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Covid restrictions set to ease in the capital region

Museums, libraries and swimming pools will once again be accessible to the public.

Helsingin uimastadion 12.6.2020. Image: Arttu Timonen / Yle

On Thursday the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Coronavirus Coordination Group announced that public spaces and hobby activities will be reopened to a limited extent starting from June 1.

Libraries will be opened at half capacity. Visitors must be able to maintain a safety distance of two metres. Conference rooms and reading rooms will not yet be opened.

Museums and cultural centres will open to a maximum of ten people in one exhibition space at a time and a maximum of 50 people at a time in the entire museum. Visitors must be able to maintain safety distances.

Outdoor and indoor swimming pools will be opened at half capacity.

Adult hobbies and competitive activities are possible to arrange outdoors. The public may be admitted to sporting events subject to restrictions, which currently means a maximum of 50 people in the audience.

Private event restrictions will be raised from six people to ten for indoor events and 50 people for outdoor events.

Libraries monitoring people floor by floor

Director of Helsinki Library Services Katri Vänttinen is pleased that lovers of literature will be able to frequent libraries again. The last time people had access to libraries without restrictions was six months ago.

"Libraries have been open throughout the Covid crisis, but it has been difficult to communicate this," said Vänttinen.

In practice, this has meant quick visits to take out and return books. Now, easing the restrictions will also bring some ease to library visits, even though reading rooms and group spaces aren’t opening yet.

"Customers can sit down and browse, or choose between several books," said Vänttinen.

From June 1, half of the usual number of visitors will have access to library premises. For example, the central library Oodi has counters that tell staff the number of customers in real-time. By following this, the number of customers can be kept to 50 percent. In smaller libraries, the number of customers is monitored visually.