Advice, guidelines and support addressing the COVID-19 crisis.

On 12 March 2020, the Estonian government declared an emergency situation in Estonia until 17 May 2020.

Estonian production companies resumed shooting on the 3rd of June (national feature film “Kalev”). International production resumed on the 2nd of July (TV-drama series “Bad Apples”).

We have collected information from the government and the Health Board and put together these guidelines to be followed during the Covid-19 outbreak in order to, despite the current circumstances, maintain a working film industry whilst preventing the spread of the virus.

Please bear in mind, these guidelines are not intended to provide a solution for all types of productions -rather its aim is to assist in the preparation of the infection protection plan for each production.

It’s above all important to  maintain common sense and a sensible and caring attitude in all circumstances.

Current status of the curve can be followed here.
Official information about COVID-19 in Estonia can be seen here.

Production companies have to comply with the Government’s guidelines. It is imperative to enforce and provide necessary hygiene requirements and social distancing measures to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. The producer is responsible for preventing the risk of infection and they can also delegate these tasks to an infection control officer.

Each crew member has a responsibility to keep up to date with the safety measures put into effect by the producer and the current rules set by the Health Board.

  • Starting from November 16, follow the 2+2 rule. People must keep a distance of at least 2m from others.

*The Police and Border Guard Board eased the 2 + 2 rule when filming. Filming is considered as a work environment, not a public place. Although the safety requirements must be followed and the instructions of the Health Board must be kept in mind at all times when planning the shoot, the PBGB permit recognizes that it is not possible to maintain a 2m gap in every situation. Given the current situation, the organization of mass scenes is forbidden, and the planning and technicalities done in such a way as to avoid activities that attract people to gather, even spontaneously.

  • Reinforced hygiene measures.
  • Please use masks and hand sanitisers and provide them for your team. Starting from November 16, on public transport, in the service halls and public areas of commercial enterprises, and at conferences, concerts, theatres, and cinemas, a mask must be worn or the nose and mouth must otherwise be covered. 
  • If you suspect you might be infected, definitely stay at home until recovery (minimum 14 days).
  • Work remotely if possible.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

Temporary restrictions apply when entering Estonia and crossing the internal and external Schengen borders.

Travelling to Estonia is possible for the following persons

  • Estonian citizens, residents and their family members. Estonian citizens and residents are allowed entry regardless of whether or not they show symptoms of the disease.
  • Citizens and residents of the European Union, the Schengen area, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican, and asymptomatic individuals with a long-stay visa and their family members. Read the list here.
  • Citizens of countries listed in Annex 1 of the recommendation of the Council of the European Union.
  • Asymptomatic citizens of foreign states arriving in Estonia from states not named above for work or studies, and family members of a high-level specialist coming to work in Estonia with a visa and family members of a foreign national coming to work in a start-up company or in the field of ICT in Estonia.
  • Exemptions apply for people transporting goods and raw materials, people involved in international freight or passenger transport, people performing technical tasks for companies based in Estonia, providers of healthcare services, diplomats, people arriving for the purpose of international military cooperation and people with a special entry permission. All exemptions are listed in Order No 282 of the Government of Estonia.

The electronic declaration of health for those arriving in Estonia can be filled out as early as 24 hours before arrival. This makes border crossing smoother and people do not have to stand in line to fill out a declaration on paper. The confirmation of the border crossing declaration sent to your e-mail may be asked on the border. You can show it electronically or print it out before your travel.

A country with a coronavirus infection rate of 150 cases per 100 000 people or higher is considered a coronavirus risk country.

Citizens and residents of Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia*, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, United Kingdom or Vatikan** will be able to enter Estonia without having to undergo a 10-day quarantine period upon arrival.

Upon arrival in Estonia, a person must be in quarantine for 10 days if they have arrived from a country where the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants has been more than 150 in the last 14 days. Travelers from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland must still undergo a period of quarantine.

* With its order from 30 April, the Government of Estonia has eased the restrictions on cross-border movement for asymptomatic individuals who cross the national border between Estonia and Latvia at least twice a week for unavoidable work or studies. This means that starting from 3 May, the 10-day restriction on the freedom of movement does not apply to these individuals if they have taken at least one test for COVID-19 in the past seven days and the result is negative, or if they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or if they have completed a vaccination programme.

The restriction on the freedom of movement also does not apply if an individual living in the administrative territory of Valga in Estonia or Valka in Latvia crosses the national border between the Republic of Estonia and the Republic of Latvia without leaving the administrative territories of Valga or Valka.

At the border, they must present proof of employment (such as a letter from their employer) and a certificate proving a negative test result or vaccination/recovery.

** The Vatican's infection rate is 0, but when traveling from Vatican through Italy to Estonia, still a 10-day restriction of freedom of movement applies.

Countries outside the European Union

Travel to Estonia from outside the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Schengen area is possible, including for tourism, only from the countries listed in Annex 1 of the recommendation of the Council of the European Union on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU

Residents of Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea*, Thailand* and Singapore can travel to Estonia.

*A 10-day restriction on freedom of movement is mandatory. A 10-day self-isolation is mandatory for passengers arriving from a country on the list with an infection rate above 16.

When arriving from third countries that are not listed above, a mandatory 10-day self-isolation period applies.

Information on countries and quarantine requirements is updated every Friday on the kriis.ee/en and vm.ee/en websites.

Citizens of third countries arriving in Estonia for the purpose of work or studying at an educational institution registered in Estonia from a third country not included in Annex 1 of the recommendation of the Council of the European Union, is subject to the 10-day mandatory self-isolation, and they must take a coronavirus test immediately after arriving in Estonia and a second test no earlier than six days after the first test. Testing does not grant the right to stop self-isolating before the mandatory period ends.

The following rules apply for reducing the period of isolation (except for citizens of third countries arriving with the purpose of working or studying):

(1) Anyone who does not wish to self-isolate for 10 days after their arrival in Estonia can take a PCR test abroad no earlier than 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia. While in Estonia, a second test can be taken no earlier than on the sixth day after the first test. The 10-day isolation period can be concluded earlier if both tests are negative.

(2) Anyone who has not taken a test up to 72 hours before their arrival in Estonia can take one immediately after their arrival and the second test no earlier than six days after their first test. The 10-day isolation period can be concluded earlier if both tests are negative.

Information about the conditions that apply to the test certificate is available on the coronavirus testing website. For booking a second test, passengers can contact the call centre for public testing (678 0000). Details about testing are available on the website of the Health Board.

After the first negative test, the individual can:

  • perform urgent and inevitable duties;
  • attend an urgent family occasion;
  • return to the country from where they entered Estonia if the reason for travelling is inevitable duties, studies or family occasion.

The 10-days restrictions on movement and COVID-19 testing are not mandatory for individuals (both when arriving from Europe and other regions) who:

(1) have recovered from COVID-19 and no more than six months have passed since they have been declared cured;

(2) have undergone COVID-19 vaccination and no more than six months have passed since its completion.

For more information about the required certificates please look the webpage of FAQ about the Coronavirus 2019-nCoV

Exceptions are possible and special permits can be applied for in advance from the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board. The permits will be assessed and granted individually case by case. These will be handled and applied for by the Estonian production partner companies.

The Government supported the proposal to free foreign visitors from movement restrictions for the annual Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival "PÖFF" if certain COVID-19 alleviation measures are followed.

When staying and working in Estonia, it is necessary to follow all the health requirements and restrictions in force at that time.

For more information, please see here.

PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES FOR FILM PRODUCTION

  • Production companies shall assess the precautionary measures to be taken on set against coronavirus spread before shooting, thus, taking a collective responsibility to eliminate risks of infection on set. 
  • In pre-production, evaluate the risks and plan ahead to keep the crew safe. Communication is key; let everybody in the team know the precautions they must follow. Adapt accordingly to the changing situation.
  • The number of crew members on set should be kept to a minimum. Keep in mind the location and its size whilst planning the shoot. 
  • Appoint an infection control officer. Presumably, this could be added as one of the duties of the location manager, who would be the contact person regarding all inquiries about coronavirus and the precautionary measures taken against it on set. They need to provide and make sure disinfectants, protective masks, hand washing facilities and illustrated instructions are always readily available on set. 
  • In case of suspicion or symptoms associated with the COVID-19 disease, it is forbidden to come on set. An unwell person must stay home. (They can return to work after a 14-day quarantine period, on the condition that they have fully recovered - no fever or respiratory symptoms. The infected crew member must contact their GP.)
  • You must inform the production company immediately if you are COVID-19 positive. 
  • After the positive diagnosis has been confirmed, the workplace and tools used by the infected crew member shall be disinfected in their entirety. Determine the people who came into close contact with the infectious person when they were already symptomatic. Those in close contact need to self-isolate at home for two weeks and observe if they develop any symptoms. Other crew members can continue their work but keep an eye on their health as well. 
  • Even if a crew member was not diagnosed with COVID-19, all the other crew members must monitor their health for 14 days. 
  • Opt to have pre-production and meetings online via Zoom, Skype etc. If for some reason this is not possible then maintain social distancing and hygiene measures, keeping with the 2+2 rule.
  • Keep in mind the members of the risk group, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases, whilst planning as they are more prone to exhibit the severe forms of the disease and thus, need extra precautions.
  • Masks and hand sanitisers: Although masks are not mandatory at this time, production must provide masks for all people on set. Their use is strongly recommended for interior spaces, where it is difficult to consistently maintain social distancing.
  • Maintain hygiene on set. This includes frequent cleaning of contact surfaces.
  • Make-up and costume department areas should be separated. When being in close contact with the actors, protective masks are required, and it is also recommended to wear disposable gloves. If possible, only one crew member at a time should work with an actor on a specific task. Make sure the workplace does not get crowded with people. 
  • Outdoor locations are preferred to minimise the risk of spreading the disease. All interior locations must have good ventilation.
  • Try to prepare as much as possible ahead of the shoot (e.g. set decorations, lighting) to avoid excess movement of a lot of people at once. 
  • Avoid printouts (scripts, call-sheets, other documents). Maintain and distribute all production documentation digitally. 
  • Consider remote shoot possibilities.
  • Catering must follow reinforced hygiene measures. Whenever possible, food on set should be provided in individual containers. Maintain a 2-meter distance from one another during mealtimes.
  • Follow the Health Board’s prognosis and the national regulations.

Virke - Film Producers’ Association, the Norwegian Film Workers Association, Norwegian Film Directors, the Writers Guild and the Norwegian Actors Guild have compiled comprehensive guidelines where they have specified the code of conduct for each stage of production and give particular instructions based on the respective requirements of each department. We strongly recommend reading their guide when planning your shoot. The guide is available to read here.

European countries and film institutions are providing technical and organizational measures in order to help productions restart in safety during the global emergency. The guide is available here.

Stay safe and have solidarity in order to avoid contracting the virus and infecting others around you!

For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us: commissioner@filmi.ee

WHY ESTONIA?

In Estonia, personal space is a human right. An idea which might seem paradoxical when thinking about our small size. But here, there really is enough breathing room for social distancing to be the unspoken social etiquette followed in shared spaces, with or without the outbreak of the virus. The statistics back it up too, for one person, there is over 30 m2 of individual territory!

Similarly, our film industry has managed to condense, proportionately to its small-scale, just the right amount of professionals, for it not to feel too cramped. We are resilient and resourceful both in normal and unusual circumstances and like the majority of our population, digitally-savvy and very comfortable working with technology. So, the current restrictive measures are not so confining after all, offering the ability to, despite the virus, make thingswork and keep the cameras rolling and focused to help bring your next film project to fruition. At the same time, of course, being mindful of the safety of everyone involved and maintaining plenty of personal space.

  • Competent and experienced film crews who speak fluent English and are used to working efficiently in small teams
  • World-renowned professionals with international experience 
  • A large variety of unique locations. 
  • Estonia is a small country, so there is a short distance between locations which gives an opportunity to film more in less time. 
  • We offer a Cash ebate of up to 30% and Regional Funds (Tartu Film Fund, Viru Film Fund, Film Fund of Estonian Islands).
  • Wide range of quality equipment available.
  • Known for its advanced digital society. Less hassle, better time-management and proficient workflow.

 

Last updated: 09.05.2021

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