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City of Tartu closes public athletic fields, playgrounds and gathering places

Tartu City Government Press Release

Mänguväljak Foto: Mana Kaasik

24 March / Starting today, the Tartu City Government decided to close all of the athletic fields and playgrounds owned by the city, along with other publicly used gathering places, in order to the prevent the spread of the corona virus. The Tartu Crisis Team is asking people to remain at home and maintain a distance of 2 metres from other individuals while moving about outdoors.

According to Mayor of Tartu Urmas Klaas, who is also the head of the Tartu Crisis Team, Tartu has taken the decision to close public gathering places, since the last few days have shown that people have failed to understand the threat of infection associated with gathering in public spaces. ‘It is understandable that in emergency situations people have a desire to spend time with their families in the open air; however, it is completely irresponsible for people to gather in large groups, thereby endangering the lives and health of themselves and others. Parents must explain the need for and the seriousness of the restrictions to children,’ said the Mayor.

The Crisis Team also urges people not to gather in parks, on the banks of the Emajõgi River, on athletic trails, near the Anne Canal, and in other places. If possible, people should remain at home, and be sure to keep a minimum distance of two meters when outdoors. People should only go to the store when absolutely necessary and maintain their distance when inside.

According to Professor Joel Starkopf, Head of the Tartu University Hospital Crisis Management Team, the best way to restrict the spread of the virus is through isolation. ‘The recommendation for people to remain in isolation may seem inconvenient, but this is currently the only way to stop the virus from spreading. Although, statistically speaking, older people are the most endangered age group, we can already say, based on our experience here in Estonia, that young and recently healthy people have also reached our intensive care units in critical condition. Dear people, not only the health of our people but also our lives depend on your behaviour.’

The City Government is closing all athletic fields and playgrounds and other gathering places, marking off the areas with warning tape or by affixing warning signs. In addition, warning signs will be installed to remind people to maintain a safe distance on athletic trails and in other public places.

The request to close playgrounds located by apartment buildings has also been sent to apartment associations.

Additional information: Mayor Urmas Klaas, Tel: 513-5145

Last changed 24.03.2020