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Key recommendations and restrictions in Helsinki

The coronavirus epidemic is currently in the community transmission 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. Among other things, the information covers face mask recommendations, restaurants and bars, travel, public spaces, gatherings, day care centres and schools.

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

Face mask recommendation for all persons aged 15 and above

  • Public transport
  • Public events and spaces, such as shops and banks
  • City services, such as libraries, social and health care services, and cultural services.
  • At sports and cultural events
  • On all recreational premises
  • Upper secondary and tertiary education, including general upper secondary schools, vocational education and institutes of higher education
  • Lower secondary schools (grades 7-9). The cities will provide masks for this purpose.
  • Parents visiting early education premises when dropping off and picking up their children, for example
  • Daycare centre staff indoors whenever possible. Early childhood education employees who travel to several locations in their work are in particular asked to observe this mask recommendation.
  • Social and health care staff in patient and customer contact
  • Everyone who is not working remotely: at work in all of their encounters with others and when moving about their workplace. This recommendation applies to jobs in both the public and private sector. 
  • 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 recommendation

Three-week suspension of amateur sports

Starting on Monday, 23 November, all city-run indoor team sports and contact sport activities for people over the age of 20 will be temporarily suspended for three weeks. Amateur-level matches, competitions and regional play-offs will also be cancelled during this time. Private operators are asked to observe these same restrictions. It is also recommended that all leisure clubs for adults in the metropolitan area limit their activities to things that take place within their own groups.

The cities will send the relevant organisations detailed instructions and will cancel their reserved practice times for the duration of the suspension.

The new restrictions will not apply to individual and group sport competitions on the national team, national and Division I levels, nor to professional athletes training for international competitions. It will also not apply to groups in which participants are able to maintain safe distances from others during activities.

Face masks are required in indoor sports facilities

Starting from Monday 2 November 2020, all persons aged 15 or above will be required to wear a face mask in all city-managed indoor sports facilities. These facilities include Töölö Sports Hall, Liikuntamylly, indoor skating rinks and ice stadiums managed by the Ice Hockey Foundation, and indoor swimming pools and sports facilities managed by Urheiluhallit.

A mask must be worn at all times except during the actual physical activity. 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.

This obligation applies to all indoor sports and exercise, such as school premises being used for club and hobby activities. Indoor skating rinks are also regarded as indoor sports facilities.

Hobby and group activities

Requiring customers to wear a face mask is one way to secure sports and exercise opportunities during the acceleration phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Persons with COVID-19 symptoms must not visit sports facilities.

The cities need each operator to make changes to improve health security even further. The following lists examples of solutions to be implemented with regard to hobby activities:

  • Avoid mixing of groups.
  • Avoid hugging, yelling and unnecessary gatherings.
  • Implement staggered entry to the premises.
  • Reduce the number of parents/guardians and escorts on the premises.
  • Reduce group sizes.
  • Increase safe distances by rearranging the spaces.
  • Move practice sessions and other activities outdoors.
  • Organise some hobby activities remotely.
  • Change the content of practice sessions.

As regards activities organised by associations, the organiser is responsible for ensuring health security in accordance with official guidelines and recommendations.

Hobby and recreational activities on non-city premises

Starting on Monday, 23 November, it is recommended that rivate indoor sports facilities suspend indoor team sports and contact sport activities for people over the age of 20 for three weeks. Amateur-level matches, competitions and regional play-offs will also be cancelled during this time. It is also recommended that all leisure clubs for adults in the metropolitan area limit their activities to things that take place within their own groups.

Private indoor sports facilities are recommended to impose a face mask requirement in the same way as city-managed facilities. City recreational services will provide advice and guidance on how to implement the policies.

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. The recommendation will enter into force on 23.11. 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.

Visitation restrictions at social and health care units

If possible, it is best to meet with patients and customers of care facilities outdoors. There is a limit on the number of people that can make indoor visits. Meetings in common areas are not allowed. All visits must be arranged in advance. Face masks, social distancing and good hand hygiene must be observed during visits. More detailed information on the visitor practices of different facilities can be found on the individual websites.

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. The recommendation will enter into force on 23.11. 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.

Service centres

Service centres intended for pensioners and unemployed persons will remain closed at least until the end of 2020. The situation will be reassessed at the end of the year.

Day activities for the elderly

Day activities for the elderly will start re-opening on 2.11. The activities will be re-opened in a limited capacity only for clients who are assessed as being most in need of support. Those selected to participate in day activities will receive personal invitations.

Day activities will be arranged in small groups, and group compositions will remain fixed. Safe distances and good hand hygiene will be strictly observed during day activities days. The daily programmes will also be planned taking into account current restrictions.

All participants are instructed to wear face masks for the entire day and asked to bring their own masks with them. During transports, the number of passengers will be limited

Public premises

Starting on 23 November, the number of customers at swimming halls will be capped at 50 per cent of capacity, and half of the changing room lockers will be made off-limits. Places in public library study halls will also be reduced for the time being.

City offices will remain open. Customer numbers and adherence to safe distances on the premises will be actively monitored. If necessary, the staff will limit the available services or the number of people allowed on the premises at the same time. If adherence to safe distances cannot be otherwise ensured, customer numbers can be restricted below normal levels. Public premises include indoor swimming pools, sports halls, youth facilities, cultural centres, museums and libraries.

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. The recommendation will enter into force on 23.11. 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.

Restrictions on the opening hours, serving hours and customer capacities of restaurants

  • Restaurants may remain open until 23:00 at the latest, and alcohol may be served at 07:00–22:00.
  • For example, alcohol may be served in connection with breakfast from 7:00, provided that the Regional State Administrative Agency has granted permission for it. Without this permission, the serving of alcohol may be started at 9:00 at the earliest. This restriction is valid until 15.12.
  • After closing, restaurants may not open their doors again before 05:00.
  • However, the opening hour restrictions do not concern restaurants operating in connection with service stations.
  • Half of the seats in restaurants serving mainly alcohol may be occupied. The restriction is valid until 15.12.
  • Three quarters of the seats of other restaurants, such as food restaurants, cafeterias, fast food restaurants and pizzerias may be occupied. The restriction is valid until 15.12.
  • In addition, it must be possible e.g. to wash hands, and the restaurant must ensure sufficient distances both indoors and in queues.
  • Alcohol Act and the regulations concerning the alcohol serving license of the restaurant must always be observed when serving alcohol.

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

Finnish Government: Restrictions and recommendations during the coronavirus epidemic

Public events

Events arranged indoors will be limited to 20 participants for the next three weeks, starting on 23 November.

Organisers can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.

THL: The recommendations related to public spaces and gatherings

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.

The City of Helsinki: Coronavirus-related instructions for event organisers (in Finnish)

Private events

Caution and restraint is called for, and the postponement or cancellation of private meetings of more than 10 persons is recommended. The recommendation concerns also student events, graduation parties in the autumn and Christmas festivities.

Organisers can decide at their own discretion whether to require participants at their events to use a face mask.

Staggered instruction at upper secondary schools

There will also be an increase in the use of staggered distance learning intervals at upper secondary schools (grades 10-12) in the metropolitan area for the time being.

Travel

National travel recommendations and restrictions are in effect, such as avoiding 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

Safety recommendations in education, and 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 would 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.

Face mask recommendation for comprehensive education personnel

All personnel of comprehensive schools are recommended to wear a face mask at work. Adherence to the mask recommendation helps ensure the continuation of classroom education and reduce exposures on school premises. In Helsinki, the recommendation will enter into force on 11.11.2020. However, voluntary adherence to the recommendation is possible immediately.

THL: Children and coronavirus

More on the topic:

Helsinki – coronavirus updates

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: incidence in one week is more than 12–25 cases per 100,000 residents and in two weeks more than 18–50 cases per 100,000 residents.
  • 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.
  • Source: THL


25.11.2020 12:26