Emergency situation in Latvia to restrict the spread of Covid-19

27.05.2020. 17:08

On 7 May 2020, the the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Latvia decided to extend the state of emergency which began on 13 March up till 9 June taking into account the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.

At the same time, a decision was also made on the gradual lifting and loosening of particular COVID-19 restrictions beginning on 12 May.

In order to minimise the spread of the virus while at the same time easing restrictions, physical distancing and strict observance of security measures recommended by epidemiologists is absolutely essential for success.

Below, see an English summary of the government amendments with the information that may be of primary interest for the diplomatic missions, international organizations and representations:

·         Gathering both indoors and outdoors shall be allowed in the following organised events: public events, except for sports events (as defined in the Law On Safety of Public Entertainment and Festive Events), meetings, processions, and pickets (as defined in the Law On Meetings, Processions and Pickets), for the performance of organised religious activities which involve gathering, and private events, except for sports events, provided that the following requirements are observed:

  • there is a maximum of 25 people at the event at the same time. These conditions apply also to private indoor and outdoor spaces;
  • the duration of the event indoors does not exceed three hours, the duration of the event outdoors is not restricted; , (there is no such time limit on the duration of a sports event outdoors);
  • the organiser of the event shall ensure the observance of the restrictions and the availability of disinfectants for the participants;
  • cultural, entertainment, sports, and other recreational venues are required to be open not earlier than at 6.30 and close not later than 24.00;
  • persons  must maintain a two-metre distance from others, as required in all public spaces;

* Entertainment events for children indoors are prohibited (for example, organisation of children's parties, operation of entertainment and amusement centres, trampoline parks, children's playrooms, day-care rooms, including at shopping centres)

* Organised sports training is permitted when observing the following conditions: no more than 25 persons gather at the same time in an organised manner in one training group for sports training (including the person responsible for the sports training and sports training staff);the duration of the sports training indoors does not exceed three hours.the times of different training groups is staggered so that training sessions do not overlap, and separate supervision of their activities is ensured;persons under 7 years of age are not involved in sports training. Note that outdoor sports training is not bound by the three hour time limit that applies to indoor training.

·         Whereas from 17 March 2020, there was a temporary halt to international carriage of passengers via airports,  ports, by buses and rail transport, except for carriage of passengers on national carriers  and military transport, as well as private  flights (if there are no more than five passengers) (with the possibility of exceptions being made);

·         Starting from 15 May 2020 international carriage of passengers via airports, ports, by buses and rail transport to Lithuania and Estonia and from Lithuania and Estonia has resumed.

 The nationals of the Baltic States and persons legally residing there may travel in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania without any restrictions, provided that the person:

  • has not travelled outside the Baltic States for the last 14 days;  
  • is not in self-isolation due to having tested positive for COVID-19 or having been in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19;
  • has no symptoms of a respiratory infection.

More information is available on the Ministry of foreign affairs of the Republic of Latvia webpage at: https://www.mfa.gov.lv/en/news/latest-news/65998-possibilities-for-residents-of-latvia-to-travel-within-the-baltic-states

·         Beginning on 17 March 2020, a prohibition was imposed on movement of persons and vehicles via border crossing points of the external border of the European Union at airports, ports, rail and motorways (with the possibility of exceptions to this rule ), as well as at the border crossing points which are provided for the local border traffic, except for carriage of freight. Those restrictions do not apply to:

  • nationals of the Republic of Latvia and those who have permanent residence status and those who are returning to their place of residence are allowed to cross the external border of the European Union once;
  • nationals of Latvia who have permanent residence status abroad in order to return to the country of his or her permanent place of residence are allowed to cross the external border of the European Union once;
  • foreigners departing from Latvia;
  • nationals of Estonia and Lithuania, as well as the persons who are permanently residing in these countries to cross the territory of the Republic of Latvia (they are allowed to cross the external border of the European Union once);
  • foreign diplomats accredited to work in Latvia as well as persons who arrive to Latvia due to humanitarian considerations or on the grounds of   national interests who wish  to enter or leave the Republic of Latvia;
  • employees of the providers of transport services and carriage of passengers services and the crews of passenger, freight, technical voyages, who arrive in the Republic of Latvia or exit it upon fulfilling work duties, and also the passengers (only those aboard a carrier that received an exception authorised by the Minister of Transport (e.g. for repatriation purposes)) and seamen in order for them to be able to return to Latvia or to reach their working place on a ship.

         Beginning on 21 May 2020, nationals of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Switzerland, and also people who are permanently residing in those countries shall be allowed to enter and leave Latvia when travelling to Latvia from their home countries. 

·         Persons who have arrived from foreign countries must ensure self-isolation at their place of residence for 14 days. This provision shall not apply to the nationals and permanent residents of Latvia, and also to the foreigners who have not visited other countries during the last 14 days, with the exception of Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia.

·         Organisation of tourism services shall be allowed only for travelling in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia starting from 12 May 2020.

·         Beginning on 12 May 2020, Latvia’s diplomatic missions and consulates  are once again providing consular assistance and consular services in person in accordance with 11 May 2020 Instruction No. LV-101 “On Provision of Consular Assistance and Consular Services Abroad”:

  • Please register in advance to receive consular assistance, and when coming to the meeting be sure to observe the national social distancing guidelines in force in the particular country where Latvia’s mission is located. Be aware that visa applications will be accepted and processed in limited quantities.;
  • If the national restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 in the country of residence of the person requesting consular services also restrict movement or restrict reception of consular assistance in person, then the head of mission may deem it necessary to offer only those consular services which can be handled remotely.

·         Foreigners whose legal period of stay in the Republic of Latvia has expired may continue their stay in the country without arranging for a new residence permit or without receiving a visa, and shall retain the right to employment if such has been granted. They shall leave the Republic of Latvia within 30 days after the state of emergency is lifted or submit documents for receiving a residence permit or a visa in accordance with procedures established by law.

The English version of the Cabinet Order No. 103 On the Declaration of Emergency Situation of 12 March 2020 (with amendments) available on https://likumi.lv/ta/en/en/id/313191-on-declaration-of-the-emergency-situation

More information is available on the Cabinet of Ministers webpage at: 

https://mk.gov.lv/en/aktualitates/regarding-declation-emergency-situation

https://mk.gov.lv/en/aktualitates/strategy-government-next-stage-covid-19-restrictions-strict-domestic-health-measures

https://www.mk.gov.lv/en/aktualitates/cabinet-ministers-has-adopted-changes-regulations-procedure-movement-persons-between

Useful links:

Cabinet of Ministers:
https://www.mk.gov.lv/en/content/covid-19  

Ministry of Health:
http://www.vm.gov.lv/en/ministry/novel_coronavirus_covid19_advice_for_the_public1/ 

Centre for Disease Prevention and Control:
https://spkc.gov.lv/en/covid-19