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The Government approves safety measures with the aim of decreasing the spread of Covid-19 by Easter

Last update 18.03.2021

On Friday, 12 March, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a number of improvements in epidemiological safety measures in order to purposefully strengthen the current downward trend in the incidence of Covid-19 by Easter. The scenario approved by the Government is primarily based on the principles of remote work. From next week, in epidemiologically safer municipalities, it will be possible to carry out a small part of educational activities onsite outdoors. Whereas people who, despite the invitation not to travel, arrive to Latvia from third countries will have to test at their own expense and, in case of a positive test, pay for self-isolation in a hotel.

Remote work

From 16 March, only employees whose duties cannot be performed remotely due to the nature of their work and the head of the institution or company has given permission will be allowed to work on site. It is the employer's responsibility to identify those employees who really need to perform on-site duties to ensure business continuity.

Employers are already obliged to provide employees with opportunities for remote work, if the work specifics permit, as well as provide the personal protective equipment necessary for work on site. The employer must also determine who is responsible for implementing Covid-19 containment measures in the team. During an emergency situation, the employer may also unilaterally determine that employee must perform work remotely.

Additional safety requirements for on-site work have been set for state and municipality institutions. For those employees who have been allowed to work on site by the head of the institution, as required by the specifics of the work, it must be ensured that one person is located in the room at the same time. If there is more than one person in the room, an area of at least 15 square meters per person must be provided. If this is not possible, then on-site work should be organized in shifts, for example, employees change on site every other day.

Education

From 16 March, pre-school educational institutions will continue to work, admitting only those children whose parents have to work on site, as well as those whose nature of work makes it impossible to work remotely and provide childcare at the same time. In pre-school education establishments, staff should properly use mouth and nose covering during and outside the learning process.

In order to protect the health of both employees and children, it is planned that the Covid-19 testing will be performed once a week for on-site employees of the pre-school educational institutions. 

In lengthy discussions, the Cabinet of Ministers cautiously decided to allow from 13 March up to five formal education classes and up to two non-formal education classes per week for a one-class group of up to 20 people to be organized on site in municipalities where the 14-day cumulative morbidity rate per 100,000 people does not exceed 250. The duration of one lesson should not exceed 40 minutes.

Public transport

Taking into account the diversity and differences of Latvia's regions, the Cabinet of Ministers agreed that it is not possible to regulate certain requirements for public transport throughout the country and calls on each municipality to evaluate the possibilities to reduce the number of people in it. For example, by increasing the number of trips, changing the ticket discount system, promoting the use of alternative vehicles.

Therefore, the provision that no more than 50% of all possible passengers may be located in a public transport remains in place during an emergency situation. Hence, passengers must follow the markings and instructions when choosing a seat in the public transport cabin.

It was also decided to strengthen the control measures of the State Police and the municipal police. 

Monitoring of visitors, people tested positive for Covid-19, and their contact persons

From 17 March, everyone who arrives in Latvia from an insignificant trip to a third country must take the Covid-19 test at their own expense. If the result is negative, then self-isolation in your place of residence must be observed.

In case of a positive test result, the self-isolation must be spent in one of the tourist accommodations specified by the Latvian Investment and Development Agency and person has to pay for it. If a person does not go to the tourist accommodation voluntarily after receiving a positive test result, then the expenses of the State Police for transporting the person to the hotel will also have to be covered.

People with a mild course of Covid-19 disease, patient contacts, and Covid-19 patients with symptoms after inpatient treatment can take the opportunity to spend self-isolation time in a hotel where most of the costs are covered by the state - up to 80% for accommodation, not exceeding EUR 35, and up to 80% for meals, not exceeding EUR 10.

Source reference

Ministru kabinets

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