employees of educational institutions in direct contact with learners.
- Employers only have the right, when assessing risks, to organise on-site work with a vaccination or recovery certificate, as well as to set other safety requirements, such as the use of masks or respirators, maintaining distance, gathering restrictions, testing, etc.
- Remote work is recommended.

Pre-school education, kindergartens - Employees in the educational process must have a primary vaccination or recovery certificate.
- Service providers, who provide day-to-day services in the educational institution and come into contact with learners, must have a primary vaccination or recovery certificate.
- The use of masks for employees may be determined by the head of educational institutions in agreement with the founder.
Primary and secondary education - Employees in the educational process must have a primary vaccination or recovery certificate.
- Service providers, who provide day-to-day services in the educational institution and come into contact with learners, must have a primary vaccination or recovery certificate.
- The use of masks may be determined by the head of educational institution in agreement with the founder.
- Testing is only performed in separate cases, such as if there are symptoms of the disease or if there is contact in the household with a Covid-19-infected person.
- The educational process can be carried out remotely if the infection spreads in the educational institution. 
Colleges and universities - Employees involved in the study process must have a vaccination or recovery certificate.
- The use of masks may be determined by the head of the educational institution in agreement with the founder.
- The study process can be carried out remotely if the infection spreads in the educational institution.
Sport - Sports service providers and event organisers (in cooperation with sports federations) have the right to set epidemiological safety requirements when assessing risks. 
Shopping and services - All points of sale are open to everyone without space restrictions or other safety requirements.
- All services are available to everyone without additional safety requirements.
- The service provider may decide on additional safety requirements.
Public transport

- In public transport medical masks or FFP2 respirators must be used.
- The driver of the vehicle may not use a mask or respirator, if located in a cab completely separate from the passengers.
- Cabin is regularly ventilated, surfaces disinfected.
- Masks and respirators may not be used in taxis.
- Children under the age of 18 can use cloth face masks on public transport.

Culture, events, gatherings - All cultural sites are accessible to everyone without space restrictions and other safety requirements.
- There are no restrictions on organising events.
- There are no restrictions on the number of people gathering.
- Event organisers and service providers have the right to set epidemiological safety requirements when assessing risks.
Travelling
Entering Latvia - A vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative Covid-19 test is only required if the person enters Latvia from a particularly high-risk country. Information on particularly high-risk countries is published by the SPKC.
Travelling to other countries - Find out about the epidemiological safety requirements in the specific country before going abroad!

 

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