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Covid restrictions on hobbies, public events in Helsinki set to be lifted from October

Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) said the ending of the measures would mean the "return to normal" could begin.

Ihmisiä kävelee kaudulla.
File photo of people walking on the streets in Helsinki. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Coronavirus Coordination Group has proposed that restrictions on public events in the capital region should not be extended beyond the current end date of 30 September.

"We are now finally in a situation where restrictions are ending and the return to normal begins," Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen (NCP) said at a press conference announcing the proposal.

The expert group further suggested that restrictions on hobbies and the use of sports facilities should also end.

This means that swimming pools, gyms and group exercise classes would no longer be subject to safety distance requirements or other measures from the beginning of October. Regulations on sports and exercise activities in city-managed premises should also be changed from an obligation to a recommendation, the group added.

Both proposals were submitted to the Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency (Avi) after a coordination group meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

Telecommuting, mask recommendations remain in force

Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district's (HUS) Acting Chief Medical Officer Jari Petäjä said that the coordination group made the decision to call for the ending of the restrictions because of the improving pandemic situation in the capital region.

The number for people infected with the virus requiring hospital care has remained at a relatively low level for a sustained period of time, Petäjä said.

"Five or less than five patients have needed intensive care in recent days, and there have been just over 20 [coronavirus] patients in the wards," he said, adding that the current numbers are easily manageable by the HUS system.

Following the meeting on Tuesday, the coordination group said that recommendations on telecommuting and the use of face masks in the capital region should remain in force, at least for the time being.

"National guidelines are expected for these [recommendations]. After that, we can react quickly if necessary," Mayor of Espoo Jukka Mäkelä said at the Tuesday afternoon press conference.

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