Helsinki aims to keep its services open and local businesses viable in spite of the coronavirus epidemic. As part of this effort, the city has launched a campaign to encourage the public to use face masks in order to keep residents and visitors to the city safe. The push is also intended to let residents continue their daily routines, sports acitivities included, in a safe environment. In order to succeed, however, the city needs everyone to do their part.
The 'Keep Helsinki Open' campaign will be on display in the city's communications, social media accounts and outdoor advertising for the entire month of November. The visual reminders hope to encourage the collective use of masks among the city's over-15 population.
By encouraging mask usage, the city aims to ensure that vital services will remain open and safe for everyone to use.
"Mask users protect not only themselves, but others. I encourage everyone to wear a mask when they move about in public spaces and use public transport. It's a good idea to always carry one with you, just in case. Seemingly minor measures like these can have a positive effect on the overall covid situation, as they can contribute to avoiding harsher measures like opening hour restrictions and closures," says Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.
Appropriate mask use reduces risk of infection
The coronavirus primarily spreads through airborne droplets when an infected person speaks or coughs. Mask usage reduces the risk of infection by preventing these droplets from spreading into the environment.
The current extensive mask use recommendations supplement other necessary safety measures such as washing hands thoroughly, maintaining a safe distance from others, staying home when ill, and seeking out coronavirus testing at the first sign of symptoms.
In addition to this first campaign, the City of Helsinki will lauch a second coronavirus safety campaign targeting young people between the age of 15 and 19 later in November. Helsinki will carry out this social media campaign in cooperation with the cities of Espoo and Vantaa, as well as the HUS hospital network, the Omnia educational institute and the Helsinki Regional Transport Authority (HSL). More information on this joint campaign will be published in connection with the mid-November launch.
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has issued an extended mask use recommendation for areas in which the coronavirus has been identified to be in an acceleration phase. It is based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), as well as research findings.
Customers of municipal services are responsible for purchasing their own masks. Members of low-income groups can pick up free packages of masks, no questions asked, at several distribution points throughout the city. See the link below for locations.
- Coronavirus updates from Helsinki
- Appropriate use of face masks can reduce infection
- Face mask distribution points for the needy
- THL: Recommendation on the use of face masks
- THL video: How to use a face mask properly