The ongoing situation of global pandemic has forced cities around the world to look for creative ways to adjust. At times, hard times can be easier if one can share ideas and experiences with others. Within the network of the URBACT On Board project, Poznan and Tallinn exchanged information on practices and restrictions concerning COVID-19.
Joanna Kempa, representative of Poznan, asked Katrin Parve from Tallinn Education Department about the crisis measures in Tallinn. For the sake of sharing best practises, we hereby publish the online Q&A between two partner cities of the URBACT project:
Is it mandatory to wear masks - in what places, circumstances?
It is not mandatory, but it is recommended. There is an all-Estonian press conference every day at 12 noon, and today the topic of face masks was discussed there. It is discussed that at the end of the emergency, the wearing of a mask in enclosed spaces will be made mandatory (shopping centers, etc.). Masks must be bought by all people. The government will not share them.
Are there restrictions on meetings/gathereing? How many people can you meet?
All events and gatherings are prohibited. People have also been asked to postpone the celebration of birthdays and other anniversaries.
We are allowed to walk outside 2 people at a time and have to keep a distance of 2 meters. This does not apply to members of the same family.
Are schools. kindergartens, universities closed (if there is a plan to return to classes, when is it planned)?
Schools and universities are closed from 16.03. Kindergartens are open, but generally have very few children. Mostly children of medical staff or other frontline workers. Many graduation conditions have been changed by law and many exams are dropped. The possibility that from 15.05. smaller consultations with up to 10 students can be started in schools. Tallinn has made a separate decision that we do not allow 10 students to be convened. If the situation allows, one-on-one meetings will be allowed, but this has not yet been decided.
Are restaurants open (or only delivery)?
Most restaurants only serve take-away orders. Terraces are open in some places – with 2 m distance. Inside, there is an obligation to provide customers with a distance of 2 m and it is mostly not used - it is not served on site. All restaurants must be closed no later than 22:00.
Are cinemas and theaters open?
All theaters and cinemas are closed from 16.03. Sports clubs, spas, nightclubs and other entertainment establishments are closed from 27.03.
Are service points open?
Part-time post offices are open from the service points and some libraries have a book exchange system. You can pre-order books and then there will be a contactless exchange.
Is there a deadline for opening stores, restaurants, hotels already set?
No dates have been set. There is a wait-and-see attitude. Estonian State Government does have an exit plan, which you can find here (in English): https://www.kriis.ee/en/news/covid-19-crisis-exit-strategy-plan-was-published-government-committee.
Situations that may need to be addressed have been described. For example, children's camps for up to 15 students from June, probably some sort of sports events without spectators etc.
Is there access to parks, recreational areas in the open air without restrictions (if with restrictions what kind?)
Most public places are open, but the 2 + 2 rule must be followed. This means that there must not be more than 2 people at a time and a minimum distance of 2 m must be observed in passing each other.
Does the city bike system work (if it works in a given city)?
We do not have a separate city bicycle system. However, there are statistics that the activity of using bicycle parking lots has decreased in the city center and increased in the suburbs. Tallinn plans to expand the network of bicycle paths as a matter of urgency in order to enable people to move more safely.
How does public transport work?
Public transportation is still working and no changes were made in the timetables to ensure consistant and safe transport service. Longer bellows buses were scheduled to rush hours.
Diarist: Kati Niin (Tallinn Education Department)
Title: The ULG of Tallinn selected collaborative projects at the seminar