With the Tallinn Music Week festival dates on 27 – 30 August drawing closer, it is time to start thinking about making travel arrangements, if you plan to participate in person. Here are some considerations to keep in mind ahead of your potential visit.
What’s the virus situation in Estonia?
Thanks to extensive testing and social distancing measures applied from March to May the current infection rate is 10 per 100,000 persons in the last 14 days, 8 persons are currently hospitalised (on 14 August), and according to the most recent statistics from the morning of 14 August, there are 113 active cases in Estonia. A slight increase in infections has currently been localised to the southern city of Tartu. The increased testing and tracing efforts are successfully keeping the rate of new infections in Estonia down, with 0 new cases on 13.08 and 3 new cases on 14.08.
Since midsummer, the restrictions on public events have been gradually eased. The allowed attendance numbers are now at 1500 indoors and 2000 outdoors. TMW has made a decision though not to go up to the maximum allowed capacities, but keep our limits to 700 indoors and 1500 outdoors.
It has to be said that due to virus levels being down, Estonians are feeling relatively at ease now, so arriving, for example, from the UK, Tallinn might feel quite liberal. Wearing a mask is not compulsory in Estonia, but we will still make them available at the festival and have the team wearing them. If meeting people at a public event makes anyone uncomfortable, we wouldn’t persuade them to come, we’d like people to come if they feel comfortable with it.
Who can come to Estonia?
Estonian borders were reopened in June for travellers without symptoms of illness arriving from the European Union, the Schengen Area, and the United Kingdom; however, for countries with a coronavirus infection rate 16 and above quarantine requirements still apply. Due to current restrictions on travelling, the border is closed to visitors from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Israel, the United States and Canada. The latest information on travel and quarantine requirements is available at the website of the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: https://vm.ee/en/information-countries-and-quarantine-requirements-passengers.
What about health insurance, how does that work in Estonia?
One of the main concerns for travellers is what to do about health insurance, when most insurance companies have decided not to cover COVID-related expenses. We looked into what the best options would be to give our visitors a stronger sense of security ahead of their travels and compiled a few tips for trip preparations. For European citizens and residents, we recommend bringing along the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – most of you may have it already, however, do make sure that it is currently valid. Getting a new card usually takes about 10 days (may vary depending on country), so the sooner the better.
When you have an EHIC card, costs incurred here will be compensated either entirely or partially by the health care system in your home country, however, you may still have to pay on-site. That is where our new partner Salva Insurance can help out – as one of the few insurers offering COVID-19 related health insurance at an affordable price (ca 15 euros depending on your age and length of stay). Salva Insurance is partnering up with the festival to provide our visitors an extra sense of security during their travels. Policies for visitors from abroad are available by request at the following e-mail address: email@example.com. When you get health insurance coverage from our partner Salva, you are covered for unexpected acute illnesses and accidents. Medical treatment costs related to COVID-19 are also covered (costs of diagnosis, medications, hospital treatment). The insured sum is 30,000 euros. Read more about the coverage and terms and conditions. NB! Purchase the insurance before you leave your country.
What is the festival doing about safety?
TMW 2020 will be organised in line with the rules in place for public events at the time of the event, in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. All events will observe the guidelines to make sure that:
An important part of the guidelines is the dispersal of crowds. We will leave space for people to be able to keep a distance from each other, so all indoors venues will be kept to 50% capacity. Strict hygiene riders are in place, each and every venue has its ventilation, clean-up and disinfecting agenda. Facial masks are not compulsory in Estonia at the moment, but we’ll make these available to the visitors. The logic works on the principle that we create an environment that allows people to protect themselves.
We have taken some of the bigger events outdoors and skipped indoor venues with poor ventilation. We are health-proofing every single venue we use. We have a team in place to provide all venues with sanitary stations, we will add hand-wash facilities with running water, and we will bring cash payments to an absolute minimum this year. Basic things, but aimed to be fulfilled immaculately. This will hopefully be a good exercise to help venues upgrade their regular service too. A set of health and safety meetings in collaboration with the Health Board, to raise awareness in the sector, is part of the agenda.
In order to reduce the risk of infection, the sale of festival passes is limited, and further sales will focus on single tickets. The last music festival passes at 65 euros are on sale on the TMW website at shop.tmw.ee. Single showcase tickets are on sale at Piletilevi.
TMW would like to emphasise that persons who have been infected with COVID-19 within 14 days before the event or persons who have had contact with a COVID-19 positive, as well as people with symptoms of acute respiratory infectious diseases (fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing), will not be allowed to attend the festival. Persons in the risk group (the elderly and those with chronic conditions) should avoid attending, if possible.
We can create the conditions for safe participation, however, each participant must also take care of their own health. Therefore, at public events and international get-togethers such as TMW, we recommend you consider the following:
How can I get access to the festival if I don’t want to travel?
That’s perfectly understandable and that is also why we have virtual options for participation this year. The newly launched TMW DigiPRO passes for 75 euros enable full digital participation at the festival and conference and are on sale at the TMW webshop. Read more about the options for digital participation here: http://tmw.ee/2020/06/tmw-reveals-a-hybrid-conference-and-festival-concept/
Additional information resources:
Official Government Office website with the latest information about the coronavirus situation, as well as FAQs and the opportunity to ask your own question and get an official answer: www.kriis.ee/en
Our partners at Visit Estonia (Enterprise Estonia, EAS) have also put together a concise overview of travel-related issues, which we recommend reading ahead of the visit.
Estonian Public Broadcasting has also compiled an extensive overview of the entire span of the pandemic in Estonia, updated regularly with the latest information: https://news.err.ee/1061575/coronavirus-in-estonia-all-you-need-to-know