State of emergency in Latvia officially extended until February 7

The government on Wednesday, December 30 decided to extend the state of emergency in Latvia until February 7, as it had signalled would be the case.

The second state of emergency of the pandemic period, effective in Latvia since November 9, was introduced in Latvia in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. Originally slated to run until January 11, it will now extend until at least February 7, unless the epidemiological situation takes a very positive turn before then.

"Infection with COVID-19 continues to increase in Latvia, with the number of in-patients [being treated for coronavirus symptoms] even exceeding 1,000, as a result of which the provision of other health care services must be increasingly restricted. To limit the spread of the virus, the emergency has been extended until 7 February 2021," a government statement said.

During the state of emergency, people are required to follow social distancing rules and wear facemasks in all indoor settings except their homes, including on public transport. Facemasks are mandatory at workplaces and are strongly advised even in locations where they are not compulsory.

Restrictions have also been imposed on the retail trade to reduce crowding in stores and markets, and the possibility of human transmission of the virus. The restrictions do not apply to online trade.

The number of passengers on public transport must not exceed 50 percent of the vehicle's capacity.

All cultural establishments, such as exhibitions, libraries, fairs, and indoor premises of museums have been closed to visitors.

All beauty care services are also banned during the state of emergency.

People are also strongly encouraged to work from home and employers are required to ensure such an option both in the public and private sector wherever possible.

The current emergency regulations can be read in full in Latvian at this website. We will provide the official English translation when available.

In addition, the government confirmed its curfew or "homesitting" rules for the New Year period, designed to prevent gatherings and celebrations, as previously reported by LSM. Those restrictions come into force tonight at 22:00. From 30 December 2020 to 4 January 2021 and from 8 January to 10 January from 22.00 to 05.00 people must comply with the obligation to be at their place of residence.

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