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Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa recommend face masks when using city services

The recommendation applies to libraries, sports facilities, museums, high schools and vocational schools.

Nuori asettelee kankaista suojamaskia kasvoilleen.
The mask recommendation is based on the worsening coronavirus situation in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS). Image: Tiina Jutila / Yle

The cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa have jointly recommended face masks to residents aged 15 and above when using city services, especially in situations where close contact cannot be avoided.

The recommendation applies to libraries, sports facilities, museums and secondary schools such as vocational schools and high schools and comes into effect immediately.

A press release stated that strict adherence to the guidelines may prevent the need to introduce more stringent restrictions, such as schools moving to remote learning or the earlier closing of bars and restaurants.

"We hope that people in the metropolitan area will take the expanded mask recommendation seriously and follow it unless there is a health reason not to use the mask," the statement jointly signed by the mayors of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa read.

The All Points North podcast discussed face masks and more last week. You can listen to the full podcast via the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Story continues after audio

Audio: Yle News

Customers of city services are responsible for purchasing their own masks, but lower-income residents can pick up free masks from distribution points in each of the cities.

Meanwhile municipal employees will be provided with masks for free by their employers. This means that, for instance, students at educational institutions will have to procure their own masks while teachers will receive them free of charge.

The recommendation is based on the deteriorating coronavirus situation in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS). At a press conference on Tuesday, Mika Salminen, Director of Health Security at the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said the epidemic is in the acceleration phase in the district.

Last week, THL announced a recommendation that face masks should be used in indoor and other situations where close contact cannot be avoided across most of Finland.

You can read more on THL's face mask usage guidelines on their website.

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