Latvia will lift a large portion of its COVID-19 restrictions today. In a March 22 cabinet meeting, the Latvian government
Latvia will lift a large portion of its COVID-19 restrictions today.
In a March 22 cabinet meeting, the Latvian government decided that it would remove mask and vaccination/testing requirements for a large portion of the country. Restrictions remain in place in certain “risky” environments including schools and hospitals. The change still allows businesses to require masks and vaccine status for employees and customers if they so choose.
The easing of COVID restrictions is a welcome change as the number of cases has steadily declined since peaking in early February. While businesses and consumers welcome the change, there are concerns that Latvia’s decision is a bit anticipated. Just three weeks ago, Latvia had the highest COVID mortality rate in the EU/EEA. Moreover, reports are emerging that a highly infectious subvariant is quickly replacing the Omicron strain.
Despite these concerns, do not expect Latvia to reinstitute tough COVID-19 restrictions if the number of cases does rebound. Reinstating restrictions would compromise Latvia’s fragile economic growth. Amid inflation and cutting ties with Russia’s energy market, Latvia’s GDP growth for 2022 was downgraded to 1.8 percent from 4 percent. Amid concerns of stagflation, the Latvian government will risk COVID for a more resilient economy.
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