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PM Marin: Room to tighten Helsinki restrictions

Government is looking to further restrict restaurant operations if Helsinki enters the spreading phase.

Pääministeri Sanna Marin puhui tiedotusvälineille saavuttuaan hallituksen iltakouluun Säätytalolle Helsingissä 4. marraskuuta 2020.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin stressed that drastic measures should be taken before the coronavirus situation worsens. Image: Antti Aimo-Koivisto / Lehtikuva

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) has said the latest coronavirus restrictions in the capital region announced on Friday could be made even stricter.

"Maybe there'd be room to tighten [them] further. But one has to trust that the regional authorities have evaluated the situation and made their decisions on that basis," Marin said in an interview with Yle.

The updated measures announced by the region's coronavirus coordination group include a 20-person limit on public events for three weeks, mask recommendation for upper secondary schools, and the suspension of indoor team and contact hobby activities for adults.

Marin said the government has already issued recommendations in the past on what measures should be taken at different stages of the epidemic. She said she hoped all the recommended measures would be implemented in the Uusimaa region.

"The government has recommended for the spreading phase, among other things, that adult hobbies can be stopped completely if necessary. Events can be suspended altogether and otherwise, sufficiently strong measures will be put in place. For example, public buildings could be completely closed,” Marin said.

The PM stressed on several occasions that the coronavirus pandemic must be taken seriously and that drastic measures should be taken even before the disease situation gets worse.

Minister Kiuru: Additional restrictions on restaurant operations

Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) told Yle that the government is now addressing restaurant operations in Uusimaa.

"On the part of the Government, we are going to support the tightening of restrictions in the spreading phase in our own way, and in this respect, the regulations concerning restaurants are rapidly changing," Kiuru said.

The minister said they have already started working on introducing spreading phase measures sometime early next week.

"In the case of restaurants and eateries, the transition from acceleration phase to the spreading phase means that there will be a return to very strict regulation of opening hours," Kiuri said.

Uusimaa isolation not being considered yet

PM Marin said there are no plans to lock down the Uusimaa region like was the case in spring.

"[To do that] Finland needs to be in exceptional circumstances and we need to have the Emergency Power Act in effect. We do not currently have a situation where we could discuss such matters," Marin said.

The PM however added the coronavirus situation could deteriorate quickly. She wished the people of Uusimaa and Finland endurance and strength in this challenging situation.

"As long as there is no common protection through the vaccine, we must persevere and endure together, and yes, I believe that the Finnish people can endure and survive this," Marin said.

Social services minister Kiuru said she does not want to assess how close Finland is to switching to a state of emergency if the direction of the coronavirus developments cannot be reversed.

"In this situation, I do not want to highlight the possibilities that lie ahead if these regional actions fail. The pressure is now on for Uusimaa to succeed,” Kiuru said.

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