Grocery stores, shopping centres, restaurants

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Yes, tobacco stores have to be closed. The only stores that may be open are grocery stores, pharmacies, stores selling aid equipment and medical devices, the sales points of the representations of telecommunications companies, optics stores, pet stores, and filling stations.

Last updated: 23.03.2021 11:19

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From March 11, 2021 to April 25, 2021, catering establishments may only be open to sell food as takeaway or to provide delivery and transportation services.

Last updated: 01.04.2021 11:18

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The persons responsible must ensure that the sales premises of the shop, the service premises of the service provider or the public space of the trading establishment allows the use of no more than 25% or 50% of the available capacity, and the so-called 2+2 rule is complied with while observing this 25% or 50% occupancy rule.

Thus, 25% or 50% of the floor space available for the public use must first be calculated, and since customers must also follow the 2+ 2 rule, this 25% or 50% must be divided by 4 to give each customer 4m2 of space.

Example:

  • with the 25% occupancy requirement applying, the maximum number of people in the sales area of the store with a 100m2 floor space is 100/4/4 = 6.25 people.

  • With the 50% occupancy requirement applying, the maximum number of people in the sales area of the store with a 100m2 floor space is 100/2/4 = 12.5 people.

All people present in the room are considered to be part of the occupancy.

Where possible, customers should be informed of the maximum number of customers allowed by posting a note at the door of the premises.

More detailed requirements for the size of groups of people by different places can be found here: https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/506032021001/consolide

  • When calculating the floor area available for public use, the total floor area of the sales premises, service premises or public space is calculated as a total area including the area covered by various furnishings and equipment.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:37

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Yes, it is compulsory to wear a mask when in a public indoor space. Masks can be defined as personal protective equipment (including visors), medical masks, as well as facial covers sold commonly in stores (incl. reusable masks or self-made masks). The obligation to wear a mask does not apply to children under 12 years of age and if wearing a mask is not possible for health reasons (e.g. respiratory difficulties, certain mental disorders, allergies), special needs or disabilities.

The mask does not have to be used by people with special needs. The mask also does not have to be used by a person accompanying a person with a hearing disability or a person who needs to read from lips to communicate, read facial expressions, who needs a clear speech, etc. if using a mask makes it difficult to read from the lips.

There is no need to prove the medical indications or other special needs, including the fact that the mask cannot be used by a certificate or a document. It is sufficient that person states that they have contraindications to mask wearing.

Last updated: 04.01.2021 17:34

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The household goods' areas and other such areas that are not meant for selling groceries and are separate (e.g. on the second floor, in another sales room etc.) must be closed.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:36

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The 2 + 2 rule means that up to two people can move around together, keeping a distance of at least two meters with others.

Starting from March 11, 2021, the 2 + 2 rule applies to all public indoor spaces and to staying and moving around in public outdoor spaces. A public indoor space is a space intended for public use that can be entered by anyone, regardless of, for example, a requirement to pre-register; it is a place where a lot of people move around who do not come into contact with each other on a daily basis. Public indoor spaces include, for example, a store, a shopping centre, public transport, an entertainment establishment, a bank office, a museum, an exhibition, a beauty and hairdressing salon, etc.

The 2 + 2 rule does not apply:

  • to families out together as a group,
  • to the employees of stores or shopping centres.
  • if these conditions cannot be reasonably applied.

Keeping a distance allows people to protect themselves and their loved ones from infection and limit the spread of the disease in Estonia.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:12

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  • if you have been in a public space, such as a food store, put your used mask, gloves, tissues and other items which might be a potential source of contamination, into a separate plastic bag, close the bag firmly, so it would not pose danger to the others. Some stores have separate disposal units for the disposal of personal protective equipment. If there are no special units, dispose of your used personal protection equipment as general household waste.

  • the used personal protective equipment must not be placed in the rubbish bin in a way that would allow access to these items for other persons, such as people searching through the rubbish who might get infected this way. The used personal protective equipment or other waste must not be thrown anywhere else outside the store nor in any green areas.

Last updated: 03.04.2020 13:05

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The following principles should be observed when delivering food at home:

  • Make sure you are healthy and feel good.
  • Sanitise or wash your hands before and after shopping.
  • Products that need to be stored in a refrigerator or freezer will need to be delivered to the client as soon as possible, so they would not get too warm or thaw.
  • Buy goods from the nearest store so that the delivery would not take too much time.
  • Do not damage or break the product packaging.
  • Hand over the goods without coming into contact with the clients.
  • When handing over the food, keep a minimum difference of 2 metres distance.

Last updated: 13.04.2020 23:06

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If possible, it has been recommended to avoid using cash. Coronavirus can survive on contaminated metal, plastic and stainless-steel surfaces for up to 72 hours, on porous materials such as paper and cardboard for up to 24 hours. If you need to use cash, you should pay close attention to hygiene and wash your hands.

We recommend making payments:

  • preferably contactless payment (temporary limit is EUR 50) or
  • bank card, as usual.

Last updated: 09.04.2020 08:50

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Companies are obligated to see to it that neither employees nor clients have symptoms of illness. If a person refuses to leave, call security or the police.

Last updated: 13.04.2020 12:29

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  • Monitor the health of your staff.

  • Send employees with symptoms home for 10 days.

  • Any member of staff who has come into contact with an infected person must monitor their own health, and if symptoms appear, they should remain at home for 10 days and follow the self-isolation guidelines.

  • Monitor cleanliness and the correct use of personal protective equipment.

  • Arrange for your staff a possibility to wash their hands at least once every two hours (with soap and water for at least 20 seconds). If it is not possible to wash hands, they should disinfect their hands with antiseptic handwash with a minimum 70% ethanol content. Hands that are visibly dirty must certainly be washed.

  • Recommend that staff who come into contact with customers wear rubber gloves as well as textile gloves. Hands should be disinfected before gloves are put on and after they are taken off.

Please note! Single-use gloves should not be washed or disinfected. They should be removed when leaving the cash register: pinch the material of the other glove from the section of the glove between the palm and the wrist; pull the glove off so that it turns inside out (with the contaminated side inside). Then the gloves should be disposed into a bag which can be sealed.

  • When wearing protective masks, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maximum usage time.

  • Single use masks can only be used once. Washing can damage the material of the mask and reduce the effectiveness of the mask.

  • Work garments, (including textile gloves) should be washed after every shift, at the highest temperature allowed for the material. Work footwear should also be cleaned after every shift.

Adjust the work arrangements.

  • The employees have to maintain at least a 2-metre distance with the customers.

  • Minimise contact with the customers for these members of the staff who belong to risk groups, (particularly older employees or those with chronic illnesses or immune-compromised) persons.

  • If possible, arrange work in single shift, or organise the handing over of the shift so that the employees of different shifts would not come into contact with each other.

Guidelines and instructions:

Print-out materials and guidelines of the Health Board

More information can be found on the website of the Agriculture and Food Board ( January 1, 2021, the Veterinary and Food Board was merged with Agriculture Board as Agriculture and Food Board.).

Recommendations of the Agriculture and Food Board to food business operators (January 1, 2021, the Veterinary and Food Board was merged with Agriculture Board as Agriculture and Food Board).

Recommendations of the Labour Inspectorate to employees and employers

Last updated: 08.04.2021 16:08

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From March 11, 2021 to April 25, 2021, restaurants may only remain open to sell food for takeaway or offering delivery and transport service. The restriction is not applied to the owner of the catering establishment or her representative, the employees, persons providing emergency services and persons necessary for operating the facility.

This means that it is not allowed to offer breakfast in the service areas of a hotel over weekends. Only takeaway is allowed, which also covers room service delivered to the rooms.

Last updated: 01.04.2021 11:19

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The issuing of goods can be organised through a point of issue. For instance, a drive-in sales point can be established on the parking lot of a shopping centre. The drive-in service is a contact free and quick way to receive the goods that have been ordered from the e-store. Usually, the store notifies the customer when her order has been assembled and then the customer can drive to the suitable drive-in sales point where the goods will be delivered to her contact free. The drive-in areas or sales points are usually located near the stores or on the parking lot, upon agreement with the shopping centre.

The goods can also be issued through a front door or a window/hatch (the client is not indoors) if the store in the conditions to do that. Outdoor sale of goods on a sales area adapted for this is also allowed. If goods are issued in these ways, it must be ensured that customers are spread out (e.g. 2-metre distances have been marked down for the line to the point of issue).

Last updated: 10.03.2021 11:03

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Private enterprises have every right to enact the rules of conduct necessary to ensure the safety of themselves and others in their own territory. If these enacted rules are not followed, the security personnel of the shopping centre have the right to restrict the rule breakers' movement in the centre and escort the people who do not adhere to the rules out of the centre. If necessary, the security personnel can also involve the police.

There is an obligation to wear a mask or cover your nose and mouth currently in force in public indoor spaces in Estonia. A public indoor space is a space designated for public use, populated with many people who are not in everyday contact with each other. The obligation to wear a mask does not extend to children under the age of 12 and people who cannot do it for health reasons.

Last updated: 09.03.2021 13:16

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According to the current practice, a grocery store is considered to be a store where groceries constitute the majority of goods sold and the sale of groceries constitutes the majority of the turnover. Thus, customers are allowed to be and move around in stores where food constitutes the majority of goods and where people go to buy the groceries necessary for everyday life (milk, bread, white bread, dry goods, meat products etc.). The surplus sales centres and other similar stores where most of the goods are beauty products and construction goods, household goods etc. but which also sell groceries that have a long sell by date, like additives, vitamins, chocolate, soft drinks, dry goods, do not qualify as grocery stores.

The surplus sales centres do not need to remain closed. According to the order, it is not allowed to enter indoor facilities. Selling and issuing goods is only allowed in an outdoor sales or issuing point of the store or at a roofed parking area. This means that it is allowed to organise for the goods to be received from an issuing point, for instance. The customer may not enter the indoor premises of the store to receive goods. This means that the external borders of the building are taken as a basis and it is also allowed to issue goods through the front door if the door opens to the street. It is also possible to create a single area for the whole centre in a roofed parking area where issuing can be organised as a so-called drive-in point, if necessary. If goods are issued in these ways, it must be ensured that the customers are spread out (e.g. 2-metre distances are marked down in the line to the issuing point).

Last updated: 11.03.2021 21:21

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If most of the grocery store's turnover came from selling food and drinks, and the store also sells manufactured goods such as clothes, cosmetics or other goods, these kinds of grocery stores may remain open even if the assortment is displayed on two different floors.

Last updated: 23.03.2021 11:20

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Starting from March 11, 2021 it is prohibited for the customers to be in a public indoor space of a commercial enterprise, except if it is necessary for entering a grocery store, or other store selling essential goods that may remain open.

Goods may be sold and issued only at an outdoor sales or issuing area of a store, or in a roofed parking area of a shopping centre. This means that it is, for instance, allowed to organise the receipt of goods from a point of issue. The customers may not enter the indoor facilities of a store to receive goods. This means that the external borders of the building are taken as a basis and it is also allowed to issue goods through the front door if the door opens to the street.

Thus the sore may not issue their goods from the door of the store if the door opens to a public indoor space of a shopping centre (hallway) but must issue the goods to the customers through the front door of the building.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:36

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The service points of the service providers referred to in the order of the Government of the Republic are, for instance, post offices, parcel terminals, bank offices, beauty and hair salons, shoe and watch repair shops, bicycle repair shops, car repair shops, tire change points etc. that are not subject to the requirements set to the sales areas of stores. The mobile phone stores that offer mobile phone and computer repair services are also service providers.

Stores where different services are integrated, e.g. a flower store that also offers packaging service, are not considered a service provider in the meaning of the order of the Government. In that case the facility may only offer packaging service. If the entrepreneur has defined itself as solely a service provider (e.g. hairdresser, watchmaker, cobbler) before these restrictions, he may continue to provide the service. It should also be seen what the main source of turnover is for the enterprise and define itself accordingly.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:36

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Upon agreement with the holder (e.g. the owner of the shopping centre), the temporary stalls selling foodstuffs (e.g. berry stalls etc.) are also allowed indoors but it must be ensured that people are spread out in the sales area.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:37

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The restrictions are in force for at least one month, or from March 11 to April 25.

The restrictions will be eased when the spread of the coronavirus in Estonia has been reduced to a level that does not endanger the ability of the medical system to operate.

Last updated: 01.04.2021 11:13

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According to the current practice, a grocery store is considered to be a store where groceries constitute the majority of goods sold and the sale of groceries constitutes the majority of the turnover. This includes the stores that specialise in selling only one food group, e.g. cheese stores, candy stores, meat and fish stores. Thus, customers are allowed to be and move around in stores where food constitutes the majority of goods and where people go to buy the staple groceries necessary for everyday life (milk, bread, white bread, dry goods, fruits and vegetables, meat products etc.). Coffee and tea stores may also remain open.

Beauty product and construction stores, surplus sales centres etc. where most products are beauty products and construction goods, gardening goods, household goods etc, but which also sell groceries that have a long sell by date, like additives, vitamins, chocolate, soft drinks, dry goods, do not qualify as grocery stores. Daily food is an essential good. In trying to establish whether a store qualifies as a grocery store, the criteria should be the range of goods or what kind of groceries the particular store sells, and how big the selection of goods is.

Last updated: 17.03.2021 13:50

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Yes, outdoor markets can be open. It must be ensured that disinfectants are available and that the customers are spread out.

Last updated: 12.03.2021 13:38

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More information about the coronavirus and restrictions related to it is available calling 1247 (from abroad +372 600 1247).