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Health Board: we are working to make sure that the races of the South Estonia Rally and Rally Estonia can be held safely

Foto: Pixabay
Ralliauto.

On 15 August, Aleks Lesk wrote in the Postimees newspaper that absurd decisions being taken by the Health Board were alienating Estonians from rally racing. The article was critical in tone and reading it leaves an impression that the Health Board has established unreasonable restrictions on the organisers of the South Estonia Rally. For example, the article includes the following statement: ‘At first, the city stage of the rally in Võru was prohibited, and then it was announced that 6,000 spectators would be accepted, and finally it was decided that only an audience of 1,650 people would be permitted to attend the stages and that the first day of the rally must be cancelled. I still cannot believe that a group of adults who supposedly know a lot about health care cannot grasp the difference between a concert and rally racing.’

The response by the Health Board to the criticism was as follows: we assessed the organisation of the South Estonia Rally in July. We saw a problem with organising of the city stage because the city had granted permission to hold several other events on the same day which would be attended by crowds. This is always accompanied by an increased responsibility on the part of the organisers for the safety of attendees, as it is necessary to consider them entering the city, plus parking, catering, accommodation, the distribution of attendees, and also what to do in the case of an outbreak of disease in order to ensure safety and security. Therefore we advised the organisers to draw up more detailed plans for holding the city stage of the rally.

The organisers of the South Estonia Rally responded on 8 August by announcing that they would not be holding the city stages. Two days later we met with the rally organisers along with representatives of the Estonian Autosport Union and the city of Võru in order to discuss the required safety measures.

After the meeting, the organisers announced that they would be holding the rally over one day only and submitted to us the plan of measures that they had drawn up.

We provided our assessment of the measures and the plan, for which we did not set the limit of 1,625 spectators. If the plan that had been drawn up by the organisers could be observed then we could permit a larger audience, as the upper limit set for various sporting events is 2,000 people. Furthermore, based on our assessment, the rally stages could be held over two days and not one.

The officials of the Health Board are in constant contact with the organisers of the South Estonia Rally. It is our aim to organise the rally so that the safety of the participants, organisers, visitors, and local people is ensured. We have been acting on the basis of the principle of proportionality, focussing not on prohibiting, but on developing constructive solutions. It is unfortunate that we have been groundlessly criticised while doing so.
 

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