Travel & Tourism: Travel restrictions due to coronavirus COVID-19 of the Baltic States – Estonia / Latvia / Lithuania

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The COVID-19 coronavirus now also significantly limits travel within the Schengen zone. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have also largely closed off their borders. As a business traveler or tourist there is currently hardly any way to enter these countries. The information relates to the status of Sunday, March 15th, 2020 – Source: Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. and the websites of the governments of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The latest information is always at the top under the respective country.

The concrete measures in Estonia (Update 2020-03-23):

  • Update 2020-03-23 ​​- 20:00 – Applies to: Leaving Estonia and Latvia:
    • Estonia allows German nationals wishing to travel back to Germany to enter the airport and ferry. The purpose of the trip must be stated at the border and, if possible, a corresponding ticket or a booking confirmation must be proven. Immigrants must not have any symptoms of illness. Accompanying persons who do not want to travel to their home country and Latvian taxis are only allowed to drive to the border and are not allowed to enter Estonia. The Lux Express buses run within Estonia, further information can be found here: https://www.luxexpress.eu/en/important-information-regarding-lux-express-departures/.
    • Lufthansa currently continues to offer connections to Frankfurt from Tallinn Airport. Ryanair is currently still flying to Düsseldorf Weeze. Further information from the respective airlines and on the website of Tallinn Airport: https://www.tallinn-airport.ee/en/news/faq-main-questions-of- Passengers-concerning-the-coronavirus/.
    • The ferry from Paldiski (approx. 50 km east of Tallinn) to Sassnitz will continue to depart from Paldiski every day at 8:00 p.m. and offers 10 places for travelers with cars. It is not permitted to take pedestrians without a car. The journey takes about 20 hours. The booking can be made by email (mailto:[email protected]), by phone (Estonia +372 612 8686) or by fax (Estonia +372 631 8222).
    • Due to restrictions in other European countries, it must be expected that entry or exit by land will not be possible. There are considerable waiting times, especially at the borders with Poland. It must be expected that German nationals will also not be able to enter Poland for transit to Germany, probably not at all or at most with a considerable delay.
  • On today’s e-session decisions (Monday, March 16, 2020 – Birk Karsten Ecke), the government of Estonia confirmed the temporary reintroduction of border control at the internal Schengen border and surveillance at national borders. Border control will be restored on March 17, 2020.
  • Only Estonian citizens and residents with a residence permit or right of residence will be able to enter Estonia in the future, including holders of the so-called gray passports. Access is granted to foreigners whose family members live in Estonia. Foreigners who have to enter Estonia as part of international military cooperation also receive entry.
  • After entry, each traveler must go to quarantine for 2 weeks.
  • The international carriage of goods (including the transport of food and medical goods) is permitted to enter Estonia. People who provide important services such as B. Fuel suppliers get additional access.
  • A foreigner who does not show any symptoms of illness and whose close relative is an Estonian citizen or a person with the right of residence may enter the country with special police permission.
  • Foreigners who have to travel through Estonia to reach their country of residence are permitted to enter Estonia if they do not have symptoms of the COVID-19 virus.
  • Inspection of travel documents and checking for symptoms of illness takes place at the border.
  • No exit restrictions were imposed.
  • The temporary restriction on the crossing of national borders will apply until the regulation is amended and its necessity will be reviewed every two weeks at the latest.

The concrete measure in Latvia (Update 2020-03-23):

  • Latvia has issued an emergency ordinance stipulating a 14-day domestic quarantine for those arriving from Germany. A hotel, hostel or similar is not considered a suitable quarantine location. In the absence of a quarantine site, a refusal of entry can be expected.
  • Update 2020-03-23 ​​- 20:00 – Applies to: Leaving Latvia:
    • As part of the national emergency, the Latvian government stopped international passenger traffic on March 17 through April 14. This includes air, rail, sea and road traffic. Entry to and exit from Latvia is practically significantly more difficult.
    • International travel is becoming increasingly restricted, and development is fast and dynamic.
    • However, there are still various exit options via third countries, e.g. Estonia, Lithuania by plane or ferry. However, an exit by land is not promising, also due to the restrictions of the other European countries. The Embassy in Riga has published detailed information on the return travel options on the homepage https://riga.diplo.de/lv-de.
    • Air Baltic offers flights from Riga to Frankfurt a.M. on Tuesday (March 24th, departure 1:50 pm) and Friday (March 27th, departure 1:50 pm). Tickets can be booked between 6 a.m. and midnight (Riga time) by calling Latvia +371 67207771 directly from Air Baltic. Further information on the booking process at https://www.airbaltic.com/en/travel-updates.
  • Update 2020-03-19 – 19:05 – Subject: Leaving Latvia via Lithuania:
    • The daily flight connection Frankfurt / M. – Vilnius (LH886 / LH887) is expected to continue until Sunday, March 22, 2020. The ferry connection from Klaipėda / Lithuania to Kiel, daily departure from Klaipėda at 10:00 p.m., will continue until further notice. Tickets can be purchased online at www.dfds.com or by phone (tel. Lithuania +370 46 323232).
    • Lithuania decided on 18 March 2020 to continue to allow EU nationals to travel in until 22 March 2020 for the purpose of traveling home. German nationals residing in Germany may travel to Vilnius Airport and the port of Klaipeda in transit. At the border, an appropriate ticket for the ferry or flight must also be shown when entering Lithuania. Due to the suspension of international passenger traffic, entry is generally only possible with a private vehicle or rental car. Latvian taxis are only allowed to drive to the border and are not allowed to enter Lithuania.
    • The Stena Line freight ferries from Liepāja to Travemünde will continue to Liepāja until Thursday and Friday. If necessary, there is the possibility that one of the ferries will be opened to passengers.
  • Update 2020-03-16 – 19:30 p.m .:
    • Latvia has announced that it will cease international passenger traffic from March 17 to April 14. This includes air, rail, sea and road traffic. The measures will come into effect in the night from March 16 to 17 at midnight.
      Update 2020-03-15 – 11:12 a.m .:
    • International rail passenger traffic is temporarily suspended. See https://www.ldz.lv/en/international-Passenger-transport-rail-temporarily-suspended-due-spread-covid-19-coronavirus (en).
    • Taking into account the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers on Saturday, March 14th, to close the state border for international passenger traffic in connection with the restriction of COVID-19, the international passenger traffic of “LDZ CARGO” Ltd. and “L-Ekspresis” Ltd. exposed.
    • Pending further decisions by the Cabinet of Ministers on the state of emergency, LDZ CARGO Ltd and L-Ekspresis Ltd are suspending international passenger traffic to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Likewise, there will be no passenger traffic on the Minsk-Riga and Kiev-Minsk-Vilnius-Riga route.

The concrete measure in Lithuania (Update 2020-04-03):

  • Entry into Lithuania is only possible for Lithuanian citizens and holders of Lithuanian residence permits. All other foreigners are prohibited from entering Lithuania until April 13, 2020.
  • Direct transit for non-Lithuanians through Lithuania to their place of residence is still possible (“humanitarian corridor”), but the transport takes place in convoys and only via the Kalvarija-Budzinsko (Poland) and Salociai-Grenstale (Latvia) border crossings for private individuals. The entry and exit from and to Russia and Belarus is currently only permitted for trucks in freight transport. Travelers have toto take into account to wait several hours at the border crossings.
  • The only regular ferry is the DFDS ferry Kiel-Klaipeda and vice versa. If the onward journey by ferry is planned, the booking confirmation of the ferry bays must be proven upon arrival.
  • All persons except users of the humanitarian corridor who arrive in Lithuania from abroad must enter a 14-day domestic quarantine, either in domestic quarantine or – at their own expense – in municipal quarantine (mostly hotels).
  • In Lithuania, public life is largely locked down. Since the 16th of March 2020 a national quarantine has been in effect until the 13th of April 2020. Supermarkets and pharmacies remain open.

It is clear that business and tourist trips to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have become practically impossible at the present time.

For inevitable and delayed trips to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, only the following procedure remains:

  • Contact your tour operator and/or your airline.
  • Find out about the latest regulations on the website of the Latvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Latvian Ministry of Health.
  • Please note the continuously updated information on COVID-19 / Coronavirus from the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany.

For travel restrictions of other important countries, see the separate blog article on the website birk-ecke.de: Travel & Tourism: Travel restrictions due to coronavirus COVID-19 of the Baltic States – Estonia / Latvia / Lithuania.

Image: A little nostalgic feeling of the Eastern Bloc. Advertising in Tallinn. Photo from August 2012. Click on the image to enlarge it.

Image: A little nostalgic feeling of the Eastern Bloc. Advertising in Tallinn.
Photo from August 2012.
Click on the image to enlarge it.

 

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