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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.


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Face masks are recommended for people over 12 in the following situations:

It is recommended that everyone over the age of 12 uses a face mask in indoor spaces outside their home. People who cannot wear a face mask for health-related reasons are exempt from this requirement.

The following recommendations are in effect until further notice. 

  • On Helsinki region public transport
  • At public events and in public spaces, such as shops and banks
  • It is also recommended that people over the age of 12 use a face mask at public events in outdoor spaces
  • 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
  • At sports and cultural events
  • On all recreational premises
  • In upper secondary and tertiary education, which includes general upper secondary schools, vocational education and training, and institutes of higher education
  • In primary and lower secondary schools, students in grade 6 and up are required to wear masks provided by the city
  • 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

Recreational activities

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

As of 1 July 2021, city-managed indoor sports facilities have been open to adults to a limited degree. This applies, for example, to the free use of gyms and sports halls as well as indoor sports hobbies for adults. Up to half of the normal number of customers can be admitted to sports facilities and group sports. Adults’ competition activities related to the listed recreational activities are also allowed indoors from 1 July onwards.

Helsinki's indoor sports facilities are opened in August as follows: Latokartano, Maunula and Ruskeasuo Sports Halls will be opened according to normal opening hours on Monday 2 August, Itäkeskus indoor swimming pool on Wednesday 4 August, Pirkkola indoor swimming pool on Monday 9 August, and Jakomäki and Yrjönkatu indoor swimming pools on 30 August.

Decisions of the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland on the number of participants in public events apply to competition spectators.

Recreational activities for children and young people and youth work activities are once again allowed, but in limited groups avoiding close contact. Leisure activities must comply with the following principles:

  • All activities must observe safety guidelines issued by the authorities – and in the case of sports, also those issued by the Olympic Committee – on social distancing, hand hygiene, and the use of face masks. A violation of these guidelines may result in a cancellation or suspension of the use of facilities.
  • Before commencing any activities, organisers must submit a health safety plan to the City of Helsinki.
  • Coaches and participants over 12 years of age must wear masks indoors, unless a health reason prevents their use. 
  • The activities should arranged in a way that avoids or considerably reduces 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 open use of the facilities is subject to these regulations when applicable. A maximum of half of the normal number of customers are allowed in the facilities.

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.

Remote work

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

Working from home is recommended until further notice for all tasks that allow employees to work remotely.

Employers must take the necessary precautions to reduce close contact and eliminate other potential risk factors in the workplace.

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. The maximum duration of an indoor visit is one hour, and there may be two visitors at a time. Two visits per day are allowed in the patients' rooms. If the weather is favourable and the patient's condition allows it, you can also meet outdoors. There is no limit to the number of visitors, the duration of visits, and the number of visits if they are held outdoors. Safety instructions must be followed during all visits.

Two-hour visits are allowed for the family members of patients in terminal care. Two visitors are allowed 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

The operations of the service centres and their services that are open to all, such as the gym and the restaurants, are closed for the time being until the end of August. However, the activities in previously agreed small groups will continue. Information about these small groups has been sent separately to the participants.

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 spaces have been open again since 15 June 2021, with the exception of some gyms and exercise spaces. It is possible to once again rent meeting and assembly spaces, provided that customers comply with restrictions on public events from the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.

The customer service spaces must ensure healthy and safe arrangements for every space, according to section 58(c) of the Communicable Diseases Act. It is recommended that everyone over the age of 12 uses a mask in indoor public spaces, unless health-related reasons prevent this.

On 15 June libraries opened their reading rooms, group work spaces and self-service operations. Museums and cultural centres also opened their exhibition spaces, classrooms and presentation spaces. 

Outdoor swimming pools and indoor swimming halls were opened (with the exception of the Yrjönkatu and Jakomäki swimming halls and some gyms and exercise spaces). Customers over the age of 12 are asked to use a mask in the changing rooms. 

The adult education centres Työväenopisto and Arbis started gradually reopening their classroom spaces on 3 June 2021.  Courses that require face-to-face encounters and courses that require in-person visits to the centre in order to finish supervised work have resumed.

Restrictions on restaurant opening hours, serving times and customer capacity

  • In a restaurant in which alcohol consumption is the primary business, half of the customer seating may be used. Alcohol may be served from 07.00 to 24.00 and the permitted opening hours are from 05.00 to 01.00.
  • Other restaurants may use 75 per cent of their customer seating. Service is allowed from 07.00 to 24.00 and the permitted opening hours are from 05.00 to 01.00.
  • For example, alcohol may be served in connection with breakfast starting from 7.00, provided that the Regional State Administrative Agency has granted permission for it. Without this permission, alcohol cannnot be served until 9.00 at the earliest.
  • Care must be taken to maintain safe distances and hygiene in indoor serving areas. The above-mentioned customer seat restrictions do not apply to outdoor terraces.

Public events

These restrictions are in effect until 26 August 2021.

Gatherings may be organised indoors and outdoors without restrictions on the number of participants. For indoor gatherings of more than ten people, the space must be arranged so customers can maintain safe two-metre distances from others and avoid close contact. 

In outdoor events for more than 50 people, the customers or participants must have the opportunity to avoid physical contact, but specific safe distances are not required.

If more than ten people attend an indoor event or more than 50 people attend an outdoor event, the arrangements must also adhere to the guidelines published on 31 May 2021 by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on the prevention of coronavirus infections. Hygiene-related requirements must also be observed: for example, customers must have the opportunity to wash their hands and customer areas must arranged so people can keep a safe distance from others.

Private events

This recommendation is in effect until further notice.

The same restrictions are recommended for private events as for public events.

It is recommended that summer celebrations be held outdoors, in accordance with the current recommendations on the number of persons at private events and other instructions on the safe organisation of events.

Travel

Border controls have been discontinued

Internal border controls have been discontinued in Finland as of 26 July 2021 and traffic from EU and Schengen countries to Finland is now allowed without restrictions. See the Border Guard's Guidelines for details.

When arriving in Finland and Helsinki from abroad by ship

Upon boarding the ship, you must have proof of having received one or two COVID-19 vaccinations (at least two weeks after the last vaccination), a negative coronavirus test result (tested within the previous 72 hours) or having contracted COVID-19 previously (within the previous six months). You will be asked to present the certificate at the Port of Helsinki.

You can expedite your arrival in Finland by booking the required tests in advance in the Finentry service or by completing a form issued by the City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care distributed on board. Your contact information form will be sent to the health care services of your municipality of permanent or temporary residence. The information provided can be used to refer you for a second test. The information may also be used for infection tracking.

No COVID-19 test will be administered if you have a certificate of a negative test result (tested within the previous 72 hours) or a certificate of having received one or two vaccinations of a multi-dose vaccination including two vaccinations. COVID-19 tests will also not be required for children born in or after 2006.

Due to the large numbers of passengers, there may not be time to test everyone for COVID-19. This means that you must be tested within 24 hours of entering the country in your own municipality. In some cases, you must be tested for a second time between 72 and 120 hours after entering the country. 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.

Making an appointment for a coronavirus test in Finland

The most convenient way to book a test is to use the service at the Finentry service. You can also make the appointment at a coronavirus information point in your municipality of permanent or temporary residence (Helsinki residents can call tel. 09 310 10024 every day 8:00–18:00). Residents of Helsinki with symptoms may also book a COVID-19 test in the omaolo.fi service.

Coronavirus tests conducted by Finnish public health care services are free of charge. Avoid contact with other people and stay home or in your accommodation while waiting for your test result.

The above instructions do not apply to cargo traffic and logistics personnel on work assignments or cruise passengers who do not disembark. People on 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

It is still recommended to avoid unnecessary travel to countries other than ones to which the restrictions on entry into the country do not apply. Before your travel, always check the up-to-date entry regulations from the authorities of the destination country (e.g. the country’s nearest diplomatic mission).

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

Lower secondary schools

Grades 7–10 in lower secondary schools resumed contact teaching on Monday, 3 May 2021.

Upper secondary education

General upper secondary schools and vocational educaiton and training resumed contact teaching on Monday, 3 May 2021.

Safety in education, 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 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.

This recommendation is in effect 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

This recommendation is in effect 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 is in effect 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




05.08.2021 12:39