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Current recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in the active spreading phase in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. More information on the community transmission phase criteria is provided at the end of this page.

This compilation presents the recommendations and restrictions currently in effect in Helsinki with regard to the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, various city divisions have issued special recommendations and communicated about them in the context of the relevant services.

Restrictions and recommendations in effect at least until 31.3.2021. 


On this page:


Face masks are recommended for all persons aged 12 and above in the following situations:

  • When using public transport
  • At public events and in public spaces, such as shops and banks
  • For everyone who is not working remotely, masks should be worn at work in all of your encounters with others and when moving about the workplace. This recommendation applies to jobs in both the public and private sector.
  • When using municipal services, such as social and health care services
  • When visiting the library and using library services (does not apply, if health-related reasons prevent mask use)
  • At sports and cultural events
  • On all recreational premises
  • In upper secondary and tertiary education, which includes general upper secondary schools, vocational education and institutes of higher education
  • In lower secondary schools (grades 7-9). Cities of the region will provide masks for this purpose.
  • When parents drop off and pick up their children at daycare or pre-primary education 
  • Daycare centre staff should wear masks indoors whenever possible. Early childhood education employees who travel to several locations in their work are in particular asked to observe the mask recommendation.
  • Social and health care staff in patient and customer contact should wear a mask
  • In transit to a coronavirus tests and during the wait for results, if leaving the home cannot be avoided
  • When arriving in Finland from a risk area and travelling from the arrival point to quarantine, or if it is necessary to leave home during quarantine
  • In other situations where it is not possible to avoid close contact
  • More information: Face mask recommendations

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Limited leisure activities for under-20 year olds

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa decided that starting 1 February 2021, leisure activities for people under 20 could resume in their municipal facilities on a limited basis, if the participants observe special safety guidelines.

In this context, leisure activities mean all guided individual and group hobbies and activities that meet on a repeated basis. In order to resume, however, these activities must observe the safety guidelines issued by the authorities. If a breach occurs in the observance of these guidelines, the facility booking may be cancelled and the activity may be suspended.

All matches, competitions, tournaments and performances will remain off-limits. Workshops, one-session courses, and school and daycare group visits to leisure activity facilities are also banned for the time being. Physical education classes at schools will continue to be held outdoors and at the school premises, not in other sports halls or facilities. The practice and competitions of competitive sport teams and top athletes will be safeguarded, in accordance with earlier decisions in this area.

Leisure activities for under-20 year olds must comply with the following principles:

  • The number of participants in the group must be regulated and based on pre-registration. Facilities will only be opened for times that have already been booked. The facilities will not be open for public use.
  • All activities must observe the safety guidelines that have been issued by the authorities – and in the case of sports, those issued by the Olympic Committee – on social distancing, hand hygiene, and the use of face masks.
  • Coaches and participants over 12 years of age must wear masks, unless a health reason prevents their use. Masks must be worn at all times, not just during practice.
  • The activities should arranged in a way that avoids close contact.
  • Group sizes should be scaled down to ensure that the participants are able to maintain a safe distance from others. Several groups can be active at the same time in spaces that are large enough, as long as contact between the groups is prohibited.
  • The organiser of the activity is responsible for determining the proper group sizes and ensuring that all other safety guidelines are observed.
  • The use of changing and washing rooms should be limited to essential use only.
  • People who are dropping off and picking up activity participants – parents or guardians, for example – may not enter the facilities. Exceptions can be made in some cases for children who are under school age.

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa continue to strongly encourage private operators to observe these same recommendations and restrictions in their arrangement of leisure activities for minors.

The guidelines are in place until further notice.

Youth services in small groups

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa also decided that youth work that takes place outdoors can be once again be arranged for a maximum of 10 people at a time. Small group activities of this kind will give youth counsellors the opportunity and means they need to meet the needs of young people during this anxious time and prevent youth marginalisation. This activity will be targeted at those young people whose welfare is a concern. Youth services are most effective when functional work methods can be used alongside discussions. These youth services will keep their focus on individual neighbourhoods, and not seek to gather groups together from several areas. The idea is to offer fun activities to young people who are already congregating.

The guidelines are in place until further notice.

Indoor and outdoor leisure activities for adults suspended

All organised leisure activities for people over 20 years held indoors have been temporarily cancelled. All leisure activities for people over 20 years old held outdoors have also been cancelled for the time being.

All outdoors sports reservations for people over 20 years old are cancelled.

Outdoor sports facilities are available to Helsinki residents when children’s and young people’s activities are not held there. Supervision and the presence of youth instructors have been increased in these outdoor areas. Changing rooms and maintenance buildings are closed.

The practice and competition opportunities for competitive and professional sports have been secured for professional sports based on a series licence agreement or sports agreement as defined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. This includes national teams, athletes supported by the Olympic Committee and athletes receiving a grant from the Ministry of Education and Culture in collaboration with the Metropolitan Area Sports Academy.

The restictions are in place until 31 March 2021.

Hobby and recreational activities on non-municipal premises

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group recommends that private operators adhere to the same restrictions as the city.  

The recommendation is in place until 31 March 2021.

Remote work

Working from home is recommended for all tasks that can be carried out remotely. Furthermore, work arrangements that can reduce close contact and other risk factors in workplaces must be promoted.

All those working on location at public and private sector workplaces are recommended to wear a face mask while indoors at the workplace and in the presence of other persons. This recommendation entered into force on 23 November. Persons who cannot wear a face mask for health-related reasons will not be required to wear a mask. The affected persons will not be required to provide a medical certificate or other proof.

The recommendation is in place until 31 March 2021.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

Since Helsinki has entered the spreading phase of the coronavirus epidemic, restrictions must be applied on visitations. The aim of the restrictions is to protect patients, residents and personnel from coronavirus infections.

Members of the immediate family can begin visiting hospitalised patients again starting from 22 February. The recommended maximum duration of a visit is 15 minutes, and all visitors must adhere to the effective protection instructions during the visits. Patients can be visited by one person per day. The visits must be agreed upon with the staff in advance.

Residents of senior centres, assisted living facilities and nursing homes may be visited by their relatives and close friends once a day. Only one visitor is allowed at a time. Two visitors at a time are allowed for outdoor visits. As of 22 February, an indoor or outdoor visit may last up to an hour.

All visits must be agreed on in advance with the care facility of the relative, and face masks must be used during the visits. You only may pay a visit when you are well. Safe distances and good hand hygiene must be ensured.

The restictions are in place until 31 March 2021.

Service centres for pensioners and the unemployed closed

City of Helsinki service centres for pensioners and the unemployed will stay closed. The possibility of opening the service centres will be reassessed in March.

The restictions are in place until 31 March 2021.

Day activities for the elderly suspended

Day activities for the elderly have been temporarily suspended. Day activity clients will be contacted in person about this suspension.

The restictions are in place until 31 March 2021.

New regulations regarding customer premises

The following must be arranged at all customer facilities:

  • The possibility to clean one’s hands either by washing or with sanitizer
  • Sufficient hygiene instructions on display
  • Possible customer seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and there must be generally be as much space as possible
  • The cleaning of facilities and surfaces must be enhanced

The regulations will be in effect until 30 June 2021.

Public premises

All customer spaces open to the public will remain closed, with the exception of the children and young people’ activities listed above. This includes all municipal cultural centres, museums and youth facilities. The operations of adult education centres will continue to be suspended. Korkeasaari Zoo will stay closed.

The facilities used for providing health care and social services, early childhood education, comprehensive education and essential upper secondary education will remain open. Services such as the essential use of customer computers in libraries and the distribution of face masks to those in need will continue. The cities have defined the facilities offering essential services, which will be kept open on a limited basis and with due consideration for health and safety.

The coordination group continues to strongly recommend that private operators adopt the same recommendations and restrictions at their sports and leisure facilities.

Libraries continue to offer limited services, which include:

  • Picking up materials from the reservations shelves and select themed shelves by the self-service machines 
  • Essential and quick use of the customer computers
  • The primary service methods are advance reservations and self-service via the machines
  • If necessary, assistance and guidance will be provided at the service desk
  • Wearing a mask is obligatory when using the services (does not apply, if health-related reasons prevent it)

The restictions are in place until 31 March 2021.

Restrictions on restaurant opening hours, serving times and customer capacity

  • Restaurants can stay open until 23:00 at the latest, and alcohol may be served from 7–22. This restriction is valid until 28 February 2021.
  • For example, alcohol may be served in connection with breakfast starting at 7:00, provided that the Regional State Administrative Agency has granted permission for this activity. Without this permission, the serving of alcohol can start at 9:00 at the earliest.
  • After closing, restaurants may not open their doors again before 05:00.
  • These opening hour restrictions do not concern restaurants operating in connection with service stations.
  • Half of the seats in restaurants serving mainly alcohol can be occupied at one time. This restriction is valid until 28 February 2021.
  • Three quarters of the seats of other restaurants, such as food restaurants, cafeterias, fast food restaurants and pizzerias can be occupied at one time. This restriction is valid until 28 February 2021.
  • The serving hour restrictions apply to all alcoholic drinks with a volume percent exceeding 1.2.
  • The Alcohol Act and the regulations concerning the alcohol serving license of the restaurant must always be observed when serving alcohol.
  • In addition, restaurants must provide opportunities for customer to wash their hands, as well as ensure sufficient distances both indoors and in queues.

The opening hour restrictions do not concern maritime and air transport between Finland and other countries. Restaurants operating in connection with service stations are also excluded from the scope of these restrictions.

According to the operating model deployed in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the operations of an individual restaurant can be restricted in cases where the restaurant in question does not observe the applicable recommendations and restrictions or cannot otherwise ensure safe conditions. Relevant decisions will be made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (AVI).

Finnish Government: Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic

Public events

All indoor and outdoor public events and meetings have been prohibited. However, absolutely indispensable public events and meetings with a maximum of 6 persons may be arranged, if participant safety can be guaranteed in compliance with the instructions issued by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) on 21 September 2020.

For example, statutory shareholders’ meetings and association meetings count as indispensable events. Remote connections must be used also in these cases, whenever possible.

THL: Recommendations related to public spaces and gatherings

The restictions are in place until 14 March 2021.

Sports and cultural events

Organisers of sports and cultural events are strongly encouraged to recommend face mask usage for event participants. Organisers of private events can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.

Updated event planner guidelines from the City of Helsinki

The recomenndation is in place until further notice

Private events

The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group has strongly advised everyone to limit their close contacts to members of the same household or those considered as close as household members. Other kinds of private gatherings or meetings with extended family are not recommended.  Guests at a funeral or a memorial service should be restricted to only a small group of close relatives.

The recommendation is in place until 31 March 2021.

Travel

National travel recommendations and restrictions are in effect, meaning that everyone should avoid nonessential travel to countries other than those for which travel restrictions have been lifted. Domestic travel is permitted, provided that health and safety instructions related to the coronavirus are observed. Avoid all travel when ill.

Finnish Government: Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic

The recommendations and restrictions are in place until further notice.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki we hope that you either

  1. present proof of having had COVID-19 within the last six months, 
  2. present proof of a negative COVID-19 test (tested within the last 72 hours), or 
  3. indicate that you have booked an appointment for a coronavirus test through the Finentry application

While onboard during your trip, please fill in the symptom questionnaire and personal information form in advance and, where possible, prepare to present a passport or ID card at the testing and information point. 

Request the symptom questionnaire and personal information form from the ship staff. The testing and information points are located in the terminal and by the car lane. 

Coronavirus testing in Finland

We recommend a self-imposed 14-day quarantine to all people arriving in Finland. You can shorten your self-imposed quarantine by getting tested for coronavirus twice. 

If you do not have any of the certificates mentioned above, you will be guided to take your first coronavirus test in the harbour. The second test can be taken at the earliest 72 hours after the first one. 

If you do not seek out your first coronavirus test in the harbour, please do so within 24 hours in your place of stay or residence.    

To protect others, you must continue your voluntary quarantine until both test results are ready and have been proven negative. 

In conjunction with the test, you will be informed about how to proceed.  

If your stay in In Finland lasts less than 72 hours

  • and you do have one of the above certificates, you do not have to seek out coronavirus testing in Finland. 
  • and you do not have any of the above certificates, you must submit to self-imposed quarantine. 

More information is available from the coronavirus information point at the port: www.thl.fi.

Upper secondary education

Upper secondary education will transfer to limited contact teaching on 1 March 2021. Limited contact teaching in general upper secondary schools will mean that no more than half of first-year and second-year students may attend classroom instruction at one time. Groups will alternate between distance and contact teaching. Group sizes will be regulated to ensure that students can maintain a safe distance from others. The region’s general upper secondary schools will arrange their instruction so health safety rules and guidelines are strictly observed and no students have to study remotely for long periods.

All general upper secondary school students who are participating in this spring’s matriculation exams will however switch to distance learning on 1 March 2021 to ensure the safety of the actual testing situation. This applies to both students who are making up exams and second-year students who are taking their first exams.

Vocational education and training institutions will transfer to a teaching arrangement in which only one-third of the learning communities’ or location’s students attend in-person instruction at a time, to ensure social distancing. This smaller ratio is due to the wider age range among vocational education students. Contact teaching will be arranged in line with the health safety guidelines. Arrangements for alternating between contact and remote teaching will follow the procedure rules and structure that has been jointly agreed upon by the learning communities and locations. Those students who are completing their working life training (training contract or apprenticeship contract) will in turn observe the employer’s health safety guidelines.

Safety in education, other extraordinary teaching arrangements

Safety recommendations from the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) are observed in early childhood education and basic education.

Primary and secondary schools in the city must stagger starting times and lunches, in addition to ensuring safe distances and the practice of good hand hygiene. In the event that a coronavirus infection is discovered in an early education establishment, school or other educational institute, those exposed will be traced and quarantined. Remote teaching must be arranged for all of the students who have been judged to be exposed. Decisions on quarantine are made by physicians specialising in infectious diseases.

If it becomes challenging to organise basic education as the epidemic escalates, for example, if several staff members are placed in quarantine, the school will transition to special teaching arrangements that introduce distance learning for multiple classes. Decisions of this nature will be made by the head of the City of Helsinki’s Education Division. The decision requires an assessment from a health authority that indicates the necessity of extraordinary teaching arrangements.

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Face mask recommendation for comprehensive education personnel

All personnel of comprehensive schools are recommended must wear a face mask at work. Adherence to the mask recommendation helps ensure the continuation of classroom education and reduces exposures on school premises. This  recommendation entered into force on 11 November 2020.

THL: Children and coronavirus

The recommendations are in place until further notice.

Mask recommendation extends to sixth graders

The face mask recommendation in basic education was extended to sixth graders as of 13 January 2021, in accordance with recommendations from THL. The children are requested to comply with the recommendation, unless a medical reason prevents this. The students will be shown in school how to wear a face mask safely. Sixth graders in Helsinki will receive free face masks from the schools, but they can also use their own masks. This recommendation will remain valid until further notice.

The recommendation is in place until further notice.


More on the topic:

Coronavirus updates from Helsinki

HUS: Regional situation in the coronavirus epidemic and issued recommendations

Restrictions during the coronavirus epidemic


Description of the community transmission phase of the coronavirus epidemic

Infections spread among the population regionally or more extensively: one-week incidence is more than 12–25 cases per 100,000 residents, and in two weeks more than 18–50 cases per 100,000 residents. Source: THL

  • The daily growth rate in cases is more than 10 percent.
  • More than 2 percent of tests are positive.
  • Fewer than half of the sources of infection can be traced.
  • The need for hospital care and intensive care grows fast.


25.02.2021 14:33