In accordance with the previous guidelines of the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group, guided recreational activities will be made available to persons born in 2001 and later as of 3 May 2021 to a limited extent. Also in accordance with previous guidelines, 7th–10th grade comprehensive school pupils and secondary education students will transition to contact education at the same time. Moreover, in its meeting on Tuesday, 27 April 2021, the coronavirus coordination group decided on the limited opening of youth facilities in the same context. The decisions are in line with the ‘children and young people first’ principle to which the region is committed as regards the lifting of restrictions.
Youth facilities will be opened in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area to a limited degree on 3 May 2021. The focus of youth work will continue to be on outdoor activities. In accordance with the health security principles applicable to youth work, persons over 12 years of age are required to wear a mask in youth facilities, unless health-related reasons prevent them from doing so. Furthermore, participant numbers must be limited on a case-by-case basis to ensure sufficient distancing on the premises. Participant numbers must also be monitored and restricted if necessary.
The coronavirus coordination group also stipulated that all public customer spaces will remain closed until 16 May 2021, with the exception of the guided recreational activity time slots reserved for children aged 12 or less. This includes all of the City’s cultural centres and museums. In accordance with the previous guidelines of the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group, however, guided recreational activities will be made available to persons born in 2001 and later to a limited extent as of Monday, 3 May 2021.
In its meeting, the coronavirus coordination group also decided that the recommendation to limit close contact to family or relationships of comparable permanence will be continued until 16 May 2021. Other kinds of private gatherings or meetings with extended family are still not recommended. This also applies to the May Day period, during which it is important to continue to observe the restrictions on close contact.
The coronavirus coordination group also decided that the effective recommendations on remote work and face mask usage will remain in place in the region until further notice.
The coordination group will continue to prepare the lifting of the restrictions in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and will make the necessary decisions in its subsequent meetings. A precondition is that the epidemic situation in the region continues to develop well.
Earlier restrictions and recommendations by the coronavirus coordination group that will mostly be valid until further notice
The earlier restrictions and recommendations of the coronavirus coordination group will remain in effect until further notice. The decisions were made based on the prevalent epidemiological situation and overall assessment. In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen will also adhere to the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.
Education in upper comprehensive schools
Upper comprehensive schools will provide teaching using a rotation model in accordance with municipality-specific implementation measures until 2 May 2021. The decision also applies to students in the 10th grade.
Indispensable needs for contact teaching will continue to be met. For example, the following must be secured: special-needs education, extended compulsory and preparatory education as well as other essential contact teaching.
Grades 7–10 of comprehensive school will make a full transition to contact teaching as of 3 May 2021.
Upper secondary schools and vocational institutions will continue with the rotation model until 2 May 2021, after which they will fully transition to contact teaching starting from 3 May 2021.
All educational institutions must adhere to health security plans that minimise close contact and stagger access to their premises.
Closure of public and private premises
The Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland has ordered a variety of facilities to be closed in the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa in accordance with temporary section 58(g) of the Communicable Diseases Act. The closure decision applies widely to the following types of facilities and premises of public and private sector operators:
- indoor facilities used for team and group sports, contact sports and similar sports or physical exercise, as well as gyms and other similar indoor sports facilities
- public saunas and swimming halls, outdoor swimming pools, pool facilities at spas and the dressing rooms in their immediate connection
- dance facilities and facilities used for choir singing, amateur theatre and other similar recreational group activities
- amusement and theme parks, fairs (circuses) and indoor facilities of zoos
- indoor playparks and similar premises
- public lounges at shopping centres, with the exception of retail business premises, premises used for providing services and the access routes to these.
Otherwise, the premises designated for closure may be used for the supervised recreational activities of children born in 2008 and later, as well as for the implementation of statutory services. The closure decision does not apply to professional sports or activities that are regarded as parts of private and family life.
The restriction will be valid until 28 April 2021. The decision on the restriction was made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
Enabling actual distancing at public premises, temporary section 58(d) of Communicable Diseases Act
Private and public operators are obliged to arrange the use of premises that are open to the public or intended for a limited group of customers or participants in such a way that the customers, activity participants and groups can feasibly avoid close contact. The decision applies to a wide range of private and public customer premises, with the exclusion of restaurants. If it is impossible to avoid contact, the customer premises can be completely closed by decision of the Regional State Administrative Agency or the municipality.
The restriction will be valid until 16 May 2021. The decision on the restriction was made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
Organising public events
All public events and meetings held indoors or outdoors have been prohibited for a limited time. However, organising public events and meetings of a maximum of six participants will be allowed, provided that safety can be ensured based on the instructions given by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare on 21 September 2020. For events of up to six people, only those that are absolutely necessary should be organised, and even in these cases, remote connections should be used whenever possible.
These restrictions will remain in effect until 16 May 2021. The decision on the restriction was made by the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
Organising private events
The coordination group continues to recommend that close contacts be limited 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 under any circumstances. Guests at a funeral or memorial service should still be restricted to only a small group of close relatives.
The recommendation will be valid until 16 May 2021.
All public customer spaces will remain closed with the exception of the guided recreational activity time slots reserved for children born in 2008 or later. This includes all of the City’s cultural centres and museums. Contact teaching at the adult education centres has been suspended in favour of distance learning in November.
As of 3 May 2021, the indoor premises of the cities can, to a limited degree, be used for guided recreational activities of children and young people born in 2001 or later. Additionally, youth facilities will be opened to a limited extent on 3 May 2021.
The facilities used for providing health care and social services, early childhood education, comprehensive education and essential 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 to a limited extent and with due consideration to health and safety. Libraries will continue to offer limited services.
The coordination group continues to recommend that private operators similarly restrict the use of sports and leisure facilities.
The restrictions and recommendations will be valid until 16 May 2021.
The outdoor premises of the cities can be used for guided recreational activities of children and young people born in 2001 or later.
As of 3 May 2021, the indoor premises of the cities can, to a limited degree, be used for guided recreational activities of children and young people born in 2001 or later.
The recommendations will remain in effect until further notice.
The coordination group still recommends employers to arrange all tasks remotely wherever possible, even temporarily. If remote work is impossible, the employer is recommended to instruct the employees to use face masks in all workspaces, even where it is possible to maintain safe distances. Workplace meals and coffee breaks must be staggered.
The recommendation will remain valid until further notice.
Face mask usage
Face mask usage is recommended for all persons above the age of 12 in all indoor spaces outside their home.
The recommendation will remain valid until further notice.
The Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group prepares local decision-making
The Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland established the Metropolitan Area coronavirus coordination group on 10 September 2020. In line with a regional operating model devised by Finland’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the group aims to strengthen the formation of a common situational assessment and to coordinate and prepare local and regional measures.
The group consists of top management from each member organisation and is responsible for the preparation and coordination of decision-making based on a shared assessment of the situation. Each member makes decisions independently, within its own sphere of authority. The group further intensifies the close metropolitan area collaboration that has continued throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The City of Helsinki is responsible for organising the group’s operations.
In addition to the Cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa, the City of Kauniainen will also adhere to the restrictions and recommendations of the coordination group.