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Avi rules gyms and other free-time facilities in Helsinki region can reopen within limits

Exercise and free-time facilities closed on Monday can reopen, but with no more than 10 people present at any time.

Mies kuntopyöräilee ja on suojannut kädensijat pyyhkeillä Elixia Flamingo -kuntosalilla Vantaalla .
Workouts in private gyms are still allowed, as long as no more than 10 people share the space. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland (Avi) have resolved a dispute over whether gyms and other free-time facilities in the Helsinki region may be open if they host no more than 10 people at a time.

Gyms, group exercise facilities, public saunas, spa pool facilities, dance venues, amusement parks, indoor facilities at zoos, indoor playgrounds, amateur theatres and public facilities in shopping malls in the Helsinki region were all closed on Monday 1 March.

However, the Regional State Administrative Agency said on Tuesday that they can reopen for operations as long as no more than 10 people use the space at any one time.

The decision applies to both public and private sector facilities.

The premises in question have been closed, but are in use by a restricted number of clients in the Uusimaa municipalities of Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa, as well and in Järvenpää, Kauniainen, Kerava, Kirkkonummi, Sipoo and Tuusula between 1 and 14 March 2021.

PM apologised

At a press conference on Monday, Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) apologised for the confused situation and promised that conflicts of interpretation would be resolved.

The Southern Finland Avi announced the results of its review on Tuesday.

"The decision was made on a rapid schedule but with our very strong legal expertise. The most important cornerstone of our operations is legality, and we have not compromised on this in preparing this decision. We have a very good understanding of the aims of the Communicable Diseases Act and the objectives of its new articles, as well as the severity of the disease situation," its director general Merja Ekqvist, said in a press release.

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