State of emergency has been extended in Latvia until 6 April
State of emergency has been extended in Latvia until 6 April

From 9 November a new state of emergency was declared in Latvia in order to control the spread of Covid-19 in a view of the epidemiological assessments of the growing risks.

On December 1 state of emergency has been extended until 6 April. During this period strict medical safety measures are introduced, while ensuring compliance with the basic rights of the country’s residents and enabling them to access essential services. Moreover, a curfew from 22.00 to 5.00 must be observed on the nights from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday.

People of Latvia will have access to those in-person services that are particularly important for a healthy and safe day-to-day life, and whose availability cannot be postponed. 

Education takes place remotely

University students, as well as learners in Latvian schools starting from grade 7, adults and those engaged in professional training, are studying remotely, except for practical classes which are necessary for the acquisition of professional skills or qualifications and which cannot be performed remotely, as well as clinical practice in residency of medical studies is being provided in person, but only one student with one lecturer in person. 

Winter holidays will be extended until 22 January for pupils in years 1-4. Pupils in years 5-12 will study remotely from 11 January.

Issuing of visas and residence permits limited, stricter border controls

Consequently, Latvian embassies abroad currently accept applications for visas and residence permits from students who present a confirmation from the university about the student's need to come to Latvia for full-time studies. 

It should be noted that if there are strict restrictions in the country where embassy is located and the acceptance of visa applications is not feasible as a result of the restrictions, then embassies do not accept visa applications. 

In order to find out the necessary information about the required documents, as well as information on whether it is possible to submit visa applications, students need to contact the Latvian Embassy, where they plan to submit a visa application.

Border controls will be introduced at state borders. All arrivals must fill in the form whether they arrive by private or public transport. 

Masks in all indoor situations

A distance of two meters must be observed and meetings must be limited. Therefore, private events such as house parties involving more than one household will not be allowed. 

Masks must be worn in all indoor situations in which there is more than one person, excepting your own home, but including your workplace

Gatherings, public events and entertainment cancelled

All in-person public events, such as theatre and music performances, are cancelled and banned. No entertainment events, such as discotheques, may take place. Gambling venues and bars, skating rinks, entertainment and amusement centers, saunas and spa facilities and other venues are closed. 

Exhibition sites and other cultural venues will not be working, and it will not be allowed to organise any fairs. Libraries will be allowed to lend books. Indoor premises of museums will be closed for visitors;

Sport services limited

No sports events can take place, including competitions, presentations, shows etc. Amateur sports training will only be allowed outdoors (up to 10 people without the use of changing rooms). This means that sports clubs will not accept clients indoors - the gyms will not work, and people will not be able to go to the club to train individually.

Shopping on weekends limited and food services only for a take-away

Only grocery stores, pharmacies (including veterinary pharmacies), optical goods stores, fuel stations and points of sale where allowed groups of goods may be sold can be working. Points of sale will have to comply with strict requirements: at least 15 m2 of the available space must be provided for one visitor (excluding the area occupied by shelves, equipment, etc.), the number of visitors must not exceed the number of available trolleys/carts, and visitors must attend the store alone (it is allowed to bring children under the age of 12 with you).

Distance shopping has no limits. 

Food service venues may only serve food as take-out, except for those in educational institutions, at workplaces and at the Riga airport. 

Beauty services banned

The entire beauty industry (including hairdressers) will not be working. Sports equipment rental services may only be provided outdoors. Photo shoots and photo services other than for document photos will not take place. There will be no drive hunting.

Work from home

Anyone who can work remotely from home must do so. It is the employer's responsibility to provide this option. These conditions apply to both public administration and local government institutions, as well as private companies. This means that salespeople, drivers, stackers, police officers, firefighters, security guards, radio and television announcers and operators, doctors, and others, but not, for example, office workers, will work in person.

More information

Photo: Pexels, by Anna Shvets