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New restrictions for Helsinki region as number of daily cases hits record high

Public indoor events will be limited to no more than 20 people in the capital region as of Monday.

Helsingin pormestari Jan Vapaavuori pääkaupunkiseudun koronakoordinaatioryhmän tiedotustilaisuudessa Helsingissä 20. marraskuuta.
Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori at a press briefing on Friday 20 November. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori announced Friday that as of Monday 23 November the maximum permitted number of participants at indoor public events will be limited to 20 people in the Helsinki metropolitan area.

The decision, taken by the Southern Finland Regional State Administrative Agency, will be in force for at least three weeks.

The regional coronavirus coordination group further recommends that no private events for more than 10 people be held.

Indoors adult team and contact sports at publicly-managed facilities in the region will be suspended for three weeks as Monday. This restriction does not apply to individual and group national team activities, national championship-level or first division level competitive activities or professional training for international events.

The number of permitted users at public swimming pools will be half of normal capacity, and occupancy of reading rooms in libraries is to be reduced.

A recommendation has been issued for the use of face masks in the workplace and in upper secondary schools. The workplace recommendation targets both the public and private sector. Upper secondary school students will be supplied with masks, but have the option of using their own. The use of rotating periods of remote lessons for secondary school students is to be extended.

Early childhood education staff are also recommended to use masks indoors.

Record number of cases

THL Chief Physician Taneli Puumalainen told a press Friday morning that Finland has registered a record high of 461 new confirmed coronavirus cases. The largest increase in new cases, 229, was recorded in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District.

However, these are not all an increase over Thursday's figure as the total includes a backlog of previously unreported cases from the Pirkanmaa and Central Finland regions.

One new death has also been reported.

Major theatres and Finnish opera to cancel performances

The restrictions will affect many cultural institutions in the Helsinki region. Among others, the Finnish National Theatre and the National Opera will close their doors to the public for three weeks starting next Monday.

The Helsinki City Theater was the first to announce the cancellation of performances.

"We had no choice. The message was very clear, and we don't have performances that could have a maximum of 20 people," Director General of Helsinki City Theatre Kari Arffman said.

However, the performances for the coming weekend will take place at the Helsinki City Theatre and the Finnish National Theatre as planned.

Arffman said that customers who have already bought tickets to shows in the next three weeks can either get their money back or exchange them for future performance dates.

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