In a bid to control the spread of COVID-19, Latvia has declared a three-month-long state of emergency that begins today, October 11. A slew of new restrictions and protocols have been put in place during the period of emergency.

COVID-19 cases had started declining around the middle of May this year in Latvia. In fact, fewer than a hundred new cases were being reported in July. But the numbers started increasing from September onwards, and over 1,000 new cases have been reported daily since September 29, 2021. This spike is what led to the decision to declare an emergency.

According to an official statement, “As from 11 October, face masks are mandatory for everyone on public premises, including in education institutions.” Additional restrictions have been placed to check large gatherings. “Not more than 10 persons who have not been vaccinated or have not had Covid-19 will be allowed to gather for private events. Up to 20 persons are allowed to gather for an outdoor event. Religious services, ceremonies and activities are permitted indoors and outdoors if at least 15 m2 of publicly available space is ensured per person and face masks are worn,” says the official communique.

As far as public events are concerned the government says, “As from 11 October, only vaccinated people or people recovered from COVID-19 will be allowed to take part in public events. Epidemiological safety requirements will also be increased there, and wearing face masks will be mandatory.” Moreover, “Cultural events will be held in the “green mode” only, face masks will be mandatory and there will be a limit to the number of visitors – up to 60% of room capacity. The maximum number of visitors permitted at a cultural event is 1000, divided into sectors of 300 persons each.”

Those who can work remotely are advised to do so, and on-site work is only allowed for people who cannot work from home. As far as vaccination is concerned, “Everyone working in the public sector (both for central and local government authorities) are obliged to get a vaccine against COVID-19. A certificate must be obtained by 15 November. Vaccination requirements in the private sector will also be extended.” Retail services will be prohibited at shopping centers that are spread over more than 1500 m2 and have more than five shops on weekends and public holidays, unless these shops selling essential goods.

*Feature image by David Holt via Wikimedia Commons.