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Current recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in the community transmission phase in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. This compilation presents the recommendations and restrictions currently in effect in Helsinki. In addition, various city divisions have issued special recommendations and communicated about them in the context of the relevant services.


On this page:


Recommendations for the use of face masks

The recommendation will be valid until 16 January 2022.

The metropolitan area will return to a broad face mask recommendation for all persons aged 12 years and older, regardless of the level of vaccination protection. The use of face masks is recommended in all indoor public spaces and on public transport where other people are present. The use of face masks is therefore also recommended in educational institutions from the sixth grade onwards.

It is recommended that private operators require staff and customers to wear masks at public events, in shops, on public transport and in other customer premises.


Recreational activities

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

Open-use sports facilities, such as swimming pools, gyms and group exercise classes, will no longer be subject to attendance restrictions from the beginning of October. Activities and competitions for all ages are allowed indoors and outdoors.

In the premises managed by the city, it is recommended to follow the health safety instructions for recreational activities.

When organizing recreational activities, it is recommended that:

  • The composition of the activity group remains the same.
  • Contact with other activity groups is avoided.
  • Do not participate in activities if you are displaying flu symptoms.
  • Recreational activities follow general guidelines for hand and coughing hygiene.
  • Unnecessary physical contact should be avoided in recreational activities.
  • Possible participant seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and there must, generally, be as much space as possible.
  • It is strongly recommended that instructors and children over 12-years-old continue to wear face masks when indoors unless health reasons strictly prevent it. A face mask does not need to be worn when performing exercises.
  • All participants in recreational activities are instructed to follow the given health safety instructions.
  • The organizer of the activity is always responsible for instructing and monitoring compliance with the instructions.
  • The attendance of those who are not participating should be minimized in activity and changing facilities.
  • The decisions of the Regional State Administrative Agency on public events apply to the public for competitions, matches and tournaments.
  • It is recommended to follow the principles described above in recreational activities that also take place outdoors.

To prevent the spread of coronavirus and to trace it, it is also important to keep a record of those present at each session of the group.

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa also strongly recommend that private operators follow the same health safety instructions in their recreational activities.

Remote work

The recommendation will be valid until 16 January 2022.

Employers are advised to organize remote work in all work tasks where it is temporarily possible. If remote work is not possible, it is recommended that the employer encourages the use of a face mask in all work areas, even if safety distances can be maintained. At workplaces, lunch and coffee breaks should be staggered and the need for personal meetings should be carefully assessed.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

Members of the immediate family and loved ones can visit hospitalised patients at Helsinki City Hospital locations. Patients may have 1-2 visitors at a time. There can be two visits a day.

People in terminal care can have be up to two visitors at a time.

Visitors can meet residents of senior centres, service homes and nursing homes indoors. If the weather is favourable and the patient's condition allows for it, we recommend meetings be held outdoors. There is no limit to the number of visitors or the duration of visits. There can be several visits during the same day, and they must be arranged in advance no later than the previous day.

All visits must be agreed on in advance with the care facility of the relative no later than the previous day, and face masks must be used during the visits. You may only pay a visit when you are well. Safe distances and good hand hygiene must be ensured.

Service centres for pensioners and the unemployed

Starting from Monday, 4 October, the service centres will open almost all their services that have been closed, such as gym activities, restaurant services and open group activities. There may be exceptions to the opening hours of the restaurants at the service centres. The number of customer places has been restricted in the restaurants.

Larger events and gatherings will not be organised at the service centres as of yet.

All activities in the service centres comply with the applicable safety instructions. Customers are also encouraged to wear a facemask and take care of good hand hygiene. In all group activities, group sizes are limited and during the group meeting, attention is paid to the maintenance of adequate safe distances.

Day activities for the elderly

Day activities for the elderly will be reopened gradually from 1 June 2021 for clients who are in need of special support. Participants will be invited to the groups on an individual basis.

Regulations regarding customer premises

These regulations are in effect until 31 December 2021.

The following safety measures must be arranged at all public and private customer facilities:

  • The possibility to clean one’s hands, either by washing or with sanitizer
  • Hygiene instructions must be on display
  • Possible customer seats must be placed at sufficient distances from each other, and the premises should be arranged so there is as much space as possible between customers 
  • Cleaning of facilities and surfaces must be enhanced

(Communicable Diseases Act, Section 58(c))

Public premises

These recommendations are in effect until further notice.

Municipal customer service facilities and leisure facilities such as libraries, museums, cultural centres, youth centres and indoor and outdoor sports facilities are open.

All customer service facilities of the City of Helsinki shall take care of the implementation of health safety in accordance with section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act.

In the metropolitan area, unvaccinated people over the age of 12 are advised to avoid being inside with a lot of people close to each other, especially when it comes to:

  • licensed restaurants.
  • team sports or contact sports.
  • spiritual gatherings.
  • choral singing activities or joint singing events.
  • courses requiring an overnight stay.
  • public transport.
  • large public events where seating is not specified.

However, if a person is involved in such activities, it is advisable to avoid close contact and wear a face mask. You should only attend the events when in good health.

Cultural and recreational services

All cultural and leisure facilities are open during normal opening hours.

All customer service facilities of the City of Helsinki shall take care of the implementation of health safety in accordance with section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act.

Restrictions on restaurant opening hours, serving times and customer capacity

Restrictions will be in force from 00:00 on 28 November 2021.

  • Serving in all restaurants ends at 17:00 and the restaurant may be kept open to diners from 05:00-18:00.
  • Alcoholic beverages sold before the end of the dining period will be allowed to be consumed for one hour after the end of the dining period.
  • Alcoholic beverages are only allowed after 17:00 when a COVID-19 passport is used.
  • However, if the food service establishment does not serve alcoholic beverages, the location may be open from 05:00-01:00. For example, fast food outlets and cafes may remain open as they are at present.
  • Bars and restaurants may also be open from 05:00-01:00, provided that they do not serve alcohol.
  • In a restaurant in which alcohol consumption is the primary field of business, one third of the customer seating may be used. Other restaurants (including cafes and fast food outlets) must only use 75% of their customer seating indoors.
  • All customers of restaurants must have their own seating indoors at a table or equivalent.
  • As an alternative to the above restrictions, the operator may require its customers to present a COVID-19 passport.
  • Restrictions do not apply to staff restaurants and takeaway sales.

Public events

These restrictions will remain in effect 25 November–24 December 2021.

The restrictions apply to events with an audience in stands and co-singing events.

The number of people in stands is limited in such a way that a maximum of 20 people are allowed without a seat when indoors. If more than 20 people participate in a joint singing event, a maximum of half of the maximum number of participants allowed under other legislation may be permitted. A joint singing event is an event whose main content involves joint singing. The decision also applies to joint singing events with seating.

The organizer of the event may introduce the COVID-19 passport into use, in which case the restrictions imposed by the Regional State Administrative Agency do not have to be complied with. If the COVID-19 passport is introduced as an alternative to restrictions on gatherings, it should be required for the entire event. The COVID-19 passport must be checked upon arrival at the event from persons over 16 years of age. The COVID-19 passport will not be checked from staff, performers or athletes playing in a match.

The general hygiene requirements of the Communicable Diseases Act still apply, which improve the health safety of customer and public premises. Section 58 c of the Communicable Diseases Act defines general hygiene requirements and are valid without separate official decisions throughout Finland in various customer and public premises, such as shops, shopping centres, sports facilities, museums, theatres and libraries. Currently, the requirements are valid until the end of 2021.

NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH AND WELFARE: Recommendations for public spaces and public gatherings

Private events

There are no separate recommendations for private events. It is a good idea to follow general hygiene recommendations at all meetings.

Travel

Traffic from EU and Schengen countries to Finland is permitted in accordance with the obligations under the Communicable Diseases Act. Restrictions on external border traffic still persist for several countries. See the Border Guard's Guidelines for details.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki from abroad by ship

When you arrive in Finland, you must have proof of having received one or two COVID-19 vaccinations (at least one week after the last vaccination), a negative COVID-19 test result (tested within the previous 72 hours) or having contracted COVID-19 previously (within the previous six months).

Certificates are not required for children born in 2006 or later.

It is your responsibility to seek the correct line at the port, to present the necessary documents and identity card upon request, and to take part in the COVID-19 test when prompted.

Select the green line, if:

  • you have a certificate of a complete vaccination series.
  • you have a certificate of having contracted COVID-19 within the previous 6 months.
  • you are in the car lane and have a certificate of a negative test result or a certificate of an incomplete vaccination series.

Certificates are not required for children born in 2006 or later.

Random checks are conducted at the port.

In all other cases, select the red line:

  • Passengers arriving on foot with a certificate of a negative test result or a certificate of an incomplete vaccination series. Passengers without the above certificates.

If you do not have a COVID-19 certificate or do not meet the requirements, you must, as instructed, take part in a COVID-19 test either at the port or within 24 hours at separately designated test points.

Due to large numbers of passengers, there may not be time to test everyone for COVID-19 at the port. However, a COVID-19 test upon arrival in the country is, for example, compulsory for completely unvaccinated adults and failure to do so is punishable (Section 87 a of the Communicable Diseases Act).

This means that you must be tested within 24 hours of entering the country in your own municipality, if you did not have a certificate with you exempting you from testing at the port and you were not tested at the port.

If you have only received the first dose of a series of vaccines consisting of two doses, tested negative for COVID-19 (tested within the previous 72 hours) or been tested only after entering the country, you must be tested for a second time between 72 and 120 hours after entering the country.

This test is also mandatory and neglecting to get tested is punishable for an adult. Protect yourself by wearing a mask when moving about, wait for your test result at home or in your accommodation and avoid contact with other people. If the test result is negative, you can stop avoiding contact with others.

COVID-19 tests will also not be required for children born in or after 2006.

Making an appointment for a coronavirus test in Finland

The most convenient way to book a test is to use the service at finentry.fi. The service is available to both Finnish citizens and foreigners.

You can also make the appointment at a coronavirus information point in your municipality of permanent or temporary residence (Helsinki residents can call number 09 310 10024, every day 8:00–18:00).

If you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 and are from Helsinki, you can also book an appointment for a COVID-19 test via the omaolo.fi service.

The above instructions do not apply to cargo traffic and logistics personnel on work assignments, or cruise passengers who have departed from Finland and have not disembarked at any stage.

People on work duty must present a bill of consignment or sale. However, it is possible to get tested at the port. Instructions pertaining to specific work tasks have been prepared and distributed separately.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki from abroad by plane

Read more on the Finavia website

For more information, see the City of Helsinki Coronavirus FAQ.

For the latest information on travel restrictions in Finland, see the Border Guard's Guidelines for border traffic during the pandemic and the National Institute for Health and Welfare's Travel and the coronavirus pandemic

Organisation of teaching

Comprehensive schools, upper secondary schools and vocational institutions in Helsinki have started their autumn 2021 studies as contact teaching.

Safety in education, extraordinary teaching arrangements

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

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.

The face mask recommendation for early childhood education and schools was lifted on Monday 25 October 2021. This applies to both pupils and staff.

However, it is still recommended that everyone continue to wear masks in the same situations as specified in the mask recommendation for the entire Metropolitan Area. In public indoor spaces, the use of a mask is always recommended in all situations if the person is not fully vaccinated or has not contracted COVID-19 less than six months previously. In addition, it is recommended that everyone wear a mask in public indoor spaces where there are many people close to each other, such as large events in schools. Face masks are available in schools and educational institutes, as well as in early childhood education, free of charge.

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 are made by the Executive Director 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.

THL: Children and coronavirus


More on the topic:

Coronavirus updates from Helsinki

HUS: Regional situation in the coronavirus epidemic and issued recommendations

Restrictions during the coronavirus epidemic




26.11.2021 15:31