Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia opened their borders to each other at the stroke of midnight, creating the first “travel bubble” within the European Union in a bid to jump-start economies broken down by the coronavirus pandemic.

A dozen Estonian border guards removed all signs directing vehicles to stop at the border and huddled together at the roadside for cake and coffee.

“We have the little celebration because the border is now open again,” officer Martin Maestule told Reuters on Friday just after midnight as the first cars sped through on the reopened main road of the region.

Citizens and residents of the three generally sparsely populated Baltic nations are now free to travel within the region, though anyone entering from outside will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Story continues below advertisement

3:31Health care officials warn against non-essential travel over May long weekend

Health care officials warn against non-essential travel over May long weekend

“The Baltic Travel Bubble is an opportunity for businesses to reopen, and a glimmer of hope for the people that life is getting back to normal,” Lithuanian Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis said in a statement.

 » READ MORE FROM GLOBAL NEWS