Residents of the Helsinki region are now advised to use face masks at all workplaces, Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The use of a mask is especially recommended in work situations where safe distancing cannot be implemented, such as in meetings and during breaks, according to a capital region Coronavirus Coordination group.
The group also recommended that parents use masks in early childhood education facilities when dropping off or picking up children.
The coordination group met on Tuesday to update guidelines to curb the spread of coronavirus in the region.
Mask recommendations are already in place in city services such as public transport, public indoors spaces (such as shops and malls) and at events for anyone over 15 years of age. In addition, mask use is recommended at secondary schools, universities and youth work, as well as for social and health care personnel.
Vapaavuori strongly urged residents to follow the recommendations as a way to avoid stricter regional restrictions.
The working group said it is not in favour of a transition to distance learning as it is seen as a last resort for reining in the epidemic. It also observed that large-scale closure of leisure services is not seen as necessary at this stage.
Mask mandate for public events in the works
The coronavirus coordination group also proposed a binding regulation dictating that indoor and outdoor events for more than 20 people can be held only if all participants are required to wear a face mask.
"It is good to note that a few event organisers have already been following such a practice, but now a binding order proposal is being submitted," Mayor Vapaavuori said.
A final decision in the matter will be taken by the Regional State Administrative Agency of Southern Finland.
The group said it continues to recommend that event organisers exercise restraint and avoid hosting private events for more than 20 people