A nationwide emergency was declared in Estonia on 12th March due to the worldwide Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of mass infection. The emergency situation stays effective from 12 March until 1 May 2020 unless decided otherwise by the government.

The Government resolution on the declaration of emergency in Estonia is available here (in Estonian).

The Sorainen COVID-19 Task Force is at your disposal, should you need advice on any legal issues you are facing. We are constantly monitoring the situation and will update the information promptly if any new decisions are announced by the Government.

Key information for business

Movement of goods. There is no restriction on the movement of goods, including purchasing, selling, transporting inside the country, importing and exporting, except for sales of alcohol. Night sales of alcohol from 10 pm to 10 am are banned across Estonia, extending from stores to all dining facilities. International cargo (also food and medical supply transport) can enter the country, as well as persons providing vital services, such as fuel providers.

Restrictive measures:

  • All public gatherings, events, performances, concerts, conferences, sports competitions and gatherings are banned. All museums, cinemas, nightclubs, sports clubs and other sports facilities (swimming pools, fitness studios etc.), water centres, saunas, day centres, children’s playrooms, casinos and gambling sites are closed (except those related to social welfare, health care and rehabilitation services etc.).
  • Travelling to and from Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Muhumaa, Vormsi, Kihnu, Ruhnu and Manija islands is only allowed for people with permanent residence there. The restriction does not apply to transport of goods and provision of vital services.
  • Visiting welfare institutions, hospitals and detention facilities is banned.
  • Crossing Schengen internal and external borders is restricted and border controls together with sanitary controls are reintroduced.
  • Regular classroom studies are replaced with remote and home study. Research and development at universities and research institutions continues as usual.
  • Recreational activities and the activities of youth centres and camps are suspended and hobby schools are closed.
  • Package cruises on the Tallinn-Stockholm route are suspended.

Other entertainment venues and shops. Smaller entertainment venues such as restaurants, cafes and bars remain open. Shops, shopping/entertainment centres and markets remain open to the public as well. However, some shops have shortened their opening times.

Remote work and employees at the workplace. Declaring an emergency does not mean that employees in affected businesses may not automatically come to the workplace. Companies have to resolve these matters themselves and inform their employees accordingly. Although private sector companies need not organise remote work, it is advisable to do so. In case of economic difficulties, decreasing pay can be an option for employers who cannot provide employees with agreed full-time work. Read more here (in Estonian). All employees arriving from abroad should stay at home for 14 days. Read more on how to protect your employees here (in English) and what to do if an employee is suspected of having the coronavirus here (in Estonian).

Force majeure. The declaration of emergency does not imply that circumstances of force majeure will automatically apply. The emergency must impact performance of a specific obligation or contract. Thus if the coronavirus outbreak causes non-performance, it could be regarded as force majeure so that non-performance of the contract would be excused and the liability of the obligor lifted (except for monetary obligations) (read more here).

Notaries, courts and banks. Notaries, courts and banks continue working. However, notaries and courts have been encouraged to reorganise their work and use more electronic means. Banks are inviting their clients to use digital channels for using bank services.

Public services and authorities. Most public authorities have closed their client services offices. Public authorities continue providing public services through electronic means.

Support measures from the Government. The Estonian government is currently working with a plan to help sectors which are worst hit, such as accommodation and travel, though whether any additional measures would apply for other sectors is not clear.

Support from Estonian tax authorities Currently no COVID-19 specific tax measures are in place in Estonia. It is possible to apply to postpone tax payments under routine procedure (up to EUR 20,000 within a period of one year is processed automatically if certain trust criteria are met), while other applications are processed by the tax authority. It is possible to ask for postponement in advance.

Cash payments are not banned.

Arrival and departure of Estonian citizens to and from Estonia

All Estonian citizens are invited to return to Estonia as soon as possible. Health checks will be in force at border crossing points to detect symptoms of the coronavirus. There are no restrictions on exiting the country, but all citizens are advised to postpone any plans to travel abroad.

For more information visit the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Arrival and departure of foreign nationals to and from Estonia

Foreign nationals who do not hold an Estonian residence permit or right of residence, including so-called grey passport holders, or who have family members in Estonia, are not allowed entry to Estonia. Foreigners are allowed to transit Estonia on the way to their home country if they do not show symptoms of COVID-19. The border control will check travel documents and medical symptoms. There are no restrictions on exiting the country.

For more information visit the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Isolation of persons returning from abroad. Anyone returning from abroad is required to be isolated for 14 days.