Helsinki area public transport to mandate passenger face masks

The Regional Transport Authority's announcement came a day after a similar rule was issued by state railway firm VR.

File photo of HSL buses in eastern Helsinki. Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

Helsinki's Regional Transport Authority (HSL) announced on Thursday it will make wearing face masks mandatory for passengers on its transportation services, due to the epidemic situation in the region.

Starting on Saturday 13 March, it said, passengers will be required to wear face masks while riding its buses, trams, trains and ferries. However, HSL noted that people unable to wear face masks due to medical reasons would be exempt from the rule.

The authority issued the announcement on Thursday, but said it would issue further information about the guidance on Friday. It said the mask obligations would be added to its conditions of carriage guidelines.

HSL has recommended mask use since last August.

HSL's mask announcement came a day after a similar one was issued by Finnish State Railways VR. That requirement will be in force on all VR long-distance and some commuter trains (D, G, M, R, T and Z), which operate between Helsinki, Lahti and Tampere.

VR said it would begin requiring passengers to wear masks, beginning on Thursday, 11 March.

VR also made an exemption from the rules for individuals with medical conditions precluding their use.