Estonia to restore border control

Border control.
Border control. Photo: Marko Saarm / Sakala

The government decided on Saturday to temporarily restrict movement on Schengen borders in Estonia and restore border control from March 17.

The government also supported an order from head of the emergency situation PM Jüri Ratas to adjust border crossing procedures.

“Naturally, all Estonian residents and their close relatives will be able to return to the country. We will also ensure necessary goods and raw materials transport if the drivers do not have symptoms,” the PM said.

Only Estonian citizens and people who have an Estonian residence permit or right of residence, including stateless persons can enter the country. Also, foreigners who have a family member in Estonia.

International goods transport (including food and medical deliveries) and vital services providers, such as motor fuel suppliers, will be allowed to enter the country.

Ratas added that Estonia has sufficient food stores both in shops and national stockpiles. “That is why there is no cause to fear food and basic commodities shortage. It is still sensible to only buy what you need,” Ratas said. Transit passengers will be allowed to pass through Estonia to reach their home country if they are not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.

People’s travel documents and symptoms will be checked at the border.

The government also approved keeping everyone who enters Estonia isolated for two weeks starting on March 17. People are urged to keep in mind that they could be quarantined when traveling to other countries. Everyone is free to leave Estonia.

“The aim of these restrictions is very simple – to reduce the number of contacts between people,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu told Postimees Live yesterday. He added that the foreign ministry is doing everything it can to make sure both Estonians abroad and foreigners in Estonia would get home in a situation where countries are closing borders.

The temporary border crossing restrictions will remain in effect until such time as they are lifted, with the situation evaluated at least every two weeks.

Should Estonian residents experience trouble returning home, they are urged to call the consular aid number +372 53 01 9999 that is open 24 hours.