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New coronavirus restrictions and recommendations in force in December

As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, public spaces close and organised leisure activities are cancelled in Helsinki.

Person i skyddskläder tar på sig plasthandskar.
Kainu, Kanta-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, Etelä-Pohjanmaa, Vaasa and the Varsinais-Suomen hospital districts are in the accelerating phase of the epidemic. Image: Yle/Linda Söderlund

As the spread of the coronavirus has accelerated in many parts of Finland, new restrictions and recommendations have come into effect.

The Helsinki University, Päijät-Häme, Kymenlaakso, North Ostrobothnia and northern Satakunta hospital districts are experiencing the 'community transmission' or 'spreading' phase of the epidemic.

Other parts of Satakunta, Kainu, Kanta-Häme, Länsi-Pohja, Pirkanmaa, South Ostrobothnia, Vaasa and the Soth-west Finland hospital districts as well as the autonomous region of Äland are in the acceleration phase of the epidemic.

In the Helsinki metropolitan area, the coronavirus epidemic is in the community transmission phase. As such, the following recommendations and restrictions made by the coronavirus working group are in effect through to 20 December.

Helsinki

  • As of 30 November through to 20 December 2020, organised leisure activities such as hobbies and sports held indoors and outdoors for people over 20 years old are to be cancelled in Helsinki.
  • For those under 20 years of age, previously booked reservations for public sports fields will remain in effect. However, no new reservations will be booked and competitions and matches will not be held.
  • A face mask recommendation is in effect for all people aged 15 and over on public transport, at events and in spaces frequented by people such as grocery stores, shops, banks and healthcare centres.
  • Remote working is recommended for all tasks that can be carried out at a distance. For those whose jobs require them to be onsite, a face mask should be worn.
  • People who cannot wear a face mask for health-related reasons will not be required to do so and will not be required to produce medical proof of their inability to wear a mask.
  • As of 30 November, all public spaces such as indoor sports facilities, cultural centres, and museums will be closed through to 20 December. Notable exceptions include healthcare and social services facilities, early childhood education facilities, and essential upper secondary education facilities.
  • Libraries will offer limited services, which include picking up materials reserved in advance such as books, and essential and quick use of customer computers.
  • As of 30 November, all public events and meetings indoors or outdoors of more than 10 people in the Helsinki municipal area will be prohibited. However, organising public events and meetings with 10 participants or less will be allowed, provided that safety distances, proper hand hygiene and mask provision can be ensured.
  • Only essential meetings of 10 people or less should be held; these include statutory meetings of housing companies and associations. Remote, virtual meetings should be held whenever possible.
  • Starting on 30 November, the coronavirus coordination group recommends that close contacts be restricted to people in the same household or people who are as close as a member of the household. Other private meetings or family gatherings are not recommended.
  • The recommendation for funerals, in effect to 20 December, is that they be restricted to a small group of close relatives.
  • Upper secondary and vocational schools will move to distance learning. Contact teaching will be offered to disabled students receiving special needs education and to those who require individual support. Distance learning at these institutions is set to begin on 3 December and continue as such until 31 December 2020.
  • Primary and secondary schools in the city must stagger class starting times and lunches, and ensure safe distances and the practice of good hand hygiene.

Tampere

  • Indoor public spaces, as well as in museums and theaters, audience size should be limited to a maximum of ten people. The restrictions are recommended from 2 to 21 December.
  • All public events should be limited to a maximum of ten people. The Regional State Administrative Agencies have been asked to ban public events and meetings with more than ten people altogether.
  • Visitors to hospitals and health centres are prohibited except to wards with children, young people and the critically ill. Expectant mothers can still be accompanied by a support person.

  • Recommendation for public and private indoor sports facilities to close from 2 to 21 December.
  • Training and competition opportunities for competitive and elite sports are protected from closures and restrictions, based on an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • The current recommended breaks in adult team and contact sports, as well as martial arts are recommended to continue until 21 December.
  • Swimming pools, spas and public saunas recommended to close from 2 to 21 December.
  • Youth facilities recommended to close from 2 until 21 December.
  • Libraries are recommended to provide limited service for lending purposes only from 2 to 21 December.
  • Amusement parks and playgrounds are recommended to close from 2 to 21 December.
  • Current recommendation for private events to restrict guests to a maximum of ten people to remain in place until 21 December
  • Shopping centres recommended to close communal lounge spaces to close until 21 December
  • Vocational and adult education centres, as well as basic art education are recommended to end their tuition, or transfer onto remote learning from 2 to 21 December.
  • Unnecessary travel is recommended to be avoided especially in areas currently in the ‘spreading’ phase of the pandemic (currently, for example, Uusimaa, Northern Ostrobothnia and Päijät-Häme)
  • Secondary education continues in Pirkanmaa as contact education. Students and staff are to use face masks and follow all previous recommendations and instructions to prevent infections.
  • Previous recommendations on the use of face masks and remote working, as well as restrictions on visits to social and health services, remain in place.

All current recommendations can be found on the Tays Central Hospital (TAYS) website.

Oulu

  • Public spaces will be closed from 1 to 18 December, and private operators are strongly recommended to do the same.
  • Gyms and facilities for contact and group sports to be closed.
  • Swimming pools, spas and communal saunas, as well as changing rooms in their immediate vicinity, will be closed.
  • Libraries, BusinessAsema and city service facilities will offer restricted access service.
  • Indoor playground facilities and spaces will be closed.
  • Communal areas in shopping centres will be closed.
  • Youth facilities will close, and adult education centres will too, unless they can provide tuition remotely.
  • Public events and meetings recommended to be restricted to no more than ten people. The recommendations also apply to religious events - with a request that no private events be held at all, except for funerals.
  • High schools will be transferred to remote learning on 2 December, instead of 7 December as previously planned.
  • Other secondary level education schools are recommended to do the same. Work experience at city offices will be suspended.
  • Hobbies for adults will be suspended from 1 to 18 December. Sports clubs and associations are required to do the same.
  • Children and young people’s hobbies will be suspended both indoors and outdoors from 1 to 18 December. Sports clubs and associations are required to do the same.
  • Visitors to the city hospital will be banned from entering from 1 to 18 December. Case-by-case considerations will be made in hospice care, for example. All visits should be avoided between 1 and 18 December in city and private units.
  • Training and competition opportunities in racing and professional competitive sports are protected from closures. Match events are recommended to be held without an audience. Decisions on these are made by the Regional State Administrative Agencies.
  • Remote working and meetings are recommended, and mask recommendations for those over 15 years of age continue.

Turku

South-west Finland could be moving into the community transmission or 'spreading' stage of the epidemic, according to a statement on Sunday from the region's coronavirus coordination group.

As of Monday evening, the group was preparing new recommendations based on guidance from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

As guidance may change, you can check the latest coronavirus information for Finland’s major cities can be found here: Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Turku, and Oulu.

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