Latvia's lockdown: what are the rules?

Thr Latvian government on October 20 confirmed a nearly month-long lockdown or 'house sitting' that will apply across the country to vaccinated and unvaccinated persons alike. Below is a rundown of the main restrictions and rules.

What days is it in force?
Lockdown starts 00:00 October 21 and ends at 00:00 November 15. So that's October 21-November 14 inclusive, which explains why some people have been referring to November 14 and others to November 15 as the end date.

What hours is the curfew in force?
People must be at their registered place of residence from 20:00 until 05:00 unless they have a good reason to travel outside these hours. These reasons include travelling to and from work, and necessary medical or psychological treatment, veterinary treatment or visiting a pharmacy. If outside during these hours you need to carry identification and, if applicable, a self-certification form stating the reason for breaking curfew.

Can I go to the movies, the theater, a concert, a sports match... ?
No. These and other forms of live entertainment will not be taking place during the period of lockdown. Basically, nearly all social activity will be put on hold in an effort to reduce direct contact between people. Only people from within a single household can meet up, so in effect private functions are not allowed. Only professional sports matches and contests will be permitted, and those will be without spectators.

If it is necessary to provide personal care to a person who lives alone, visits are allowed, but not more than within two households. Meetings of minors and parents are also permitted if the children and parents are not members of the same household.

Can I go out for a meal?
Catering establishments can work, but can only serve takeaways, not sit-down meals.

What stores will be open?
Principally only stores selling what are classed as essential goods (groceries, pharmacies, pet products, opticians, printed materials, fuel stations, florists, car repair shops, rail and bus stations, accommodation establishments, food delivery establishments).

Pharmacies and fuel stations will be able to open around the clock. Other stores can only operate from 06:00 until 19:00. Online shopping and delivery is permitted.

Will schools be open?
Not until next month. Schools will have the current holidays extended until the end of October. After that, it is planned that 1-3 grade pupils will be able to return to school but older pupils will have two weeks of distance learning with a decision on the future model made during that period. However, during lockdown kindergartens will be able to open for the children of essential workers.

Can I go to a funeral?
Funerals can be attended by up to 20 people.

Can I go to church?
You can go to church, but only on an individual basis i.e. there will be no organized services.

Will public transport run during lockdown?
It will, but capacity will be limited to 50% of available seats on urban and suburban routes, and 80% on regional routes to ensure physical spacing.

Will there be support for businesses forced to do nothing during this period?
The government says there will be support, though the details are due to be worked out only next week on October 26. The material presented so far by the Finance Ministry states that a maximum of 152 million euros per month will be needed to support working capital grants and salary subsidies in crisis conditions.

What happens November 15?
Latvia returns to the current 'Green zone' arrangements with one notable change: employees and officials of state-owned and municipal institutions (including capital companies) can perform their work duties from November 15 only if they have a Covid-19 vaccination or disease certificate.

Could there be another lockdown straight after?
It is possible, but will depend upon the epidemiological situation and, equally, how many more people have been vaccinated in the interim. The government insists the only real way out of this situation is to get a significantly increased proportion of the population vaccinated and is urging members of the public to tell the unvaccinated to step forward for a jab.

I want to protest! Can I?
Unfortunately not. Pickets, rallies and group meetings are not permitted. Naturally you can protest online or in letter format as much as you want.

Where can I find out more?
The official state website for Covid-19 information is https://covid19.gov.lv/. It includes Latvian, Russian and English language information but bear in mind it often takes several days for information to be updated. There is also the government website at https://www.mk.gov.lv/en but this too does not always carry the same information as the Latvian site. We will do our best to keep you abreast of developments at LSM.

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