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Monday's papers: Will the capital region's new restrictions curb the virus?

Finnish media outlets explore how life in the Helsinki region will change as new rules come into force.

Ihmisiä kasvomaskit päällä Pasilan juna-asemalla.
Public health officials say that four cities in the capital region have entered the 'community transmission phase'. Image: Benjamin Suomela / Yle

Domestic papers on Monday explore some of the ways life for residents of Helsinki and neighbouring Espoo, Kauniainen and Vantaa will change between now and mid-December as officials try to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Indoor events are capped at 20 people--a rule targeting sports and cultural events. The cities have also put a moratorium on adult indoor sports played in city facilities. Though not mandatory, officials also recommend that private gyms abide by the same rules. Officials also say there should be no more than 10 people at private gatherings. City pools have meanwhile halved the number of regular users and libraries have reduced reading room occupancy.

High school and vocational students will alternate between remote and contact learning over the next few weeks while those in class will wear face masks, supplied by schools if needed. The cities also want early childhood education staff to cover noses and mouths as its mask recommendation extends to all workplaces in Finland, both in the public and private sector.

The 20-person limit on indoor public events covers all municipalities in the Uusimaa region except Pukkila and Myrskylä. Some municipalities have adopted other restrictions as well, or are expected to do so.

Child friendly policies?

Helsingin Sanomat on Monday suggests that the capital’s daycares are ill-equipped to handle more one-year-olds if the city cuts a monthly benefit to parents of toddlers.

The city’s public daycares were short 448 teachers in October--which means one in five were missing. This figure is, however, an improvement from a year ago when the city was short 640 early childhood educators.

Earlier this month Helsinki city councillors said they wanted to stop paying the "Helsinki add-on" to benefits agency Kela’s home care allowance for parents who care for kids under three at home. Helsinki currently pays parents 264 euros monthly for a child under the age of 18 months and 218 monthly for toddlers between the ages of 18 and 24 months.

Finnish Amazon

Finnish retailers are bracing themselves for the potential arrival of a Finnish-language Amazon store after the online giant launched a Swedish store last month, according to business daily Kauppalehti.

Jaana Kurjenoja, chief economist at the Finnish Commerce Federation, told KL that the Finnish retail sector was increasingly feeling the pressure of international price competition.

She, however, predicted that a Finnish store was still years away as the company would most likely first see if Finnish consumers use the Swedish store. Kurjenoja also noted that Amazon has yet to recruit any Finnish-language specialists, indicating that a Finnish version of the behemoth won’t be a reality anytime soon.

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