The Government conceptually agrees to allow the operation of small shops and the safe provision of hairdressing, manicure, and pedicure services
Last update 24.02.2021
On Tuesday, 23 February, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a decision on the conditions for a gradual transition to the safe provision of services in the beauty care sector, on the resuming of operation of small shops, subject to epidemiological safety measures, as well as on changes in other areas.
Taking into account that the morbidity rates in Latvia are still very high, the transition to a safe social life model is planned in a very gradual way, carefully considering all related decisions and aligning the potential risks with the possible benefits. We remind you that among the EU countries, Latvia has the sixth highest 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Additional provisions introduced for full-time studies for 1st-4th grade students in municipalities
As mentioned before, from 22 February, students of grades 1-4 will resume full-time studies in municipalities with a cumulative two-week morbidity of less than 200 new cases per 100,000 people.
The decision on full-time education for each subsequent week must be reviewed every Wednesday, as the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (SPKC) then provides up-to-date information on morbidity rates in municipalities.
At the extraordinary sitting on 23 February, the Cabinet of Ministers approved additional criteria according to which the SPKC will be entitled to determine the local governments whose educational institutions located in the respective administrative territories may conduct full-time studies for grades 1-4 also in cases when the cumulative rate exceeds 200 cases, but is not higher than 220. Additional criteria state that the assessment of the two-week cumulative rate takes into account whether it has been affected by an outbreak in one closed group that significantly influences the overall morbidity rate but does not objectively reflect a significant risk of Covid-19 spread in the municipality as a whole. The opposite scenario must also be taken into account for the two-week cumulative rate: the incidence rate is below 200 new cases per 100,000 people, but a rapid upward trend of increased morbidity is observed. In this case, full-time studies for the students of grades 1-4 will not be allowed in the respective municipality. The decision to resume full-time education will be based on information provided by the SPKC, based on data analysis and an epidemiological risk assessment.
Gradual transition to beauty care services in an environment of increased safety
During the government meeting, it was decided that further the services of hairdressers, manicures, pedicures, and podiatrists would gradually become available again, scrupulously following the set of precautionary measures. Service providers must report their activities to the Health Inspectorate.
One of the most important indicators for future safety measures is the area of 25 m2 per visitor. If the available area is smaller, there is only one service provider and one service recipient located at the place of service provision. On the other hand, if the area available to each customer is more than 25 m2, there may be several workplaces at the place of service, but they must be in separate rooms or with a distance of two meters and a protective barrier between them.
A number of conditions must also be met in the organisation of services - certain time intervals between clients, regular ventilation of the premises, and introduction of a registration system in which clients and their contact information are registered, so that in case of an infection with Covid-19 the responsible authorities could inform the possible contact persons in an operational manner.
When implementing those measures, each service provider shall also designate a person to organise those measures and be responsible for their compliance. This person shall also ensure that information on epidemiological safety requirements (not only in Latvian, but also in English and Russian) is placed in a visible place at the entrance and that a hand disinfectant containing at least 70% ethanol is available.
In order to ensure the control of the fulfilment of the mentioned requirements, the State and Municipal Police will be involved, who will monitor the situation at the places of provision of services.
The introduction of essential safety measures is intended to allow small shops to operate
The government also conceptually agreed to continue working on trade matter, including the so-called small shops (up to 300 m2) in the secure trade model and allowing them to sell the full range of goods. The Government has yet to discuss the date from which to allow small shops to operate. The Ministry of Economics must develop a more specific regulation before the Government meeting on 25 February, because today the Cabinet of Ministers had only a discussion on this issue.
Changes to funeral ceremonies and the work of photographers
The Cabinet of Ministers also decided that further the funeral ceremonies will be allowed also indoors. At the same time, all previous conditions will be maintained, i.e., no more than 10 people are allowed to gather at a funeral at the same time (excluding persons directly involved in the provision of the funeral), but they may come from more than two households. At least 10 m2 of the room area is provided for each participant of the funeral ceremony , and mouth and nose covering are used during the gathering.
The conditions for the provision of on-site photo services have also been clarified - after careful assessment of the need and risks, further it will be possible to provide individual photo services outdoors, provided that one photographer and one client participates and at least two meters distance is observed between them.
During the meeting, the Government also decided to allocate EUR 2.2 million for the centralized purchase of antigen detection tests and pulse oximeters needed in social care centres. The centralized procurement will be organised by the National Defence Logistics and Procurement Centre.