Mayor Mihhail Kõlvart sent a letter to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas asking to consider the possibility of easing the COVID-19 restrictions from May 2, so that religious people can celebrate the biggest religious holiday of the year – Ascension Day.
The Mayor acknowledged the efforts of the Estonian Government in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and the gradual easing of restrictions. "We support the approach that first activities are allowed outdoors, which is safer than gathering indoors. Despite the fact that the dynamics of the numbers reflecting the spread of the virus has become more positive, ie the number of infected people is decreasing, we must remain cautious because this number is still relatively large," noted Kõlvart.
According to Kõlvart, when recovering from the pandemic, several other aspects besides the number of infections must be observed, which are reflected in the life of society and the well-being of people. "In addition to physical health, the corona epidemic that has lasted for more than a year has also affected the mental health of the population, which is why many people are emotionally and mentally exhausted," the Mayor stated.
The easing of restrictions proposed by the government from May 3 already offers several opportunities for maintaining mental health: indoor and outdoor sports, indoor museums and exhibitions, considering 2+2 rule and 25% occupancy. Public meetings and services for a maximum of 150 people are also allowed outdoors from 3 May.
However, the Mayor asks the Government of the Republic to consider the possibility of easing the restrictions one day earlier than planned, because on May 2, according to the Orthodox church calendar, one of the biggest religious holidays of the year will be celebrated. Slightly less than 30% of people living in Estonia have some form of religion, 16% of Estonians are Orthodox.
"Faith and religious services provide spiritual respite for many people. At the same time, it would be a symbolic sign of caring and understanding for all members of society, because every Estonian now needs hope and joy,” wrote the Mayor to the Prime Minister. "Quite recently, there was a public debate in the Riigikogu and society on declaring the second day of Easter a national holiday, I support this idea and think it should be broadly discussed.