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Monday's papers: Helsinki opening, ice hockey choices and a thunder warning

Helsinki is gradually getting back to normal. 

Vesijumppaajia Pirkkolan uimahallin altaassa maanantaina 17. päivä toukokuuta, kun hallit aukesivat pitkän tauon jälkeen.
Pirkkola swimming hall in Helsinki. It is one of several in the capital slated to reopen on Monday.

Iltalehti carries a story on the rolling back of Covid restrictions in the Helsinki region from Monday. In Helsinki, Vantaa, Espoo and Kauniainen the ban on competition in children's sports (that is, games and matches against other clubs) was rolled back.

Swimming pools are also open to those born in 1955 or earlier, with Itäkeskus, Pirkkola, Mäkelänrinne and Vuosaari all open for the older aquatics enthusiast.

The outdoor pools at the Olympic Stadium and Kumpula remain closed, as do facilities at Jakomäki and Yrjönkatu.

At all pools open this week saunas are open, but gyms are not.

Decisions on museums and libraries will be made this week. Libraries are currently closed for browsing, with only pre-booked collections and returns allowed.

There has been a desire for a quicker opening of the economy, and Iltalehti reports that Left Alliance leader Li Andersson hinted at this over the weekend when she announced on Facebook that she had bought a ticket for a festival in August.

The Turku politician is currently on maternity leave from her post as Education Minister, but found time to say that she thought it unfair that large events can't be held yet even though restaurants are opening indoor spaces and people are again gathering in large groups outdoors.

Andersson did also urge people to take care and be careful, to avoid a worsening of the Covid situation.

Hockey worlds on but selection criticised

Last year ice hockey's World Championships were cancelled because of the pandemic — a hammer blow to Finland's sense of normality as it learnt to do without its traditional springtime puck-slapping jamboree.

This year it's going ahead in Belarus and Latvia, and the biggest threat was concern over human rights violations rather than Covid.

It feels like a return to normal, then, that the tabloids are carrying stories about controversial selections for the tournament.

This year coach Jukka Jalonen has said he is not picking any players from TPS and Lukko, who contested the Finnish league finals. His reasoning is that they would not join the camp early enough to play any warm up games, and therefore can't prove themselves.

Ilta-Sanomat carries a story with some experts decrying the decision, and Jalonen emphasising that the key fact is scheduling: there are players at Lukko and TPS who could be in the squad, but they are not so good that they would be worth getting rid of players who have spent weeks training with the squad.

The banality of the debate offers some reassurance that we might be returning to something like a normal Finnish spring. Finland's first game in the tournament is against the USA on Saturday as they look to defend the title they won in 2019.

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Thunder on the way

Helsingin Sanomat reports that there's a change in the weather on the way, with thunder and heavy rainfall forecast for the capital city region on Monday.

That could offer some relief to those suffering from the birch pollen season. The day starts off sunny and warm, with rain moving in from the west over the course of the afternoon and evening.

The warning for thunder is in force from 9am until 9:30pm, with rainfall expected to hit 20 milimetres an hour at its peak.

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