From 21 October to 14 November, Latvia announces a four-week period of strengthened security measures or strict restrictions on the movement of the population in order to significantly slow down the spread of Covid-19 infection, reduce the burden on the health care system and save as many lives as possible. From 20:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the morning, all residents must stay at their place of residence.
All residents of Latvia are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and significantly reduce physical contact outside their household, as well as to immediately start vaccination against Covid-19 if this has not been done so far. Increased safety arrangements during the strengthened security measures period include a ban on all residents, regardless of vaccination status, from being outside their place of residence from 20:00 in the evening until 5:00 in the morning. In case of emergency need to be outside one’s home, person has to carry a completed self-certification form.
From 21 October to 14 November, all public and private events are banned, and private gatherings are allowed within a single household, while it is still allowed to visit lonely people to care for them and provide all kinds of support.
Pupils' autumn holidays are extended by one week until 29 October, but on 1 November, pupils from 1st to 3rd grade will return to schools in person, and others will continue their studies remotely. On-site studying and interest-related education will resume on 15 November; however, participation in interest-related education will be possible only with a Covid-19 certificate. Pre-school education establishments will be open throughout the strengthened security measures period, while parents should consider epidemiological risks and take children to kindergarten only when absolutely necessary.
Public catering sites are allowed to provide food only for takeaway or delivery. However, it must be taken into account that without an objective reason (e.g. going to work or receiving medical services), movement of the population is prohibited from 20:00 to 5:00.
During the strengthened security measures period, economic services and points of sale will be open from 6:00 to 19:00. There will be access to only the basic needs-carrying stores - food stores, pharmacies, opticians, stores selling pet food, press, hygiene products, telecommunication products, books, flower shops and fuel retail stations. Distance selling will be allowed on condition that the purchased goods are distributed outside the store premises. During the strengthened security measures period, only services that are essential for the population will be provided, such as the issuance of identity documents or social care. Entertainment related services, as well as beauty treatment services, will not be allowed.
Cultural sites - museums and related art and history exhibits, libraries, archives, cultural centres, art galleries, exhibition halls, open-air stages, theatre buildings and their outdoor spaces, concert halls and their outdoor spaces, as well as places where amateur collective classes are organized will be closed for visitors.
All employees, as far as the nature of the work allows, will be required to work remotely, but it is allowed to be in the workplace in person only with a Covid-19 vaccination or recovery certificate or a negative test.
The incidence of Covid-19 has increased by 48.8% in the last week and the 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population on 20 October this year is 1,400. Thus, Latvia has the highest incidence of Covid-19 in the world. The number of Covid-19 patients has increased by 56%, which means that on average 138 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized per day. The data show that in the first week of the emergency situation, social contacts fell by only 5-10%, which is not enough to reduce the prevalence of Covid-19 in the society. According to current trends, the number of Covid-19 patients in hospitals will double in 16 days and could reach 2,100 by 2 November this year. This means even greater overload of the healthcare system, significant restrictions on access to healthcare services and the need to implement prioritization of patients for receiving medical care.
The State Police, as the leading control authority of restrictions, together with its cooperation partners, remains fully prepared to ensure the control of restrictions related to Covid-19 infection. A plan has been prepared for law enforcement and resources are planned to ensure adequate and appropriate oversight of government restrictions. The State Police will continue to work under enhanced regime, involving all State Police officials, including criminal police officers and cadets of the State Police College, in control activities. Compliance with the movement restrictions of the residents will be increasingly controlled, as well as control of restrictions will continue in other areas, such as public transport, trade, beauty care, catering and service provision places. Police will also continue to monitor restrictions on gathering and self-isolation. At the same time, the resources and future work of the State Police are planned to continue to ensure the fulfilment of its core responsibilities in the day-to-day fight against crime, including the prevention and detection of forgery of vaccination certificates, as well as maintaining public order and monitoring road traffic.
In the coming days and weeks, decisive and responsible action of every resident of Latvia, complying with the increased safety measures imposed in the country, is crucial. At the same time, we would like to remind that vaccination against Covid-19 continues to be the main national strategy to defeat the virus. It should be noted that after the end of the strengthened security measures from 15 November, strict restrictions on unvaccinated persons will remain. Thanks to already 50% of the Latvian population, who have completed the vaccination course against Covid-19, a part of the society remains protected; however, we also invite these residents to be understanding and show solidarity with our doctors.
Strategic Communication Coordination Department Advisor