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Attending the Rainbow Gathering in Antsla is prohibited

In order to protect the lives and health of the participants at the European Rainbow Gathering, and to prevent the spread of the infection in general, the Health Board has decided to ban the Rainbow Gathering which was due to be held in Antsla between 20 July and 19 August. Some individuals from COVID-19 risk areas have already arrived to attend the event.   According to Tiia Luht, head of the Health Board’s Southern Region, visitors are banned from attending the event

In order to protect the lives and health of the participants at the European Rainbow Gathering, and to prevent the spread of the infection in general, the Health Board has decided to ban the Rainbow Gathering which was due to be held in Antsla between 20 July and 19 August. Some individuals from COVID-19 risk areas have already arrived to attend the event.

According to Tiia Luht, head of the Health Board’s Southern Region, visitors are banned from attending the event because, in addition to those individuals who have arrived from COVID-19 risk countries and the disregard for the requirement to self-isolate, the organisers of the Rainbow Gathering do not even intend to provide basic facilities for hand washing. ‘The lack of facilities for washing hands with soap and running water, the use of a non-compliant outdoor toilet, and close contact with other people all provide very favourable grounds for spreading various infectious diseases,’ said Luht, according to whom the attendees would also not be able to wash their dishes with running water. ‘Perishable food would also be stored in a warm environment and a system has not been organised for providing first aid or calling first responders in the event of a collective infection. Ambulances would have no access to the tents on the plot in order to be able to provide emergency treatment.’

In addition to the Health Board, the rural municipality government authority for Antsla also finds that the event should not be held in this form. ‘As the rural municipality government authority for Antsla has not received an application for a permit to organise a public event, the rural municipality government authority has not granted permission for the event to be organised,’ said Kurmet Müürsepp, deputy rural municipality mayor of Antsla, who claims that Antsla parish will provide parish-owned premises for accommodation purposes to those people who are attending the gathering, if necessary. ‘We are regularly in contact with the Health Board, as well as the police, and we fully support their action.’

The Health Board, and the Police and Border Guard Board whose assistance was requested by the Health Board, will monitor the observance of the ban.

The Health Board received information about the European Rainbow Gathering event in Antsla parish from Antsla parish itself on 15 July. On the same day, the Health Board forwarded further questions to the event’s representative, as well as instructions on how to organise an event for a higher number of participants at this time. Even though the representative responded in general that they would be observing the rules, the questions posed by the Health Board remained unanswered. Therefore the Health Board proposed that Antsla parish, the Environmental Board, the Environmental Inspectorate, the Rescue Board, the Police and Border Guard Board, the South Estonian Hospital, and the event’s representative should meet in Antsla town hall on Friday to discuss the situation.

The event’s representative participated in the meeting over the phone. The authorities reached the conclusion that, in terms of those circumstances that are known, the conditions are not safe for the event to be organised. The Antsla rural municipality government authority gathered together in the evening of 17 July and issued an order based on which the Rainbow Gathering will not be permitted in its proposed form. On 20 July the Health Board issued its decision to the event’s representative stating that the event would not be allowed to go ahead.

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