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State of emergency in Latvia extended until January 11 with further restrictions

BC, Riga, 02.12.2020.Print version
On December 1st, in order to limit the spread of Covid-19, the Cabinet of Ministers in Latvia decided to extend the state of emergency declared in the country until January 11, Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) informed the media on Tuesday night after the government meeting, cites LETA.

With the extension of the emergency situation, the government also decided to impose several new restrictions, but not all which had been initiated by Karins.

Stricter safety will be introduced in the field of education, ie the face-to-face learning process will only take place in kindergartens and from grades one to four. Schools will need to provide three square meters of space per pupil. From December 3, those working in kindergartens must wear face masks at all times. From January 4, masks must be worn in schools both during lessons and outside the learning process for both students and teachers.

To curb Covid-19, the government decided to impose an obligation to wear face masks indoors except at home, so they will also have to be worn by job collectives as well. According to the Minister of Health Ilze Vinkele (For Development), it is clear that a face mask does not have to be worn at work by an employee who is alone at the office, but only while he or she is there alone. Karins informed that in the office canteens will only be allowed to serve food only for takeaway.

Businesses or building owners will need to ensure that a person who does not use or use a face covering in an inappropriate manner without covering his or her nose and mouth is not allowed indoors and services are not provided to such persons.

From now on, everyone will have to wear a face mask on public transport and outside the home in spaces with more than one person. Face masks may not be worn by children under the age of seven and people who cannot use them due to health reasons.

It was previously stipulated that face masks may not be worn by children under the age of 13, but this age has now been lowered. Children between the ages of seven and 13 will have to start using mouth and nose coverings on public transport from December 7.

Restrictions on gatherings have also been set, namely, from December 3, everyone in Latvia will have to follow the "2 + 2" principle in their daily routine - so the distance of two meters must be observed and meetings must be limited to two people.

Karins emphasized that private events and gatherings are prohibited, except for events within one household.

The government decision stipulates that if it is necessary to provide personal care or if a person lives in a household alone, visits are allowed, but not more than between two households.

Until January 11, all cultural venues, exhibitions, as well as fairs, including Christmas markets, will be closed. Libraries will be able to hand out books only for pick-up.

At funerals and baptisms are to be held with no more than ten people, and no more than from two households, and these must be held outdoors using mouth and nose coverings. In the meantime, no more than 20 percent of the maximum number of people may be present at religious sites at any one time.

During the state emergency, organized meetings, pickets and marches will be allowed, but no more than 25 people will be able to gather, observing the epidemiological safety requirements - a physical distance of two meters and observing the requirements set by the organizer.

In order to protect people in public transport, from December 7 the number of passengers cannot exceed 50 percent of the vehicle capacity. If it is not possible to control the embarkation and disembarkation of passengers, the vehicle must be provided with instructions on the use of seats, ensuring physical separation.

Karins explained to journalists that the restrictions will come into force on different dates in order to be able to better prepared for them.

As reported, the current state of emergency has been in force in Latvia since November 6.

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